Pecan yeast “roses” cake is a perfect indulgence to end any festive meal, and lovely for Thanksgiving as a fresh take on pecan pie.
This isn’t a difficult recipe -- yeast dough is actually easy to work with. The only real challenge is mastering the patience. You’ll have to factor in the rising time the dough needs to fully develop.
The “roses” part of this cake’s name comes from the delicate shapes formed on the individual cakes.
For basic sweet yeast dough:
- 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour (I use King Arthur’s bread flour. All-purpose is fine too)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 2 yolks
- 1 envelope rapid-rise yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the pecan filling:
- 2 cups pecans, finely chopped (in the food processor or blender)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup milk
To make the dough:
If you happen to own a bread machine, put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and use the dough setting.
If kneading by hand: Put all the dough ingredients in a bowl, combine to make dough, and knead for about five minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic and not sticky at all. (Add a bit of extra flour or milk if you haven’t reached a really workable dough within five minutes, but that rarely happens with this recipe.)
Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and let sit for an hour and a half in a warm place, until the dough doubles its volume.
To make the filling:
Combine milk, sugar and butter in a small pot and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
Add the nuts, and continue stirring on low heat for a minute or two.
Remove from heat and let chill completely. (The filling may seem too watery for handling when warm. Don’t worry. Its consistency will improve as it cools down.)
Putting it all together:
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle, about 25 by 20 inches. Don’t be lazy! If you fail to roll it big enough the cake will have fewer leaves and too much dough between the nut layers. Rolling to a thin sheet is really important!
Spread the pecan filling on the dough and roll the dough.
Cut the roll crosswise into 2 inch pieces and place on a greased 10-inch spring pan, cut side up (will make 12-15 rolls).
Let rise again for about one hour.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake in the heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let chill on rack.
The cake can be cut to slices (my preference) or separated into its rolls by hand.
This cake pairs very nicely with apple sauce, fresh berries or more simply, a steaming cup of herbal tea.