Classic Ricotta Tart

Having lived in the North End of Boston for three years, I had the pleasure of frequenting some of the best Italian bakeries — the inspiration behind this tart. This rendition is adapted from a beloved recipe in our first cookbook. The Italian pasta frolla dough is versatile and straightforward to make. You’ll find yourself dreaming up other rustic tarts that it would serve well. My favorite filling combines rich ricotta cheese, dried cranberries, hazelnuts and bittersweet chocolate chips. However, feel free to swap out the dried fruit and nuts as whimsy or inspiration strikes. Fresh berries and a glass of Vin Santo make the perfect accompaniments to this lovely Italian tart.
-Leslie Mackie

Printable PDF of this recipe here.
Makes one 7-inch tart; serves 6

2½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground anise
10 Tbsp (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp heavy cream

⅓ cup dried cranberries
2 cups seasonal berries
3¾ cup whole milk ricotta
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp unbleached all-purposed flour
¼ tsp salt
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp orange zest
4 egg yolks
¼ cup hazelnuts, roasted and coarsely ground
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp unbleached all-purposed flour
1 egg + 1 tsp watter for egg wash
2 Tbsp raw sugar (Turbinado)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the ground anise and mix until well combined. Place bowl on mixer, and fit with the paddle attachment. On low speed, gradually add the butter cubes. Continue mixing until the texture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and heavy cream. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the dough onto a clean surface. Divide it into two portions: one larger and the other about a third of the size. Shape each portion into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

On a floured surface, roll out the larger dough disk into an 11-inch circle with a thickness of ⅛-inch. Carefully transfer it to a 7-inch x 1½-inch cake pan, pressing into the bottom and up the sides. Ensure there’s a ½-inch overhang around the top edges of the pan.

Roll out the smaller dough disk into a 7-inch circle, also with a thickness of ⅛-inch. Cut two 2-inch vents in this top layer of dough. Set the dough-lined cake pan aside as you make the filling.

Rinse the dried cranberries under water to rehydrate them. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla extract and orange zest. This can be mixed by hand or using a stand mixer until combined well.

Gradually add the egg yolks, ensuring each yolk is fully incorporated before adding the next. Gently fold in the rehydrated cranberries, ground hazelnuts, and chocolate chips, making sure they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

In a seperate small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make the egg wash.

Transfer the filling into the dough-lined cake pan, smoothing the top to ensure it’s level. Top the filling with the 7-inch pasta frolla circle. Brush the perimeter of the top dough with egg wash. Fold the ½-inch overhang from the base dough over the top dough, pressing gently to seal the tart.

Brush the entire top of the tart with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. If you have excess dough, you can roll it out and cut decorative roses or other designs and place them on top of tart.

Refrigerate the assembled tart for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Bake the tart for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the crust turns a golden brown and the filling is set.

Allow the tart to cool for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy with fresh berries and a glass of Vin Santo!

Avocado Toast with Egg & Fromage Blanc

Trends may come and go, but avocado toast is a welcome mainstay. In fact, popular recipes for it date back to the ’60s. Why even have a recipe for something as simple as mashed avocado on toast? Because elevating it from good to delightful is a matter of choosing a few complementary ingredients in balanced proportions. In our cafés, this recipe has earned such a following that we now offer it daily. We recommend our Pugliese for bread, however, any of our rustic loaves will do. Choose your favorite and enjoy this modern classic, a love letter to relaxed mornings and healthy, delicious food.



Printable PDF of this recipe here. 

Makes 6 large rolls

4 eggs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 ripe avocados
1 loaf Macrina’s Pugliese (or favorite rustic bread)
1/2 cup Fromage Blanc (or another spreadable cheese such as Snofrisk, or goat cheese)
1 cup microgreens (radish or watercress)

Place the whole eggs in a small sauce pan and cover with water. Over medium heat, bring the water to a boil, then cover with a lid and turn off heat. After 11 minutes have elapsed, remove the lid and pour off the hot water. Run cold water over the eggs for 30 seconds, then peel them and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/4 tsp salt, and black pepper. Whisk to combine well. Set aside.

Place peeled and pitted avocados in a medium bowl. Smash them with a fork to make them spreadable.

Cut eight 1/2-inch slices of bread (if using a larger loaf, one slice per serving will do). Toast the bread to get a delicious char on them.

