Food and Prop Styling by Goldie Stern
Food Prep and Consulting by Chaya Suri Goldberger
Photography by Felicia Perretti
Okay, so imagine a cinnamon bun with cream cheese frosting and then imagine the whole thing flipped inside out and upside down, and now we’re on the same page. This is not a quick recipe, but the dough is the softest and fluffiest I have ever made in real life, and IMHO that sometimes has to trump easy.
- 4 cups flour, divided
- 1¼ cups milk, divided
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 Tbsp dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 2 8-oz (225-g) bars J&J Cream Cheese, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
Gooey Pecan Filling
- 1½ sticks butter
- 1½ cups brown sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- pecans, roughly chopped
Take 3 Tbsp of the flour and 1⁄2 cup of the milk and heat them in a small pan or pot, stirring often, until you have a soft pudding consistency, about 7 minutes. Allow to cool.
Mix all but 1⁄2 cup of the remaining flour and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, adding in the slurry. Mix by hand or with a dough hook in a mixer. If the dough is very sticky or tacky, add the remainder of the flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, until the dough comes together smoothly. Knead for 8–10 minutes or until smooth and soft. Place in a buttered bowl and cover. If your oven has a proof setting, proof there, or in any warm spot, until dough has doubled in size, 11⁄2–2 hours.
Mix filling ingredients and set aside in the fridge while the dough rises.
Once dough has risen, preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and make the gooey filling: Combine butter and sugar in a small pot. When beginning to bubble, add corn syrup and simmer on low while you prepare your dough.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle that’s about 18x12 inches (46x30 cm). Spread the cream cheese filling over the top and roll up.
Prepare three 8-inch (20-cm) square pans. Add coarsely chopped pecans to your taste (I don’t like too many nuts, so 1⁄4 cup per pan was perfect for me) and divide the goo evenly among the pans.
Using a very sharp knife or unflavored floss, cut the rolled-up dough into 18 rolls. If the filling falls out slightly, it’s okay, just do the best you can to keep it all together. This is a trust-the-process situation. Place 6 buns in each pan and bake until the tops are just set, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 2 minutes, then flip upside down to a plate or platter to reveal the gooey pecan tops.
(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 821)
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