Every time blood orange season rolls around, I can’t resist the urge to use it in everything I make. So I end up with a kitchen that looks like a crime scene and you end up with recipes for things like fruit parfaits, blood orangecello, a quinoa salad, ricotta coffee cake, a dutch baby, and, of course, donuts (hopefully the thought of donuts will distract you from these sad pre-DSLR pictures). This season my heart has been stolen by a whole new recipe- blood orange and pistachio sticky buns. I knew as soon as I wanted to bath in the blood orange caramel sauce that I was a goner. I mean the sauce…..I was ready to throw the rest of the day’s schedule out the window, toss my hair up, and throw back the entire pan of divinely delicious sauce. “But wait….there’s more”, I joyfully remembered. Somehow I managed to finish making these without consuming all of the sauce (and filling…..and dough…). My reward for controlling myself? A sticky bun to trump all sticky buns. These are no-knead, no-yeast, moist, gooey, and totally, decadently, insanely, melt-your-heart and fall-in-love good. I sense the perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast in your future.
BLOOD ORANGE AND PISTACHIO STICKY BUNS
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest + juice of a blood orange
1 cup buttermilk (You can also use 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pistachios
Zest of 1 blood orange
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt (eliminate this if using salted butter)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cream
Zest + juice of 2 blood oranges
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup pistachios
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat, melt the 1/2 cup of butter for the sauce. Add in the sugar and salt and stir to melt. Continue cooking until the mixture begins to bubble and boil, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add in the remaining cream, juice, zest, and vanilla. Allow to boil for about 5-7 more minutes. The sauce should be a nice dark amber color with a hint of pink (very slight hint) and should have thickened slightly (but it won't be thick, thick).
Once the sauce has finished cooking, pour 1 1/4 cups of it on the bottom of a 11"x7" glass baking dish. Sprinkle on the 1/4 cup of pistachios and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix for 30 seconds. Heat the buttermilk until it is lukewarm, then add that, along with the zest and juice of 1 orange, the vanilla, and the 1/4 cup melted butter, to the flour mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined. The dough will be super sticky. Use floured hands and a spatula to remove the dough from the bowl to a floured counter or surface. Roll the dough out to about a 11"x16" rectangle (no need to measure, it doesn't have to be exact).
Brush the surface with the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Evenly sprinkle on the salt, nutmeg, brown sugar, 1/2 cup of pistachios, and orange zest.
Gently roll the dough longwise. Mark off approximately every inch, then use a serrated knife to cut the buns. Pack them tightly into the pan and brush with any remaining melted butter (don't worry if you don't have any, it's just a way to use it up if you do).
Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes. You DO NOT want to over-bake them or they will be dry (I'd even say to undertake them for a couple minutes)!
Allow the rolls to cool slightly and drizzle with the remaining sauce, a pinch of salt and extra pistachios, if desired. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days (please note that they will get drier with each day that passes).
You can use regular oranges in place of the blood oranges and pecans or walnuts in place of the pistachios.
The rolls taste better if they are reheated, so I typically toss one in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds