I used every excuse I could, to give this Tuesday's Julia Child recipe a miss... from "the weather's just too hot" to "I don't have a stand mixer" to "am not sure I even like the idea of sticky buns" to my favourite..the one that I kept hanging onto.. "this recipe uses just too much butter.. yikes!!!" And am I glad I did not listen to myself and went ahead with this week's Pecan Sticky Buns for our fortnightly bake-together.
The main factor in getting me to go ahead with the recipe was the fact that we would be trying our hand at a new bread dough, specifically, the brioche dough. One of the main reasons I signed up for this group was to push myself as a baker with new recipes and techniques. This recipe promised all of that!!
This recipe is for the enthusiastic baker and definitely NOT for those short on time or those who are counting their calories!! The recipe starts off with making the brioche dough and then the dough is folded and rolled into buns and baked. The recipe stipulates the use of a stand mixer that kneads the dough for 15 minutes before you attain the required consistency.
Me, being me, of course, did not have a stand mixer and bravely decided to make the dough by hand. And while my wrist bore the brunt with all that kneading, I must confess that it was not as bad as I thought it would be!! It did help that I was making only half the recipe!!
Once the dough is made and after one rise, it is refrigerated overnight. The next morning is when the fun starts... if you thought the butter added to the dough was quite a bit, well you use almost the same amount to laminate the dough and then fold it, similar to the technique I've seen people use for puff pastry. The dough is rolled with a filling of cinnamon sugar and nuts to which I added my personal touch of orange zest!! Once rolled like a Swiss roll, it is sliced and placed in a baking dish with pecans, that I substituted with walnuts, since we don't get pecans in India.
And NO, you haven't yet seen the end of the butter!! Before you place the buns in the baking dish, the bottom of the dish is smeared with a thick layer of butter and sugar which will then go on to give those buns their sticky look!! Are you now ready to get your cholesterol tested?????
You have to let the dough rest at each step before you proceed onto the next step and this is what makes the recipe a 24 hour affair!! But once popped into the oven and that buttery, cinnamon aroma invades your kitchen, you are almost ready to forgive the effort that this recipe demands. The best, however, is yet to come.. upturn that baking dish, pop those buns onto a plate and nothing will be able to stop you from yanking out one of them!!
The beauty of these soft, layered, flaky, scrumptious buns is that for all the butter and eggs used, you are not left with an overpowering greasy after taste or for that matter, neither are you left feeling too heavy despite the richness of the dough!! In fact, these buns with their layered texture, thanks to the folding, are an absolute breakfast or tea time delight!! They are not cloyingly sweet nor sticky and that orange zest, in taste and aroma, simply refreshes the senses!!
You'll be so lost in savouring and enjoying every bite of these buns, that you won't realise when you are done with one of them!! It's only because I knew how much butter had gone into them that I somehow managed to stop myself at one!!
Moreover, as a home baker, this recipe was immensely rewarding . The end result was so professional and beautiful, that when I first bit into them, I couldn't believe I had made these... maybe, all that butter did have a purpose after all!! However.. you'll also understand when I say, after this recipe I have a gym workout that I just cannot afford to miss!!!
Due to copyright considerations, only the person hosting the recipe for the group 'TWD:Baking with Julia' can post the recipe on their blog. The recipe for these Sticky Buns will be available on the blogs of Lynn and Nicole. Alternately, you can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will mail you the recipe.