Place 2 toasted slices on each plate and drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over the bread. Spread each with 1 Tbsp of cheese. Top each with an equal portion of the mashed avocado. Slice the eggs and divide among each slice. Drizzle with the lemon juice dressing and top with the microgreens. Enjoy!

Pissaladière Tart with Cambozola & Roasted Tomatoes

This Provençal tart is traditionally made with caramelized onions, anchovies and Kalamata olives on a puff pastry crust. We’ve adapted the classic by replacing the anchovies with roasted tomatoes and Cambozola cheese. Our Flaky Pie Dough makes it easy to cook like a French pastry chef—on a weeknight! The salty sweet flavor combination and the flaky tart crust make this a tempting appetizer. Or add a salad for a simple, luxurious meal.-Leslie Mackie

Printable PDF of this recipe here. 
Makes 9 Servings

2 Roma tomatoes
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
¾ tsp kosher salt, divided
3 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped, divided
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 large yellow onions, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
¼ tsp black pepper
1 disc Macrina Flaky Pie Dough (available frozen at our cafés in 2-packs)
1 egg
⅓ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 oz Cambozola cheese, cut in ¼-inch slices

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

Core the tomatoes, then slice them into ¼-inch rounds. Toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil, ¼ tsp salt and ½ tsp thyme. Spread the seasoned tomato slices on one of the the rimmed baking sheets and roast for 20 minutes. Their edges should be tinged golden brown. Let cool.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the butter and remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil. When the butter sizzles, add the sliced onions, 2 tsp thyme, ½ tsp salt and black pepper. Caramelize the onions, stirring often for about 25 minutes until they have reached a light brown caramel color. Place the onions in a bowl and let cool.

On a floured work surface, roll the disc of pie dough into a rectangle, 12-inches x 14-inches and approximately ¼-inch thick. Fold the dough in half and lift it onto the second lined baking sheet. Unfold the dough. Fold the edges in slightly to create a double thickness of dough around the perimeter. Use a fork to poke holes throughout the interior of the dough to prevent large air pockets from forming while baking. Chill for 20 minutes.

Mix the egg with 1 tsp of water. Brush the egg wash along the folded edge of the pie dough. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Layer the caramelized onions, Kalamata olives, sliced roasted tomatoes and Cambozola evenly across the tart. Sprinkle with the remaining fresh thyme.

Return to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to warm the toppings and melt the cheese. Let rest for 10 minutes. Serve the tart as an appetizer or add a salad to make a light but luxurious meal.

Bon appétit!

Pumpkin Spice Pâte à Choux Doughnuts

Pâte à choux is the classic French pastry dough used to make eclairs, cream puffs and profiteroles. It also makes excellent doughnuts. Baked rather than fried, the doughnuts have that delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes you crave another. A bit of pumpkin purée and the classic pumpkin pie spices gives them an autumnal flavor. The dough gets all its sweetness from a sugar glaze and a cinnamon sugar topping. Enjoy the doughnuts with apple cider or a steaming mug of coffee.
-Leslie Mackie

Printable PDF of this recipe here. 
Makes 12 Doughnuts
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg 1 cup water
¼ cup pumpkin purée, canned or fresh
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 eggs

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tbsp milk

2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharpie, trace six evenly spaced 3-inch circles on each piece of parchment. Flip the parchment so the ink is on the bottom. You’ll still be able to see it.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water, pumpkin purée and butter to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions. Use a wooden spoon to thoroughly incorporate the flour between additions. Once all the flour is added, cook until a thin coating sticks to the base of the pan, an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, mix on medium-low speed for 2 to 3 minutes to cool the mixture. When it’s just warm to the touch, add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl between additions to ensure it’s mixed well. When all the eggs are incorporated, mix for 2 more minutes to aerate the dough.

Scoop the dough into a pastry decorating bag fitted with a star tip and squeeze out any excess air. Don’t overfill the pastry bag. To create your doughnuts, pipe dough in the circles you traced on the parchment paper.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped at the base. Let cool for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and milk by hand to create a sugar glaze.

Dip the top side of each doughnut in the sugar glaze. Twist your wrist while pulling upward to remove the excess. Place each on the baking sheet, glaze side up.

While waiting for the glaze to partially dry, combine all of the cinnamon sugar ingredients together in a small bowl. When the glaze is about halfway dry, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the glaze. Enjoy the doughnuts with a glass of cider or hot coffee!

