We’re hosting Easter Brunch this year. In preparation, I spent much of whatever free time I could grab this weekend paging through cookbooks and magazines to put together the menu. That was the goal, anyway– as usual, I got distracted. Reading cookbooks, food magazines, and culinary blogs tends to have this effect. And, of course, I always end up thinking that there is one more cookbook out there that I must have. Anyway, my hours spent wandering through recipes paid off. I’ve nailed down most of the brunch menu. These Pecan Honey Sticky Buns from Dorie Greenspan will definitely make an appearance. My family loves them.
Even if you’re not a bread baker, don’t be intimidated by this recipe. While there are several steps, they’re straight-forward and the result is marvelous. The buns are made from a very silky, buttery brioche dough. The first time I worked with this dough, I was stunned. Its soft, like satin– unlike any other dough I had worked with. It makes the buns flakey, rather than doughy, as in a normal roll. The brioche also doesn’t ‘puff up’ much, so the buns don’t get as big as you might expect. I find them to be the perfect size.
The glaze, as you can see, is sublime. It’s made of brown sugar, butter, honey, and pecans. The result is firm, delicious toffee-like caramel. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top when they’re done. The salt will trick your taste buds in to emphasizing the sweetness. Give ‘em a try this weekend!
The Recipe: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
(Note: Make sure to allow enough time to let the dough rest overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding with the Pecan Honey Sticky Bun recipe.)
2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-touch water (110 – 115°F worked for me)
1/3 cup just warm-to-touch whole milk
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, but still slightly firm.
Glaze: (If baking loaves of bread)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
To make the Brioche Dough: Put the yeast, water and milk in the stand of a mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit the mixer with the dough hook, if your have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as your can – this will help keep your kitchen clean from flour. Turn the mixer on for a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour. Remove the towel and increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point you’ll have a fairly dry, shaggy mass.
Scrape the sides of the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have a dough that is very soft, almost like a batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. ( Note: Sometimes when I make this dough, it clumps around the hook and pieces don’t incorporate into the dough well. I’ve found that if this happens, stop the machine, and with a rubber spatula separate the dough from the hook completely and start again. It really helps to incorporate everything into a uniform dough.)
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl ( or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40-60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the covered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
From this point, you can proceed with the Pecan Honey Sticky Bun recipe. Take note that that recipe calls for only half of this dough. So, you can either bake two pans of the sticky buns or make the other half of the dough into a loaf of bread.
If choosing to make a loaf of bread:
Butter and flour a 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Using half of the brioche dough, cut each piece into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pan, 1-2 hours. Again, it will depend on the warmth of your room.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat and preheat the oven to 400°F.
To make the Glaze: Beat an egg with water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaf with the glaze. Bake the loaf until it is well risen and deeply golden, 30-35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaf out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least an hour.
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns: ( Makes 15-16 buns)
For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick ( tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 pecans ( whole or pieces)
For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Buns:
1/2 recipe for the Brioche Dough, chilled. Don’t be tempted to downsize the recipe. The dough works better in a larger batch.
Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan ( a pyrex pan is perfect for this).
To make the Glaze: In a heavy -bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, buter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.
To make the Filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.
To shape the Buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as your can. ( At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months. Defrost in refrigerator overnight, then proceed with the glaze and let them rise and bake as directed.)
With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim away just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll of they’re ragged and not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch-thick buns. Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wx paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled, and, in all likelihood, touching one another.
Baking the Buns: When the buns have almost fully risen, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden; the glaze will be bubbling. Pull the pan from the oven.
The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. Be very careful – the glaze is very hot and and sticky.
Source: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours
I do hope your try this recipe — it isn’t as complicated as it seems, and the end result is so worth your time! As always, I love to hear your feedback! Thanks for stopping by.
Follow me on Twitter!