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  • Writer's pictureAmy Minichiello

Sticky Pecan, Carrot & Caramel Scrolls

I'm sitting in the passenger seat of Mum's 1985 Ford laser hatchback, my back sticky with sweat under my blue and white summer school dress, all four windows wound down to catch the breeze. The Summer's back then were endless days of hazy heat. Blinds were drawn to keep the house cool. The roads were so hot it would be a triumph to cross barefoot, which we inevitably did, because why not? I remember a blister or three as our reward for our childish foolishness.

But back to Mum's little hot box of a car which we affectionately called, "Herbie". She was a trooper who took us from A to B and everywhere in between for almost 15 years. The memories that this metallic blue hatchback was a part of were formative in many areas of my younger years. But it is perhaps the inevitable trip to the shops after numerous school days that flashed before my eyes as I pulled a tray of sticky sweet caramel fruit and nut scrolls from the oven.

These post-school shopping trips often resulted in one of two after-school snacks - cold cocktail frankfurts from Lucky's Deli, in which the processed meat was sucked from the crimson casings (the thought of which now makes me want to gag!) or the sweet, icing-clad coils of an apple scroll slowly unravelled, the insides still a little doughy but no less delicious to child me.

It was the latter that no doubt delivered nostalgia in buckets and spades as that very first snail shell coil from my very own homemade scroll was separated and enjoyed as I stood at the kitchen bench. The day I baked these was forecast to be 29c. My alarm woke me at 5:30 am and against the backdrop of darkness, before the heat swept in, I pulled the scrolls from the oven just after 10.

What followed was a bike ride to the local milk bar, and a serve of gravy and chips for my youngest, Vivvy. The heat prickled our skin. The road hazy with heat, and an early evening gathering with friends for a BBQ. Their backyard was full of squeals and laughter. Carefree children racing through sprinklers, bouncing on trampolines and letting sticky, sweet flavours from icy-cold Zooper Doopers run down their arms. I thought to myself then, that these moments would form the collection of memories that would make up their youthful summers, coiling around deep inside their minds just like the sticky, sweet scrolls of those summer days in Mum's '85 Ford laser did for me.


Sticky pecan, carrot & caramel scrolls

Makes 12

For the dough

250ml full cream milk

2 tsp dried yeast

1 tsp vanilla extract

500g bread flour

55g caster sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp Hot Cross Bun spice (I used Gewurzhaus) But you can just use 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, and 1 tsp ground ginger instead

2 eggs, at room temperature

100g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 extra eggs + 1 tbsp milk

For the filling

100g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

100g brown sugar

3 tsp Hot Cross Bun spice (again, if not available to you, substitute with 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground coriander)

150g diced dried fruit mix (I use The Spectacular dried fruit mix from Singing Magpie Produce but you can substitute with a mix of dried fruit of your choosing)

50g pecans, chopped

120g grated carrot

For the caramel sauce

150g unsalted butter

200g brown sugar

pinch of salt

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

125ml thickened cream

Gently warm the milk in a small saucepan until lukewarm. Remove from the heat and whisk in the yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and whisk again.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and spice to combine.

Add the eggs to the milk and whisk well to combine.

Either use your hands for this next step or let the free-standing mixer with the dough hook attachment do the heavy lifting for you. Pour in the milk mixture and knead for 8 minutes at a medium speed.

Add the cubes of butter one at a time, working them into the dough until it is soft and sticky. Place a lightly dampened tea towel over the top of the bowl and pop it in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. The time will vary depending on how hot or cold your kitchen is. If you need to help it along, the front seat of the car is a good one, or turn the oven on and let the dough rest on top of the stove.

Meanwhile, you can make the filling and caramel sauce.

For the filling, you will need a small bowl to mix the butter, sugar and spice until it is smooth and creamy. Stir through the fruits, nuts and grated carrot. set aside.

For the caramel sauce, you will need to melt the butter and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the Maple syrup, salt and cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside while you get your baking tin ready.

Line the base of a 30cm x 23cm (or thereabouts) high-sided tin with baking paper. Pour 3/4 of the caramel over the base.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down in the centre and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out into a rectangle that is roughly 40cm x 30cm and 1cm thick.

Spread the spiced butter filling over the top. I find using a spoon for the first part and then spreading out with my fingers is the easiest way to do this.

Starting with one of the longer sides, roll the dough up tightly to form a log with the seam facing down. Using a sharp serrated knife, I use my trusty bread knife, cut the roll into 12 equal even-sized pieces and place each one into the tin on top of the caramel sauce. Cover with a dampened clean tea towel and set aside in a warm spot for another 45-60 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 160c fan forced.

Whisk the extra egg and milk together then brush over the tops of the scrolls. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden and the centre feels cooked when pressed lightly.

Drizzle over the remaining caramel sauce and serve whilst still warm. The scrolls are best enjoyed on the day of baking, but they can be kept for 3 days in an airtight container. If you want to reheat them, simply wrap them in baking paper, then foil and heat for 5 minutes in a 160c oven, or until warmed to your liking. They are perfectly fine cold too.


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