Cherry Clafoutis

Cherries are the traditional fruit for this delicate French dessert, but any seasonal fruit will do. Use fresh pitted sweet cherries or I.Q.F. (individually quick frozen) cherries. The puffed, golden-brown custard that forms the tart’s base is almond-scented and lightly sweet. The cherries punctuate each bite with their bright flavor. The preparation is simple enough to make while your dinner is cooking. Put it in the oven as you sit to eat, and in an hour, you’ll have an elegant dessert that is best served still warm from the oven.

Printable pdf of this recipe here.

Makes one 9-inch tart
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 cups sweet cherries, pitted (Bing, Rainier or thawed I.Q.F.)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract, divided
1 tsp almond extract, divided
1½ cups whole milk
3 eggs
¼ tsp salt
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp almonds, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp amaretto

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the base and sides of a 9-inch baking dish with the melted butter.

In a medium bowl, add the cherries, ¼ cup sugar, 1 Tbsp vanilla and ½ tsp almond extract. Marinate for 30 minutes.

In a blender or the bowl of a food processor, place ½ cup sugar, the remaining 1 Tbsp vanilla and ½ tsp almond extract, milk, eggs, salt and flour. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes to combine well.

Preheat the buttered baking dish for 5 minutes in the oven. Pour a quarter of the custard into the dish and return to the oven for 2 minutes. Then add the marinated cherries, scattering them evenly over the base. Top with the remaining custard. Sprinkle the chopped almonds around the perimeter.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the custard puffs and is golden brown. The custard should be firm to the touch.

Let cool for 15 minutes. Top with powdered sugar.

In a separate bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), use a whisk to whip the heavy cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar and amaretto to soft peaks.

This clafoutis is best enjoyed while still warm from the oven, preferably in the garden after an early summer dinner. Enjoy!



Raspberry Lemon Coffee Cake

The tart sweetness of fresh juicy raspberries finds its perfect complement in the cake’s soft buttery texture and fresh lemon flavor. This spring favorite of ours makes a beautiful centerpiece for an Easter brunch, or for that matter, any brunch. We offer a similar coffee cake in our cafés that we make with gluten-free flour. It’s delicious either way, and the moist cake keeps nicely for several days.

Printable PDF of this recipe here. 

Makes one bundt loaf; serves 10
2 Tbsp canola oil
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
8 oz unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
2¼ cup sugar
3 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (zest of 2 lemons)
5 eggs
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
½ cup non-fat yogurt
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp raspberry jam
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp water

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Brush bundt pan (12 cup bundt pan is ideal) with canola oil and sprinkle with ¼ cup flour. Rotate the pan so the flour coverage is even. Shake out excess flour. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the lemon zest and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture is light in texture and pale in color. Scrape the sides of the bowl frequently to ensure the mixture is thoroughly blended.

Add eggs one at a time, waiting until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture and yogurt in three alternating additions. Be careful not to overmix. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the fresh raspberries. Fold in gently by hand.

Scoop and level the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Place the bundt pan onto a rimmed baking sheet for easy handling and to prevent overflow in your oven. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. The top of the cake should be golden brown and an inserted toothpick should come out clean.

Let cool for 1 hour. Release the cake from the pan by running a paring knife around the edge of the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate and lift the pan.

In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, jam and water until combined. Drizzle the topping over the cake. Fresh raspberries, sugared edible flowers or herbs make great decorative garnishes. 

Quiche Lorraine

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Julia Child. One of my most treasured memories was when I was a featured guest on the Emmy award-winning show Baking with Julia in 1996. Cooking with Julia—in her Cambridge kitchen—was an unforgettable experience. This Quiche Lorraine recipe is, surprise surprise, inspired by a Julia Child’s recipe. I have adapted it to bring the bacon flavor to the fore and enhance it with locally made and aged Ferndale Farmstead Fontina cheese. This updated classic is one of my favorite savory fillings for our Flaky Pie Dough.

