I know it is January and everyone is eating clean or on some vibrant green juice cleanse but you know what? Sometimes life is too short so why not enjoy a little of what you fancy every now and then? I'm being flippant, of course health is important but as someone who has spent many many years on diets, losing 10 stone, putting some back on and going back on the diets I came to the realisation that the old adage, everything in moderation is the common sense answer and what works for me. Bearing all of that in mind I should preface this recipe by saying these are huge, like feed two people huge. I have baked them in jumbo muffin pans to give them that bakery style look but if you want to make them a little smaller then by all means cut the recipe in half and bake in normal muffin pans.
300g plain flour
300g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
140ml whole milk, lukewarm
2 tbsp honey
14g fast-action dried yeast
6 large eggs
250g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
150g light brown muscavado sugar
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
60g unsalted butter, melted
150g roughly chopped pecans
150g unsalted butter
200g light brown muscavado sugar
pinch of flaked sea salt
150ml double cream
To make the brioche dough place the flours into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix to combine. Mix the milk, honey and the yeast together in jug, mixing until the yeast has dissolved. Pour into the flour mixture, along with the eggs and mix together with a wooden spoon to form a shaggy dough, attach to the mixer fitted with he dough hook and knead on medium/low speed for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
With the mixer still running, add the butter a couple pieces at a time, mixing until the butter has been fully incorporated. Continue kneading the dough for a further 10 minutes or until the dough is elastic, and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Tip the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight.
To make the topping place the butter and sugar into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar and butter have melted and combined. Add the salt and cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the water, set this aside to cool for half an hour.
Tip the chilled dough out onto a well floured work surface and pat into a rectangle. Lightly flour the dough and roll out into a roughly 40x50cm rectangle. Mix the sugar and the cinnamon together and then brush the dough with the melted butter, sprinkling the sugar mix evenly over the dough. Working along the long edge roll the dough into a large sausage, trying to keep the roll nice and tight. Using a sharp knife cut the sausage into 12 equal slices. Divide the caramel between two 6-hole jumbo muffin pans (you can also use brownie pans if you don't have these) and top with the pecans. Place the buns into the muffin pans, on top of the caramel and lightly cover with clingfilm. Set the buns aside for 1-2 hours or until they have almost doubled in size. Whilst the dough is proving preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan).
The caramel in this recipe tends to bubble up and drip over the side of the pans so to prevent caramel from burning onto the bottom of your oven line two baking trays with foil ,this way you can just throw away the foil after baking. Place the risen buns onto the prepared baking trays and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Allow to cool in the muffin pans for 5 minutes before tipping out onto a serving plate, make sure this is big enough to catch all the buns and the caramel as it will drip.
Best served warm and within 3 days of baking.