6tablespoonsmilk (whole or not, or water), (3 ounces)
1package active dry yeast , (.24 ounces) (or 1 package instant yeast, or 2 tablespoons fresh, cake yeast)
3/4cupcanned pumpkin or roasted squash puree (I used a lantern squash), (6 ounces)
6tablespoonsunsalted butter, melted and cooled to warm, (3 ounces)
a good grating of nutmeg (about 1/2 teaspoon)
2 1/2 - 3 1/2cupsbread flour, plus more for dusting, (or all-purpose)
1cupdark brown sugar (fresh and non-clumpy)
3tablespoonsunsalted butter, melted
1tablespoonmilk or whiskey (or dark rum or brandy)
3/4cuppowdered sugar, sifted
Make the dough:
In a small saucepan, warm the milk over a medium-low flame, until a bit warmer than body temperature, but not so hot that you can't hold a finger in the milk for 10 seconds (100-110ºF). Pour into a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over, and let sit to dissolve, 10-15 minutes. (If using instant or fresh cake yeast, skip the step of warming the milk and just whisk the yeast together with all the wet ingredients.) Whisk in the pumpkin, eggs, butter, sugar, salt and nutmeg to combine. Begin adding the flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until a soft, shaggy dough forms.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (a plastic scraper works brilliantly). Optionally cover the dough with the bowl and let rest for 15-20 minutes (this is called autolyse, and lets the dough get a head start smoothing itself out.) Knead the dough vigorously for 10 minutes, dusting your hands and the surface with just enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking. After 10 minutes, the dough should be smoother, only slightly tacky to the touch, and slightly springy.
Round the dough into a loose ball, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl (or containethat is 3x the size of the dough, turning it to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (or the liand let rise in a warm spot until doubled or tripled in size, about 2 - 4 hours.
Make the filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and cloves.
Scrape the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently press out the air. Roll the dough out into a long rectangle, about 25" long and 10" wide, dusting and flipping the dough occasionally to prevent it from sticking. Brush the entire surface of the dough with about half of the melted butter. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving 1/2" space at the top (long sidof dough. Press the mixture into the dough.
Beginning with a long end, slowly roll up the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam closed. Place the log seam-side down. Using a sharp, serrated knife, gently saw the log in half crosswise. Cut each half in half (quarters), then cut each quarter in half (eighthand slice each eighth in half (sixteenths). (For the most even buns, cut the skinny end pieces longer than the fat middle pieces.)
Brush a 9x9" square pan with half of the remaining melted butter. Place the buns in the pan 4 by Press down on the buns to flatten them out and squish them into each other. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap (or place in a large plastic baand let rise in a warm place until puffed and almost doubled in size, 1 - 2 hours.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF.
When the buns are fully risen, brush the tops with the remaining melted butter. Bake the buns until golden brown, 30-40 minutes.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze until smooth and pourable. Drizzle the hot buns with the glaze (you may not want to use it aland let them cool for at least 20 minutes before serving (the buns are still baking from residual heat.)
The buns are best within hours of being baked, but can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. (Or use leftovers to make killer bread pudding.)
All the butter in the dough makes this a slow-riser; it took about 4 hours for the initial rise and 2 hours for the second in my chilly apartment this morning. You have a couple of do-ahead options, though: you can make the dough up to a day or three ahead, and let it rise in the fridge overnight or longer (it probably won't rise much, so leave it a few hours of room-temperature time to double in bulk before working with it). You can also let the shaped buns rise in the fridge overnight (same here - let them double at room temp before baking them off).These buns are mildly spiced and closer in flavor to a classic cinnamon bun than pumpkin pie. I like them the way they are, but if you want more spice, try adding 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon allspice to the dough along with the nutmeg.If you want bigger buns (heh), roll the dough into a shorter, fatter rectangle, and cut the log into 9 pieces.Nutritional values are based on one of sixteen servings.