Remember that Chai Apple Cheesecake Tart I made last month? I got to show of Paderno’s Mandolin Vegetable Slicer and their Deep Dish Non-Stick Fluted Mold. This month, I’m using the slightly less flashy but oh so useful Paderno Counter Pastry Mat and Heavy Duty Half Size Bun Pan to bring you these Coffee Pecan Porter Sticky Buns. And just like last month, I’ll be giving away both a rolling mat and a half sheet pan to a lucky reader, so find out how to enter at the end of this post.
I always had a vague idea about making sticky buns using both the rolling mat and the bun pan, but I was a bit hazy on what kind of sticky buns to make. And then I saw a bottle of Fearrington Winter, a limited edition seasonal beer from Fullsteam Brewing in Durham. A Coffee Pecan Porter. And that is really all I needed to see. I scooped up that 22oz beauty and brought her home with me.
I reduced some of the beer by about 75% to make a thin syrup to use as part of the “sticky” that gets spread in the pan before placing pecans and the buns on top. I used half a cup (4 oz) of straight beer, not reduced, in the dough itself as well. I brought in some other winter flavors to both reinforce and complement the porter: maple syrup and espresso powder. I wanted to let the flavors in the beer shine, so I left all other spices except for salt on the shelf. The resulting buns are full of coffee pecan flavor that really does justice to the beautiful seasonal beer from Fullsteam. The reduction itself is just off-bitter, but all trace of bitterness evaporates magically in the oven, leaving behind a malty, deeply caramelized almost toffee topping for the buns.