Makes one 10-inch quiche; serves 8
1 disk Macrina Flaky Pie Dough, thawed
5 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
4 ounces Ferndale Farmstead Fontina cheese (aged 6 months), or similar
2 egg yolks
2 eggs
1½ cups milk
2 cups half and half
½ tsp salt
2 grinds black pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

On a floured work surface, roll the disk of pie dough into a 13-inch circle. Fold dough in half and lift onto a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Flatten the dough into the base of the pan and edges. With the remaining overhang, fold into the pan to create an edge that stands ½-inch above the top of the pan. With your hand, press the crust edge to a consistent thickness. Chill for 30 minutes in the freezer or refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Adjust baking rack to center of oven.

Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill it with baking weights or beans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the base appears dry. Remove the beans. If the shell is moist-looking at the base, bake for another 2 to 5 minutes to dry it out. Let cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add the bacon. Stir to render the fat and crisp the bacon evenly. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon. Let cool. Discard the fat.

Grate the Fontina cheese; set aside.

In a medium bowl, add the egg yolks, eggs, milk, half and half, salt and freshly ground pepper. Whisk to combine.

Place the baked tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet. Layer the bacon, grated cheese and fresh thyme in the tart shell. Top with the egg mixture. Being careful not to spill, gently place the quiche in the oven.

Bake the quiche for 50 to 55 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the custard is set.

Let the quiche cool at room temperature for an hour. Push the base of the tart pan up to separate and remove the quiche from the rim. Serve the quiche with a fresh garden salad and a favorite Pinot Blanc or dry Riesling! Julia would approve!

Reine De Saba- Creamy Chocolate Almond Cake

Last summer, I had the good fortune to spend a week in Julia Child’s former summer house in Grasse, France. The experience has inspired me to recreate some of her favorite recipes. I learned to make this Reine De Saba cake in cooking school in San Francisco many years ago. This recipe adapts exceptionally well to gluten-free by substituting out the cake flour for a gluten-free mix—you won’t even taste the difference. The cake is intentionally baked to leave the middle slightly soft. You and your guests will delight in the creamy center, which is the best part!

One 9-inch cake; serves 6–8 

4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup brewed espresso (or very strong coffee)
4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cups sugar, divided
3 eggs, separated into yolks and egg whites
¼ tsp salt
½ cup roasted almonds, finely chopped
¼ tsp almond extract
½ cup cake flour (or gluten-free flour mixture)

2 oz semisweet chocolate
2 Tbsp rum or brandy
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
20 whole almonds, roasted
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a 9-inch cake pan with oil and line with parchment paper along the base and sides. Set aside.

Combine chocolate chips and espresso in a medium bowl and place over a pan with 2 inches of simmering water, creating a double boiler. Melt chocolate and combine well with the coffee. Remove from heat and let cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar (reserving 1 Tbsp for the egg whites) with a paddle attachment. The mixture will be light in texture and pale in color.

With the mixer running, add the egg yolks one at a time until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, with a hand mixer or whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until they’re frothy. Add the remaining Tbsp of sugar and continue whipping until you have medium-stiff peaks.

Remove the bowl of creamed butter from the stand mixer and add the cooled chocolate, salt, chopped almonds and almond extract. Mix to combine.

In 3 additions, alternately add the whipped egg whites and sift the flour over the surface. Between each addition, gently fold to combine well. Scoop the batter into the cake pan and use a spatula to smooth the surface for even baking.

Bake for 25 minutes. The cake will be slightly soft in the center but firm toward the perimeter.

Let cool for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a presentation plate and remove the parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate and rum in a medium bowl set over a pan filled with 2 inches of simmering water. Remove the chocolate-rum mix from the heat and add the softened butter. Using a hand-held mixer or whisk, incorporate the butter into the warm chocolate. When the frosting is slightly cool and spreadable, frost the top of the cake. Decorate with whole almonds and a dusting of powdered sugar.



Coq Au Vin with Garlic Bread

A traditional French dish of chicken cooked with red wine, onions, mushrooms and bacon. This recipe is inspired by the wonderful Julia Child, who made French cooking approachable and fun. In 1996, Julia Child invited Leslie to her kitchen to film an episode of Baking with Julia. She’d been in Seattle, visited Macrina, and loved it. Leslie cites that experience as one of the great memories of her life. This version of the traditional recipe uses our grilled Sour White brushed with garlic oil to soak up the sauce and add texture. Made with red wine, it’s a perfect winter meal. For a summer treat, lighten it up by using Riesling.

