• Serves: 12
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes +2 hours proving
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Medium

There are few things quite as wonderful as the smell of sweet dough baking in the oven for breakfast, particularly when half an hour later you can take out a tin of hot, steaming buns. Soft dough coiled around sticky, sugary filling; …these are irresistible and will make you want to pull the fragrant dough apart straight from the tin. Add toasted pecans, tangy orange zest and sticky orange curd into the equation, and you have a real reason to get up in the morning.

These are a lovely alternative to traditional cinnamon buns, which are usually filled with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Smothering enriched dough with a good shop-bought or homemade orange curd gives you instant delicious stickiness in the filling, while caramel-scented toasted pecans and orange zest make everything taste a little bit like Christmas. You don’’t have to use orange curd if you can’’t find it (though you could try making your own), –lemon, passionfruit, lime, ginger or raspberry curd would all be gorgeous in these buns (swap the orange zest for lemon if using lemon curd), so you can experiment according to what you have. You could vary the nuts too; –pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts would all be delicious. I actually think I prefer them to the cinnamon variety. The sharp citrus fruitiness of the curd brightens up the flavour and cuts through the sweet dough, plus it makes everything irresistibly sticky and moreish.

These are easier to make than they look. Just a bit of mixing and kneading to make the dough, leaving it to rise, then spreading it out and covering with the filling, before rolling into a sausage and slicing into swirls. These sit snugly together in a tin, rising once more to touch against each other, and then you bake the whole thing into a mass of doughy deliciousness. What’’s more, you can even make these the night before and give them their second rise in the fridge, meaning sweet buns for breakfast are only an hour or so away when you wake up. I like to drizzle these with a quick orange icing for extra flavour and sweetness, but you can devour them unadulterated from the tin.


here's what you'll need...

  • 1 sachet fast action dried yeast
  • 60ml lukewarm water
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 120ml milk
  • 85g butter, cut into cubes
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 400-500g plain or spelt flour
  • 200g orange or lemon curd (or experiment with other flavours!)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 100g pecan nuts, toasted in a dry pan

For the icing (optional):

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Icing sugar

pecan buns ingredients edited


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set oven temp: 200C/GAS mark 6

here's how it's done...

  • 1

    Mix the yeast with the water and sugar in a small bowl or jug and leave for 10 minutes until it becomes frothy. Meanwhile, put the milk, butter, sugar and salt into a small pan and heat until the butter just melts. Take off the heat, add the vanilla and allow to cool to room temperature (this is important: if it’’s too hot it will kill the yeast). When it is cool, add the yeast mixture and whisk in the eggs.

    Pecan Buns Step 1-2

  • 2

    Put the flour (start with 400g) in the bowl of an electric mixer or a large mixing bowl. Add the milk mixture and bring everything together until you have a smooth dough. You may need to add more flour. It should be moist but not too sticky. Knead using a dough hook or your hands for 5-10 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. Put back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size. Grease a 10-inch springform cake tin or baking tin and line with baking parchment.

    pecan buns step 3

  • 3

    When the dough has risen, knock the air out of it with your hands and roll it out on a floured worktop to a rectangle around 12 x 15 inches (with the longer side facing you). Using a spatula, spread the curd evenly over the dough (leave a ½ inch gap around the edges). Finely chop the pecans and scatter evenly over the curd, then sprinkle over the cinnamon and orange zest.

    Pecan Buns Step 5-6

  • 4

    Roll the dough up into a tight sausage shape, starting with the long side nearest you. Slice this widthways into 12 pieces using a sharp knife. Arrange the pieces in the cake tin or baking tin, leaving a ¾ inch gap between each to allow room for the second rise.

    pecan buns step 7

  • 5

    Leave the rolls in a warm place to rise for an hour, or put in the fridge overnight (take them out to warm up an hour or so before you want to bake them). When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan). Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove the buns to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

    For the icing, simply mix the orange juice and icing sugar together (start with around 2 tbsp orange juice to 6 tbsp icing sugar, and adjust the consistency accordingly) until you have a fairly runny, smooth icing, and drizzle this over the buns.

    pecan buns post image 1

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By Elly McCausland on 03.06.15

Guest Contributor

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