The next recipe in the Yeast-Risen Specialties section of the Modern Baker Challenge is Pecan Stickiest Buns. Yes, stickiest. Not sticky. Not stickier. Stickiest. The name alone gives these buns a lot to live up to. And they had some stiff competition. Having recently acquired Artisan Breads Every Day; and having tasted sticky buns baked by Peter Reinhart himself; and having baked Reinhart’s sticky buns, twice; and having grown up in Lancaster County, PA, where sticky buns are standard breakfast fare, well, let’s just say I know sticky buns.
Malgieri’s recipe starts with the sweet dough used in the previous recipe, Bakery Crumb Buns. After mixing the dough and letting it ferment for a few hours, I patted it out, then rolled it into a rectangle. I spread the dough with a filling made of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, then sprinkled on chopped pecans.
I rolled the dough into a cylinder and cut it into 15 rolls. Then I put the rolls into a pan that I had spread with a mixture of butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and pecan halves.
I covered the pan with greased plastic wrap and allowed the dough to proof for two hours.
After the dough had proofed, I baked the rolls at 375°F for 25 minutes, until the rolls were golden brown and firm and the sticky mixture was bubbling up between the rolls.
I let the buns cool for about five minutes in the pan, then turned them out onto a baking sheet.
So, how did these sticky buns stack up? I can safely say they were every bit as good as any I ate growing up in New Holland. As I was eating them, I thought they tasted a lot like the PR sticky buns. I recall at least one of Peter’s recipes having orange flavoring, which Nick’s did not. My wife and I agreed that we would have to taste them side by side to determine which one we liked the best.
As it turns out, Nick wasn’t just bragging when he called these “Stickiest Buns”. And he could have called them “most delicious”, too.