Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sticky Buns - Now In Lemon

Well, the roller coaster ride is almost over. It's been fun and thrilling, but it's impossible to blog when you are up in the air and down. Besides, when you are thrilled but also a bit scared and waving your hands at the top, but gripping hard to the grab bar on the way down and in the curves, a girl gets preoccupied.

Over a week ago I ended a post with a photo of the lemon sticky buns I made. At last I'm going to be able to share the recipe with you. Why lemon? Well, spring always makes me want to cook and bake with lemon for some reason. Probably it the zing of lemon. Spring is a kind of zingy season. Another reason is my usual thinking...if cinnamon and brown sugar and cream make awesome sticky buns, what else could you substitute for at least some of those ingredients that would also make awesome, but really different, buns? So my lemon sticky buns are about as far away from cinnamon ones as you can get.

I started with my favorite sticky bun dough, which is the one I use for the awesome sticky buns. When I rolled out half the dough I spread on some softened cream cheese because lemon and dairy are a great combo. Then I spread on some lemon curd. I like buns with lots of filling. Then I sprinkled on some coconut. It's another end of winter/early spring flavor to my mind and goes great with lemon. The dough was then rolled up in the usual fashion and cut into buns, which I froze on a parchment lined baking sheet.

The recipe for the sticky part was trickier. I started with some melted butter, just like the awesome cinnamon recipe, then added both lemon juice and lemon zest. Regular sugar instead of brown seemed right, but I kept it to a smaller amount so that the sauce would be tart. Finally, after I put the buns on top of the sauce, I poured on some heavy cream and then let it all sit overnight in the fridge, so all the ingredients could get to know each other and the dough.

These were not quite as awesome as the cinnamon's pretty hard to beat good cinnamon sticky buns...but they were delicious and the sauce was really, really good. Sweetie licked his fingers to get every bit of it.

This would make a welcome addition to your Easter breakfast or Spring morning feast.The recipe makes a pan of 10-12 buns, plus 10-12 more buns for the freezer. When you are ready to bake them, just make up another batch of the sauce and be sure to let the pan sit until the buns both thaw and puff up a bit. When you bake them it will be hard to tell that you were using frozen buns. Need Lemon Sticky Buns for a crowd? Make up another batch of the sauce and bake two pans with 10-12 buns in each. You will be the hit of the party!

Lemon Sticky Buns
makes 20-24 rolls

1 package yeast (1/4 oz / 7 grams)
1 1/2 cups warm water (about 108-110 degrees F)
1 teaspoon sugar
Place yeast, water and sugar in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes to proof the yeast.

1 cup all-purpose flour, whisked with 1 cup water until smooth
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
Add the yeast mixture to the flour/water mixture. Mix in the melted butter, sugar, eggs and salt.

6-8 cups all-purpose flour
Add enough flour to make a soft dough (6 - 8 cups). Oil a large bowl or rising container. Add the dough and turn to coat, cover and let rise until doubled.

Divide the dough in half. Work with each piece separately.

Roll the first piece of dough to a 12" x 10" rectangle.

4 oz. softened cream cheese
Spread dough with 4 oz. softened cream cheese, leaving a 1/2 inch rim around the edges plain.

1/2 cup prepared lemon curd (recipe can be found here or purchase good quality lemon curd)
Spread the lemon curd evenly over the cream cheese on the dough rectangle.

1/4 cup shredded coconut (or to taste)
Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the lemon curd.

Roll up from the long side and cut into 1" to 1 1/2" slices (cut 10-12). I used dental floss to cut them, which works well. Just slip a length of clean dental floss under the roll, cross the ends and pull quickly. One bun cut and ready to be laid on the parchment paper (for freezing) or the pan.

Repeat  with the second piece of dough, with the rolling out, spreading with cream cheese, lemon curd, coconut, rolling and cutting into buns.

If making buns right away, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2 sticks melted butter
8 lemons
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups heavy cream

In a 9" x 13" pan, place 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter.
In a small bowl combine 1 cup granulated sugar, the zest from one lemon and the juice from four lemons. Whisk to combine, then pour over the melted butter in the pan, pouring in a thin stream all over the pan.
Place 10-12 of the buns, cut side down, over the lemon butter mixture, leaving space between the buns. Pour 2/3 cup heavy cream over and around the buns. Repeat with the second set of buns, using another stick of butter, more lemon zest and juice and sugar and heavy cream. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft free place for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the buns fill the pan and puff up a bit. 

Bake in preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes. Tops will be golden brown and the sauce will be bubbly. Let pan rest on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then loosen the sides by running a knife around the sides. Taking extreme care not to touch the hot buns or sauce (which can burn you), turn the pan over a sheet pan with sides, so the bottom is on top. Scrape off any of the sauce that sticks to the baking pan. Let cool until just warm before serving. Serve with the sticky side up, with a bit of sauce.

Want to do the frozen buns? Place freshly cut buns, cut side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then put frozen buns in a zip closing sealed freezer bag. I usually make up the frozen buns by starting the night before so that they can thaw in the fridge overnight. Put the melted butter into the baking pan, mix up and pour on the lemon mixture, put in the frozen buns, being sure to leave lots of room around them in the pan, pour on the heavy cream, then put plastic wrap over the pan and put in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning take the baking pan out of the fridge and let it sit to warm up while you preheat the oven. Bake in the usual way. You may need to allow another five minutes for the buns that were frozen, but they should be ready for breakfast and you will be the clever one who didn't have to get up at 4 in the morning to start them!

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