And also cheesy-mite scrolls.
I went for the double down this week because we had people over for the classic afternoon tea combination of a focus group followed by a royal wedding viewing. What do you serve guests who are going to first share their thoughts on behavioural archetypes and then critique wedding arrangements at St George’s? Obviously an assortment of scrolled items.
I don’t quite know why I thought the savoury/sweet double down was a good idea. Maybe I believed that the two recipes would be basically identical and easy to do simultaneously (they weren’t). Maybe I thought I could get two weeks worth of posts out of a single morning’s work (I haven’t). Maybe I just liked the idea of lots of scroll things filling out a platter most fetchingly (I stand by that).
While the caramel pecan situation was directly copied from a book (Dean Brettschneider’s Bread, thanks for asking), I did try and spread my creative wings with the cheesymites. This was ill-advised. I used a dough recipe for buns that was meant to showcase cherry tomatoes, vegemite, feta and caramelised onions (also from Bread, thanks for checking). That obviously sounds extremely delicious, but also like quite a lot of work with cherry tomato roasting and onion caramelising. I was already on the hook for pecan caramelising and that felt like more than enough caramelising for one scroll bonanza.
So I ‘improvised’ and ended up with scrolls that were neither quite as cheesy nor as mitey as they might have been. If I made them again I would revert back to the dough recipe from the cheddar swirl breakfast buns and go much much harder on both the fillings.
The caramel pecans involved less improvisation and a lot more stress. The recipe is supposed to make 12 buns across two 6 hole muffin tins. I, however, only have 12 and 24 hole muffin tins. As everyone knows, I always prefer to make do with the equipment that I have. Except for when I always prefer to race down to the shops and purchase a lot of similar equipment to avoid figuring out a workaround.
I probably should have raced down the shops. Using the much shallower 12 and 24 hole tins (I made 12 medium buns and 12 miniature ones) meant that during baking the caramel at the bottom of each hole bubbled up and over the buns and then across the pan and then down the sides of the pan and then onto the floor of the oven where it proceeded to burn. Heavenly.
The mess was a nuisance, but the bigger issue was that precious caramel deliciousness was being incinerated. The end result looks divine, but could definitely benefit from the full intended amount of caramel. They also benefit from heating before eating, but according to author Dean B they will be just as delicious on day 3 as day 1…time will tell.
Sticky Pecan Buns
From Dean Brettschneider’s ‘Bread’
Total time: around 3 hours
Prep time (dough): 30 minutes (including heating milk and softening butter)
Proving time: at least 2 hours 15 minutes (includes making caramel simultaneously)
Prep time (roll creation): 15 minutes
Bake time: 15-20 minutes
I have included both weight and metric measurements as Dean helpfully includes them in his book, however weighing always seems to keep me out of trouble more than measuring.
2x 7g sachets dry yeast, mixed with a little flour and water to form a slurry
500g (3C) strong bread flour
10g (2 tsp) salt
100g (scant ½ C) butter – there was no instruction but I softened mine
75g (generous ½ C) sugar
1 medium egg (I used large)
260ml milk, heated to 30°C
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
45g (scant ¼ C) sugar
45g (scant ¼ C) brown sugar
5g (1½ tsp) ground cinnamon
Sticky Bun Glaze
200g (1 C) brown sugar
100g (scant ½ C) butter
pinch of salt
80g (scant ¼ C) honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
120g (scant 1 C) chopped pecans or walnuts
Place all of the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine using a wooden spoon. Once a dough has formed, tip out onto a lightly floured work surface.Every 2-3 minutes, take a break and let the dough rest for 1 minute. According to my understanding of this instruction, the process will take 20 minutes – for every 3 minutes of kneading you have 1 minute of resting. My dough was a sticky nightmare for the first couple of rounds and I had to add a touch more flour at the 3, 6 and 9 minute marks. The final dough should be smooth and elastic, but not too soft as it’s going to get rolled and contorted up a storm. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl (see: the one you just used to mix it) and cover with clingfilm before leaving to prove in a warm place for 45 minutes.
After the first prove, tip dough onto your work surface and deflate gently. Fold it onto itself a few times and then return to the bowl, re-cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for a second time – 30 minutes.
While the dough is proving it’s time to make the glaze. Very gently melt all of the ingredients together in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Do not let it boil! Grease your two 6-hole Texas muffin tins (or follow my lead and try do it with smaller tins and see if you can somehow avoid the burnt caramel oven tragedy) with butter or non-stick spray. Do not skimp, the caramel and the buns are sticky and you do not want them to get stuck. Place 2 tablespoons of sticky bun glaze in the bottom of each muffin hole (I used much less in my small tin and also had quite a lot left over) and then top with about 3 tsp of chopped nuts.
Mix cinnamon sugar ingredients together in a small bowl.
Tip dough onto lightly floured work surface. Roll out with a rolling pin until you have a rectangle around 45cm x 35 cm. You want the 45cm (longer) edge closer to you. Brush dough lightly with water and then sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough, leaving a 1cm border free at the bottom long edge (the one closest to you).
Roll the dough towards you, starting from the top, trying to keep the large dough log nice and even. Seal at the bottom edge and then lengthen the log out to 50cm by rolling it. Take a large chef’s knife and cut the dough into even slices to match the number of muffin tin holes you have. I found I needed to trim the two ends a bit because they were messy and light on filling. If you are working with 12 muffin holes (as recommended) then you will want slices about 4cm thick. If you are off doing your own thing (as demonstrated) then cut slimmer slices.
Place each slice of spiral dough on top of the pecan and sticky bun glaze mixture in the holes. Cover with clingfilm and leave for about an hour at room temperature. You want the buns to double in size and have a light texture.
Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C Fan.
Once buns are ready to go, remove clingfilm and place your tins into the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until light golden brown (and around 100°C internal temperature). Even though I had smaller scrolls than recommended I still needed 15 minutes to bake.
While the buns are baking, line a large baking tray with baking paper.
When they’re done, remove from the oven and leave to sit for a minute. Then tip the muffin tin upside down so the buns fall out onto your lined baking tray. This was a messy process for me and some of the buns needed a little caramel transplanting after their fall. Best eaten, in our experience, while still warm (but not straight out of the oven because hot sugar is terrifying) or gently reheated.