Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sticky Buns, Barefoot Contessa Style
I love Ina Garten. When I get a chance to sit down and watch The Barefoot Contessa (preferably in high definition) on The Food Network I drool and watch in awe as she makes preparing the most beautiful food look so easy. She just makes me want to have a party.
I also love breakfast breads, especially sticky buns, so I knew I had to try her recipe. This recipe is from her Back to Basics book (which isn't her latest) and I found that it has similar flavors to my Easy Sticky Buns recipe. Very, very similar, but the Ina's cute presentation of perfect little cinnamon rolls (formed in a muffin tin) may be a bit more impressive than my ring of pull apart sweet bread. Also, this version is considerably sweeter. So sweet that it forms a crispy, candy-like coating on some areas. The topping reminds me of toffee. Very good, very sweet. I definitely had to limit myself to two.
This was my first time working with frozen puff pastry. My mother (who often shares meals with us) doesn't like puff pastry and I could care less about it, so I hadn't ventured into the world of flaky crusts. The puff pastry was really easy to use and this sticky bun is great if you like a light, flaky pastry. I found this delicious, but I thought it would be even better with a traditional, soft bread dough. Just sayin'.
If you're a sticky bun connoisseur, give both my recipe and Ina's a try. Feel free to leave out the raisins or the nuts. I've done it with and without both. I'm wondering which you'll find easier. Mine requires planning and preparation the night before, but less labor in assembly. Ina's comes together all at once, but doesn't have the soft, traditional bread dough I enjoy in a sticky bun. Then again, can you really go wrong with a sticky bun?
Sticky Buns, Barefoot Contessa Style
slightly modified from Easy Sticky Buns
yield 12 sticky buns
2 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped in very large pieces
1 package (17.3-ounces/ 2-sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
For the filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the nuts evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2-inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Be careful - the hot buns are like molten lava! Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely. Some of the filling will stick to the muffin tins. Just scoop it out carefully and put it back on top of the buns. Serve warm.