The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pecan rolls

dmsnyder's picture

Pecan Roll

Cheese Pocket 

Both these pastries were made with the Babka Dough from Inside the Jewish Bakery by Stanley Ginsburg and Norman Berg.

My wife and I have fond memories of the Pecan Rolls from the long-closed Fantasia Bakery in San Francisco. Theirs were made with danish pastry and were coated with a sticky bun type glaze. The ones I made today were simpler and less sweet. After mixing and fermenting the dough, I divided it, wrapped it in plasti-crap and refrigerated it overnight. The next day, I rolled out a 16 oz portion, coated it with KAF Cinnamon Smear, sprinkled on toasted pecan pieces, rolled up the dough and divided it into 12 portions. These were placed in a buttered muffin tin, egg washed and proofed. Before baking, I put pecan halves on the tops and egg washed again. The rolls were not glazed after baking.

Pecan Rolls, proofing in a Brod & Taylor Proofing Box

Ready to bake

Baked and Cooling

Pecan Roll Crumb

When I was much younger, my favorite pastry from Karsh's Bakery was their Cheese Pockets. The ones I made today used the same dough as the Pecan Rolls and the Cheese Filling from ITJB. The dough was rolled out and divided into 4 inch squares. About 2 tablespoons of the cheese filling was put in the middle of each square, and the corners were folded in, overlapping to completely cover the filling. The seams were pinched closed. The pieces were egg washed before proofing and, again, after being sprinkled with slivered almonds before baking. A streusel topping would have been more traditional.

Thesse are not the same as Karsh's. The pastry is much more flavorful, and the cheese filling is smoother and richer. In my wife's words, a more "elegant" version. She liked the pastry more and the filling less. For me, it's still "a work in progress." Meanwhile, I will certainly enjoy eating this iteration.

Cheese Pockets

A Sampler


Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture

Thanksgiving day 2010

Rotisserie barbecued turkey (okay, so it's not bread)

Glenn (on the left) meets turkey (on the right). 

Day after Thanksgiving breakfast

San Joaquin Sourdough Baguette

Cinnamon rolls & Pecan rolls (made in muffin tins using NY Baker's Babka dough)

Cinnamon rolls, for kids who don't eat nuts

Pecan rolls, for the rest of us

Glenn makes challah

He's on a roll!

You should have seen the one that got away!

Here's the proof

Ready to bake


Challah c rumb

The challah made fantastic turkey sandwiches!

And, for dessert, the much anticipated Apple Crostada, inspired by trailrunner!

Apple Crostada!

Delicious! It had the flakiest, best tasting crust ever!

For better or worse, as I was enjoying a second slice while mentally reviewing the recipe, I realized a stick of butter actually is 8 tablespoons, not 4 tablespoons. That means I used 9 tablespoons of butter rather than the 5 T Caroline's recipe specified. No wonder the crust was so flakey!


dmsnyder's picture


These rolls are a riff off the test recipe called "Seven Sisters" from Norm Berg and Stan Ginzburg's much-anticipated New York Jewish bakery history/cookbook. I cannot divulge the whole recipe, but I think it's okay to say those are basically cinnamon rolls made with babka dough and baked in a cluster.

After eating some (I'm not telling how many.) of the Seven Sisters, my wife made a number of suggestions: 

1. Make them again!

2. Make them less sweet.

3. I like them more nutty. (That's why she sticks with me. It's not 'cause I'm so sweet.)

4. Make the rolls separated. The browned outside is the best.

Made up, egg washed and ready for the final proof

I had found that, at least in my oven, the rolls' tops browned too quickly, while the sides were still quite pale. So, in addition to complying with request #4, I also baked them at 25ºF cooler than the Seven Sisters.

I used the same filling, except I used over twice as much pecans. I borrowed a trick from SusanFNP and left half the pecans in large pieces and finely chopped the other half.

Just out of the oven. Ready to rack and glaze.

In compliance with request #2, I glazed the rolls much more sparingly after baking. In fact, I left two un-glazed, as specified by Version 1.1 of the above fix list.

I think both versions - "Seven Sisters" and "Eight Distant Cousins" - are pretty darn good. My wife loved the less sweet and more nutty version, even with the glaze.




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