Pecan Sticky Buns is one of the first recipes I baked when I got my KitchenAid stand mixer about six years ago. So I knew these were a very good recipe, and worth all the work (and butter!) required. Having kneaded other heavy breads in the mixer, and remembering that Brioche dough is much softer, I upped the speed slightly to ‘3’. Mine does not go to ’11’.
I figured I would soften teh butter in a smaller mixing bowl I have that fits the mixer. It worked well, though the smaller bowl’s combination whisk/beater attachment has many more surfaces from which to scrape the butter. I’d probably just soften the butter next time in the full-size bowl with the regular paddle.
After incorporating the first batch of butter, I gave the dough its first rise in a slightly warm oven. It more than doubled in size in just over two hours.
Then I gently deflated the dough and let it rise again overnight in the fridge.
Then I arranged the cut slices into the pan, topping each with three pecan halves before inverting them into the pan. The pan was then allowed to rest in a warm oven for about an hour and half, during which time the slices swelled to fill the pan.
I then baked the rolls for about 35 minutes, with my ceramic pie plate resting on a heavy duty cookie sheet. When I inverted the rolls onto a plate, quite a bit of melted butter leaked out, indicating that the butter and sugar hadn’t quite cooked into a uniform caramel sauce. I also noticed that the bottom, now tops, of the rolls hadn’t browned completely. My hunch is that when the rolls rose in the pan prior to baking that rode up the slanted sides of the pie plate, so for much of the baking time they weren’t in contact with the bottom of the pie plate. That may have also kept the caramel from coming together.
To fix the tops I placed the inverted rolls back in the oven for about ten minutes, and then left them in with the over switched off for another half hour. The rolls ends up browning nicely, but I can’t help but feeling the finished rolls lacked the requisite sticky caramel.
I’m haven’t decided whether to make another batch of sticky buns with the remaining brioche dough, or use it for another recipe. I know I will make these again at some point, however I’m strongly considering a few modifications:
- I will use slightly less butter when laminating the dough, probably two-thirds the amount called for in the recipe. I’ll save the remaining butter to line the sheet of dough, in effect borrowing the technique from cinnamon rolls so the spiral will contain butter, sugar, cinnamon, and pecans.
- Rather than line the pan with butter and then sugar, I’ll cream these two together, perhaps with a little vanilla extract as well, with the hope this will lead to a more homogenized sticky caramel sauce.
- Lastly, I’ll forgo my beloved ceramic pie plates for straight sided metal cake pans. I think and additional factor in my lack of browning was that metal conducts heat much better than ceramic.