Serves 4
2½ to 3 lbs whole chicken (preferably naturally raised), cut into 8 pieces (halve each breast, thighs and legs)
¾ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper, ground
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut in ½-inch pieces
5 cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 yellow onion, cut in ½-inch wedges
3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
3 roma tomatoes, medium dice
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups medium-bodied red wine
2 cups chicken stock
3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1 Macrina Organic Sour White Loaf
¼ cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment and set aside.

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a large, oven-proof roasting pan (with a lid to use later), add 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add 4 pieces of chicken and sauté for 2 minutes per side. Remove the golden-brown chicken pieces, add the remaining chicken and follow the same procedure. Remove the chicken and reduce the heat slightly. Add the bacon and render its fat. When bacon is crisp, use a slotted spoon to remove it. Set aside with the chicken. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and carrots, and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add ¾ of the garlic and the tomatoes, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes to break down the tomatoes.

Return the chicken and bacon to the roasting pan. Add the red wine. Cook until the liquid is reduced by 25 percent, approximately 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover with the lid and place in the oven to roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken from the sauce and set aside.

Use a fork to combine the flour and 2 Tbsp butter in a small bowl. Bring the sauce to a boil, then whisk in the flour-butter mixture. Whisk slowly as the sauce thickens, about 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the sauce to warm through.

Cut the bread into ½-inch slices. In a small sauté pan, warm the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 Tbsp butter and the remaining chopped garlic over medium heat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to warm through and bring out the flavor of the garlic (don’t let the garlic brown). Brush the mix over the sliced bread. Place the bread slices on the prepared rimmed sheet pan and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown at the edges.

Serve in shallow bowls—add 2 pieces of chicken and a garlic bread slice to each dish. Divide the sauce and vegetables evenly and garnish with parsley. Enjoy with a full-bodied red wine to complement the rich sauce!

Pecan Sticky Buns

There may be no better breakfast pastry than these pillowy sticky buns made with a yeast dough enriched with butter, eggs and milk. Caramel and pecans blanket the top, and deep swirls of caramel and cinnamon sugar enliven every bite. Serve them warm and they’re irresistible.

Makes 6 sticky buns

¼ cup water, warm
8 Tbsp sugar, divided
1½ tsp dried yeast
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
½ cups whole milk
3¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature, cut into cubes

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup heavy cream

¾ cups brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1¼ cups roasted pecan pieces

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm water, 2 Tbsp sugar and yeast. Whisk until the yeast is dissolved. Let rest for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom.

Add the remaining sugar, vanilla, eggs, milk, flour and salt. Using a paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 3 minutes to bring the dough together. Switch to a dough hook, set speed to medium and add the cubes of butter one at a time. Mix for 10 minutes. The dough should be wet and sticky with good elasticity when stretched.

Pull the dough from the bowl and set on a floured work surface. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

In a medium saucepan set over low heat, add the butter, brown sugar and salt. As the butter melts, whisk the mixture into a sauce and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the orange zest, vanilla and heavy cream. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.

Brush a 9-inch cake pan with canola oil and line the base and sides with an 11-inch square piece of parchment paper (the corners will extend above the pan).

Pour ¼ cup of the Caramel Glaze into the base of the pan. Let cool to room temperature.

Add the pecan pieces to the remaining Caramel Glaze and set aside for later.

Set the proofed brioche dough on a floured work surface. Shape the dough into a 15-inch x 6-inch rectangle. Press on the flattened dough to release any trapped air bubbles. Sprinkle the dough with the Cinnamon Sugar to cover liberally. With the broad side of the rectangle facing you, roll the dough from the far side towards you creating a spiral. Gently roll it back and forth to achieve a consistent thickness. Rest the roll seam side down.

Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 6 equal pieces. Carefully place each roll cut side down onto the Caramel Glaze in the pan.

Let rise for 1 hour at room temperature. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place the cake pan on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills that bubble over) and place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown in color.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Loosen the buns from the pan by pulling on the extended parchment corners. If some areas stick, run a knife along the pan’s perimeter. Place a dinner plate face-down over the cake pan and invert. Gently lift the pan and remove the parchment. Keep the rolls inverted.

Warm the remaining Caramel Glaze with pecans and spoon it over the top of the rolls, allowing it to drizzle down the sides slightly. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Serve the sticky buns warm for breakfast, or if you’re feeling decadent, add some ice cream and turn them into a dessert!