I love cinnamon rolls and sticky buns and have a million recipes to make them...but I never do...because they all take too much time or are pale imitations. This is not. And they take less than an hour and little skill to prepare. Ina, in her new book, uses puff pastry, which achieves a crispy, flaky roll rather than the usual tender, chewy roll, but the overall effect is excellent. The goo on top is magnificent (even if you do have to scrape it off the pan and onto the rolls) and the flavor and texture are delightful. I was suspicious of the raisins, and made half without, but they add nice flavor and chewy texture. The rolls are very, very rich though. I might decrease the butter in the topping to only 1 stick next time. I mean...this ain't Paula Deen here, folks.
12 tbsp (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup pecans, chopped in large pieces (I used toasted sliced almonds)
1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
2 tbsp 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. Place a 12 cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (this is to catch the dripping butter).
Combine in a mixer the 12 tbsp of butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tbsp of the mixture in each of the muffin cups. Distribute pecan evenly among the 12 muffin cups.
Lightly flour a wooden board. Unfold the sheet of pastry. Brush the whole sheet with half the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1 ½ tsp of cinnamon, and ½ cup of 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 ½ inch and discard. Slice the roll into 6 pieces, each about 1 ½ inch wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet. Makes 12 rolls.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the bun onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon), and cool completely.