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The perfect Christmas gift for you or a loved one
Place the flour, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a mixing bowl, then rub in the pieces of butter until the mix has the texture of breadcrumbs. Tip in the yeast and eggs. Pour in the milk and mix well until you get a soft dough (you may need to add a little more milk). Knead in a mixer with a dough hook for 7 mins or by hand for about 15 mins until the dough is smooth, soft and springy. Tip into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film or a clean tea towel, then leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hr or until doubled in size.
Make the filling: place the cinnamon, sugar and pecans in a food processor, then whizz until the nuts are finely ground. Punch down the dough and knead to knock out the air, then split the dough in two. Roll and stretch each piece to form a 25 x 35cm rectangle.
Melt the butter for the topping. Brush half all over each rectangle, then sprinkle half the filling mixture over each. Use a rolling pin to press the filling into the dough. Tightly roll each rectangle up from one of the long ends to get a thick log, then pinch the ends together to seal. Cut each log into 8 pieces. Can be frozen for up to 1 month.
Brush two 20 x 30cm deep baking trays with melted butter. Mix the maple syrup and sugar into the remaining butter, then pour this over the bottom of each baking tray, swirling around so it is coated. Sprinkle with the pecans. Place the rolls on the tray, leaving a gap of at least 2cm around each roll. Cover with lightly oiled cling film, then keep in a warm place for about 30 mins until lightly risen.
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Remove the cling film from the tray, then bake for 30 mins until the buns are lightly browned and feel firm. Serve warm, sticky-side-up.