Pecan Sticky Buns

"This is from "Baking with Julia" and uses Julia Child's Brioche Dough (Recipe #51546) for the basic brioche dough. Zaar won't let me put in 'brioche dough' but that is what you need--the unbaked bread dough. These are fabulous buns, truly worth all the work and all the calories -- but don't attempt this using a shortcut dough. Also make sure you use really good quality non-stick pans. For the caramel to work properly, you need heavy professional style pans. The prep time does not include the time it takes to make the brioche dough itself. I generally make the dough one day and the buns the next."
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Ready In:
4hrs 30mins
14 buns


  • For the Dough

  • 2 14 lbs brioche bread, dough (Brioche)
  • 34 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (6 ounces/12 tablespoons)
  • For the filling

  • 14 cup sugar
  • 14 teaspoon cinnamon (or more, to taste)
  • 12 cup raisins (optional ( and you may like more)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (I always omit these and add the raisins)
  • 1 egg, large, lightly beaten
  • For the topping

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (8 ounces/16 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 42 pecan halves


  • Divide the dough in half and keep one half covered in the refrigerator while you work with the other.
  • On a lightly floured work surface (marble is best), roll the dough into a rectangle 11x13-inch and 1/4-inch thick.
  • Try to work quickly because the dough is so active that even the warmth of your hands may be enough to get it rising again.
  • Dot the surface of the dough evenly with half of the butter (3/4 of a stick/6 tablespoons) and fold thee dough in thirds, as if you were folding a business letter.
  • Turn the dough so that the closed fold is to your left and roll it out again, being careful not to roll over the edges.
  • Fold th dough in thirds again, wrap well in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Repeat the rolling, dotting with the other half of the butter, folding and chilling with the other half of the dough.
  • Now the filling:

  • Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
  • Remove the first piece of dough from the fridge and, on a lightly floured work surface, roll it into a rectangle 11x13-inch and 1/4-inch thick.
  • Using a pastry brush, paint th surface of the dough with no more than half the beaten egg.
  • Leaving the top quarter of the dough bare, sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar, half the raisins and half the pecans (or whatever you choose to use) over the dough, spreading as evenly as possible.
  • Very lightly roll your rolling pin over the filling to press it into the dough.
  • Starting from the base of the rectangle, roll the dough up into a log.
  • Wrap the log up in plastic and freeze until firm, 45 minutes to one hour, so it will be easy to cut.
  • Repeat the filling process with the second piece of dough.
  • Note: the sticky bun logs can now be double wrapped and kept in the freezer for up to a month. If left to freeze solid, they should rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before you continue with the recipe.
  • While the logs are chilling, prepare the pans.
  • You will need two 9-inch round cake pans with high sides.
  • Using your fingers, press one stick (4 ounces/8 tablespoons) of the softened butter evenly over the bottom of each pan; then sprinkle half the brown sugar evenly over the butter in each pan.
  • Now shape the buns.
  • Remove a log of dough from the freezer and, if the ends are ragged, trim them.
  • Using a long sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice the log into seven slices (about 1 and 1/2 inch wide).
  • Lay each slice on one of its flat sides, press the slice down with the palm of your hand to flatten it slightly, and then, with cupped hands, turn the slice around on the work surface two or three times to reestablish its round shape.
  • Press three pecan halves, flat side up, onto the top of each slice so that the nuts form a triangle.
  • Holding onto the nuts as best you can, turn the slices over (nuts on the bottom) into the prepared pan, placing six of the buns in a circle and the seventh in the center; the seams of the buns should face the outside of the pan.
  • Repeat with the second log of dough.
  • Allow the pans of sticky buns to rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the slices rise and grow to touch one another.
  • Arrange the oven racks so that one rack is in the middle of the oven and the other is just below it and pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Put the pans of sticky buns on the middle rack and slip a foil or parchment lined sheet pan onto the rack beneath (to catch any dripping caramel).
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • As soon as you remove the pans from the oven, invert them onto a serving dish (if you let them sit in the pans the sugar mixture will harden and you will have to re-heat the pans to get the buns out).
  • Note: Be VERY careful. The brown sugar and butter mixture is molten and can result in very nasty burns. Also, don't serve until they have had a chance to cool a bit.
  • These really are best the day they are made.

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<p>I have always loved to cook. When I was little, I cooked with my Grandmother who had endless patience and extraordinary skill as a baker. And I cooked with my Mother, who had a set repertoire, but taught me many basics. Then I spent a summer with a French cousin who opened up a whole new world of cooking. And I grew up in New York City, which meant that I was surrounded by all varieties of wonderful food, from great bagels and white fish to all the wonders of Chinatown and Little Italy, from German to Spanish to Mexican to Puerto Rican to Cuban, not to mention Cuban-Chinese. And my parents loved good food, so I grew up eating things like roasted peppers, anchovies, cheeses, charcuterie, as well as burgers and the like. In my own cooking I try to use organics as much as possible; I never use canned soup or cake mix and, other than a cheese steak if I'm in Philly or pizza by the slice in New York, I don't eat fast food. So, while I think I eat and cook just about everything, I do have friends who think I'm picky--just because the only thing I've ever had from McDonald's is a diet Coke (and maybe a frie or two). I have collected literally hundreds of recipes, clipped from the Times or magazines, copied down from friends, cajoled out of restaurant chefs. Little by little, I am pulling out the ones I've made and loved and posting them here. Maybe someday, every drawer in my apartment won't crammed with recipes. (Of course, I'll always have those shelves crammed with cookbooks.) I'm still amazed and delighted by the friendliness and the incredible knowledge of the people here. 'Zaar has been a wonderful discovery for me.</p>
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