There is very little white sugar in these not-just-for-breakfast buns -- but you won't miss it. Honey imparts its smooth, mellow sweetness to every component: the rich, buttery dough, the tangy creme fraiche filling, and the appealingly sticky topping.
Martha Stewart Living, September 2008
For the Filling and Topping
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup honey (any type), plus more for brushing and drizzling
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
For the dough
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup honey (any type)
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- Vegetable oil, for bowl
- Make the dough: Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a small bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk milk, butter, eggs, honey, salt, and vanilla with a mixer on medium speed. Add yeast mixture, and whisk for 1 minute. Switch to dough hook, reduce speed to low, and add 4 cups flour. After flour is incorporated, raise speed to medium, and continue kneading.
- Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Raise speed to medium-high, and knead for 10 minutes. (Alternatively, knead by hand until smooth, 15 to 20 minutes.)
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until dough is very smooth, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic, and set aside in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Make the filling and topping: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in honey, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a gentle simmer, then remove from heat. Let cool. Combine mascarpone and creme fraiche in a bowl.
- Punch down dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 3 portions. Roll each into a ball. Freeze 2 for up to 3 months (thaw in the refrigerator before using). Roll remaining dough into a 10-by-13 1/2-inch rectangle. Brush lightly with honey, spread mascarpone mixture evenly on top, leaving a 1-inch border, and sprinkle with pecans. Starting on 1 long side, roll dough into a log. Pinch along seam to seal. Cut into nine 1 1/2-inch-thick slices.
- Pour honey mixture into an 8-inch square baking pan. Place buns, cut sides down, in pan, 3 to a row. Let buns rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place oven rack in lower third. Bake buns, rotating halfway through, until brown and bubbling, about 1 hour. (If buns darken too quickly, cover with foil.) Set a wire rack on a baking sheet. Immediately invert buns onto rack. Drizzle with honey, and serve warm.
Store honey at room temperature for up to 2 years. If it no longer flows freely, place the bottle in warm water; the gentle heat will return the honey to a liquid state.
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