I wanted to call these Trudy’s Sweet Buns….but I’m trying to keep this blog rated PG…hahaha! I love a pecan sticky bun…and maple syrup just adds to the allure. This is the lonnnnnng version, so set aside several hours in your day….or wait until a nor’easter snow storm is looming in your forecast to keep you indoors. Since I have gas stove/ovens, the threat of being without electricity doesn’t dampen my intentions or the outcome of baking the buns. Now light a fire in the fireplace, or turn on your holiday cable channel yulelog and INTEND to take your time and have patience with the process because it’ll be well worth it. For me, this is a peaceful endeavor.
If you have little patience, or are still cultivating the virtue of patience, you might want to try my quick version of pecan sticky buns: 1 tube of Pillsbury Grand Cinnabon rolls, 1/4 stick unsalted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1 cup pecans. Butter a round cake pan. In small saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and maple syrup together, then pour into the bottom of pan. Sprinkle the pecans (either whole or chopped) all over the bottom of the pan, directly into the syrup. Crack open the tube of cinnamon rolls and separate each roll. Lay the rolls evenly around the pan (I cut them into halves and arrange them in a pattern). Now preheat the oven and bake according to the directions on the tube. As soon as they are risen and golden brown, remove from the oven and immediately invert a serving plate over the pan, then flip it upside down. Be careful not to burn yourself from the hot sugars & nuts, which should remain on the tops of rolls and be oozing down the sides of the rolls once inverted.
Now back to the zen of sticky buns….your deliciously sweet end product will be a very rich but light, rewarding melt-in-your-mouth taste sensation, as we’re using lots of butter, sugar, nuts and eggs. If you are watching your cholesterol, look the other way and call it ‘celebrating new year’s”…
Ingredients for the dough in order needed:
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter (1/4 lb) at room temperature
In a small saucepan, briefly heat the milk to barely lukewarm (you should be able to stick a finger into the milk without it burning you…much like warming a baby’s milk bottle). Turn off the heat and stir in the 1 tablespoon sugar, then sprinkle the yeast over the surface and stir to dissolve. Break the eggs into the warm milk and stir with a fork to whip it smooth. Set aside to let it bloom for ~5 minutes, which activates the yeast.
Meanwhile, measure the flour, salt and remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Pour in the milk mixture and beat briefly to combine. Now with the mixer running, using the paddle attachment or beaters, add the softened butter, cut into slices…one piece at a time so that the dough absorbs it. Turn the speed up to medium high and knead the dough for 5 minutes, until it’s smooth. Gather the dough into a round ball with your fingers or spatula (I just leave it in the same mixing bowl) and rub some additional softened butter on your fingertips and smooth over the surface of the dough.
You can cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate if you wish to proceed the next day (it will take 2 1/2 hrs to rise in a warm place the next day after taking it out of the frig). Otherwise, cover and let rise 1 1/2 hour in a warm, draft-free place. I place the bowl in my gas oven (turned off, of course) since the pilot light keeps a perfect proofing temperature.
Ingredients for the sugar syrup:
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup heavy cream (this can be eliminated altogether)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Generously butter 2 8 or 9 inch cake pans. In a small saucepan (I reuse the one I used to heat the milk in above) melt the butter, cream, sugar, maple syrup and salt together, stirring until dissolved. Pour half into each of the two cake pans. Sprinkle the pecans all over the bottoms of each cake pan, right into the sugar syrup. (you’ll notice these syrup ingredients are identical to those for making a caramel sauce). Let stand at room temperature, or refrigerate to cool into a solid.
Ingredients for the filling:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Vietnamese ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
When the dough has risen to double it’s size, punch it down and roll it out into a long rectangle, perhaps 8″ x 20″.
Drizzle the cooled melted butter all over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over the surface.
Starting on a long side, begin tightly rolling up the dough into a long roll, starting at one end and working your way to the other end, then back to the beginning until you have rolled up the whole dough into a log.
Now cut the middle of the roll with a large sharp knife, and further slice each half into 6 slices. You may have to clean the knife edge with a paper towel. Arrange 6 slices in each cake pan and allow to rise again in a warm, draft-free place.
At this point, if you wish to freeze a portion of this recipe, wrap very well in plastic wrap or place in a plastic bag and stick in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and let rise for 2 1/2 hours the next day in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume before baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and arrange oven rack in middle. I place a cookie sheet underneath to catch any stray syrup drippings.
Bake ~45 minutes until golden brown.
Immediately remove from oven and place serving plate over the buns. Invert pan onto the dish and allow the hot sugar syrup and pecans to drip over the buns so you don’t waste any of that sweet goodness. Caution: hot sugar can burn!