Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ultimate Pecan Sticky Buns

These babies are truly decadent and will surely add inches to your hips, thighs, and buttocks just by looking at them. As you may remember, Vegan Mom and I have been involved in a fight to keep the local school open (it is almost 100 years old and a pillar of the community). That has meant hosting many strategy meetings and providing lots of vegan baking for hungry activists. The great news is that we have prevailed! The school will stay open for now, giving us time to raise money to restore and renovate it to its former glory, and hopefully get it a well-deserved historical landmark designation. We probably owe it all to these buns. The recipe is modified from The New Basics Cookbook--I didn't like their some of their ingredients or method. The combination of the orange and the rum make these truly amazing.

- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 cup warm soy milk
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup margarine, melted
- 1/2 cup soy yogurt (or replacement for two eggs)
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt

- 3 tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon

- 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup margarine
- 1/4 cup rum
- 1 1/2 cup pecan halves

1. Mix 3 cups of the flour and the yeast together. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add enough the remaining flour to make a soft (but not sticky) yet firm dough. Knead for 10 mins until smooth.
2. From here, you have two choices: a) place dough in a buttered bowl (turning to coat), cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight (this way you can make them fresh in the morning. Do step three and beyond in the morning as well); or b) place in a buttered bowl (turning to coat), cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
3. Mix together the filling ingredients and set aside.
4. Make the topping. First, butter the sides of an 9 x 13 pan. Put sugar, margarine, and rum in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. The trick here is to melt the sugar and start the caramelization process. I like to bring it almost to bubbling, then remove from heat and pour into prepared pan. Distribute pecan halves evenly in the topping, then place in the fridge to cool.
5. Punch down dough (if you left it in the fridge overnight, you may want to let it warm up for an hour first). Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 12 x 18" rectangle. Sprinkle filling evenly over, then tightly roll up like a jelly roll along the long edge.
6. Slice into twelve 1.5" pieces and place in prepared pan in 4 rows of three. Cover, and let rise for about an hour. Before the hour is up, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Bake for 30 to 35 mins, until nicely browned and topping is bubbling. This is actually a bit tricky. Remember that what you see is actually the bottom of the rolls, and the trick is to make sure that the tops is cooked and the topping has fully caramelized.
8. Let buns cool for 15 mins, then invert on to a large plate. You may want to invert it on to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. That way, if the bottom (now the top) is not done, you can put it back into the oven for 5 mins or so to firm up. Serve.