You may know how to make cinnamon rolls, but these sticky buns put a tropical twist on the comforting pastries. In this recipe from Pineapple and Pearls in D.C., soft brioche is filled with pineapple butter before getting drizzled in pineapple icing and sprinkled with pearl sugar. It’s the perfect combo of sweet and tangy.
This recipe has some downtime, so patience is key. Letting the dough proof overnight in the fridge before baking is crucial for fluffy pineapple rolls. As for the sponge, fermenting part of the dough adds complexity to the flavor of the finished brioche rolls (the same concept as sourdough bread).
To learn more about D.C.'s food scene, read “Rule of Shaw.”
Recipe adapted from Pineapple and Pearls, Washington, D.C.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour, plus proofing, chilling and cooling time
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, plus proofing, chilling and cooling time
For the Sponge:
¾ cup bread flour
½ cup milk, heated to 115º
1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
For the Dough:
2¼ cups bread flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
For the Pineapple Butter:
3 cups (14 ounces) diced pineapple
1 tablespoon whole green cardamom pods, crushed
½ vanilla bean, scraped
Cheesecloth and butcher’s twine, for a sachet
⅔ cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the Pineapple Icing and Garnish:
6 tablespoons pineapple juice
3¾ cups (1 pound) confectioners’ sugar
½ cup pearl sugar
1. Make the sponge: In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the sponge ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm place until it doubles in size, 3 hours.
2. Mix the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the sponge, flour, sugar, salt and eggs. Mix on low speed for 4 minutes. Turn the speed up to medium and knead until the dough pulls away from the bowl and starts to form a ring around the sides. Add half of the butter and mix until fully combined. Add the other half and mix until fully incorporated into the dough. Place the dough on a greased, parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
3. Meanwhile, make the pineapple butter: In a blender, purée the pineapple until smooth and transfer to a medium saucepan. In a small square of cheesecloth, place the crushed green cardamom pods and scraped vanilla beans, and tie together with the butcher’s twine. Add the sachet with the sugar and butter to the saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer and cook, stirring constantly until reduced to 1 cup, 10 minutes. Let cool completely, then store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
4. On a floured surface, shape the chilled brioche into a rectangular block. Roll the dough into a 14-inch square, ½ inch thick. Evenly spread the pineapple butter across the dough all the way to the edges. Working from the bottom, roll the dough tightly into a log. Place in the refrigerator until firm enough to cleanly slice, 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 350º. Slice the log into 1½-inch slices and place the slices, cut-sides up, in a parchment-lined 9-inch round cake pan. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and proof in a warm place until the buns have filled the pan, 1½ to 2 hours.
6. Meanwhile, make the pineapple icing: Whisk the pineapple juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, then set aside.
7. Bake the buns, rotating halfway through, until the entire pan is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let the buns sit until the pan is cool to the touch.
8. Run an offset spatula around the edge of the pan and in between each of the buns. Carefully remove the buns and place on a cooling rack. Drizzle the icing over the buns and sprinkle with the pearl sugar, then serve.
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