Vegan brioche dough made with aquafaba! These vegan sticky buns are deliciously decadent, packed full of pear, walnut and caramel!
The second instalment of my veganuary series is here with a bang! These vegan sticky buns are so good, I honestly think you would never tell they’re vegan.
The buttery brioche dough is light and soft. The caramel sauce is luscious and soaks gloriously into the buns. The chunks of pear and walnut give just the right amount of crunch, and the cinnamon sugar filling pairs beautifully.
Basically I could wax lyrical about these all day. But I’ll get to the making instead..!
Now, if you made my Pecan and Maple Sticky Brioche Buns (and if not, why not?!?) you will be familiar with the process here. I essentially veganised that recipe and added a new flavour. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE maple & pecan, but the world seems to be saturated with maple & pecan sticky buns and I think we can all use a new combination!
How do you make vegan brioche?
So first up, lets discuss veganising brioche. Considering its well known for its buttery and eggy content, this was definitely the first challenge! However, we are lucky to be surrounded by so many vegan substitutes nowadays that makes things alotttt easier. (I really do have to tip my hat to the vegan pioneers who figured out aquafaba though…like seriously!? Who would’ve thought!!)
Vegan butter I find works just aswell as dairy butter, so this was an easy like for like replacement.
Similarly I used plant milk (specifically soy milk!) in place of cows milk at the same quantities.
Then it came to the eggs. Eggs have a few roles in brioche;
To add fat – from the egg yolks
To add moisture – as eggs have a higher water content than butter
Finally, to colour – the proteins in eggs reacting with sugar in the dough, help the brioche to achieve that beautiful golden brown colour
Now as we’re turning this brioche dough into sticky buns, colouring isn’t all too important. But, aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) can provide the moisture that we need! It doesn’t have anywhere near the same fat content as eggs, but as the dough has such a high content of butter, the aquafaba can still stand in as a replacement.
In this recipe I used 45ml aquafaba per 1 large egg.
Lets get making!
Okay, so now we have all our vegan substitutes, making these sticky buns is actually really fun! But you do need to work methodically, so I’ve broken it down into stages:
- First up make the dough – and knead for 5 minutes until the dough has a smooth skin.
- Then add your vegan butter a tablespoon at a time. Its really important each piece of butter is completely incorporated before you add the next piece. Your dough will be super sticky, so keep flouring your work surface if you need to. A dough scraper comes in VERY handy here!
- Then you’re onto your final knead. You want to spend 10 minutes here, until your dough is smooth, pliable and no longer sticky. Then you can leave it to prove for at least an hour.
- Now the topping! The chopped walnuts and pear can be scattered into your baking dish, while you combine all topping ingredients into a saucepan. You only need to boil this for 3 minutes, and then it can be poured into your baking dish.
- Final prep step, is to mix your filling ingredients together and set aside.
Still with me?
- Once your dough has risen, you can roll it out into a large rectangle and spread over your filling. This bit is super satisfying to do!! Then you roll it up like a big swiss roll and cut into 12 pieces. These are placed on top of your caramel mixture, and left for the final prove.
- Finally its baking time!! Which is so close to eating time. You want to eat these when they’re still warm and the caramel is all drippy and ahh delicious!
One final tip I’ll leave you with is to definitely place a large baking sheet underneath your baking dish. My caramel bubbled up a little too excitedly and dripped down the sides of the dish and onto the bottom of my oven, which was superrrr fun to clean as I’m sure you can imagine!! So, cover yourself just in case and put an extra tray in!
How long do vegan sticky buns last?
Now I did extensive research on this, for the good of you my dear reader…! But seriously these buns are best fresh from the oven. After that they hold up well for 2-3 days, and I just pop them in the microwave for 45seconds to warm through and freshen up!
I really hope you like these buns, and it shows you that vegan baking can be delicious and decadent just like dairy baking!
On with the recipe!
Vegan Pear, Walnut & Caramel Sticky Brioche Buns
- 500 g plain flour
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 7 g easy bake instant yeast
- 125 ml plant milk I used soy
- 180 ml aquafaba
- 175 g vegan butter
- 150 g walnuts
- 115 g vegan butter
- 135 g soft dark brown sugar
- 180 ml plant milk I used soy
- 80 ml golden syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 conference pears
- 60 g vegan butter
- 100 g soft dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- For the dough: Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a large bowl and mix together with a silicone spatula until combined. Then make a well in the centre and pour in the milk and aquafaba. Mix with the spatula until a rough dough forms. Then, flour your work surface generously and removing the dough from the bowl, knead for 5 minutes until the dough has a smooth skin.
- Add the butter to the dough, one tablespoon at a time, kneading as you go so the butter is completely combined. You will need to re-flour your work surface a few times throughout, as the dough will be very sticky. (If you have a dough scraper, this will also help to manoeuvre the dough.) This process should take around 10 minutes.
- Once all the butter has been combined, continue kneading the dough for a further 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable and no longer sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough inside and cover with clingfilm. Leave this to prove for at least an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
- For the topping: When your dough has around 30 minutes left of proving time, begin making the topping. Roughly chop the walnuts and lay them in the base of a greased baking tin, around 26x30cm. Then peel, core and chop the pears into medium chunks and scatter them in the baking tin with the walnuts. Then in a medium saucepan combine the butter, sugar, milk, golden syrup and salt and place over a medium-high heat. Cook until the butter has melted, then turn up the heat and boil for 3 minutes stirring every now and then. Take off the heat, pour over the walnuts/pear and set aside.
- For the filling: In a small bowl, combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon until smooth and a thick paste. Then set aside.
- To assemble: Lightly flour your work surface, tip out the risen dough and knock back slightly, by folding in on it self a few times. Then using a rolling pin, roll out to a large rectangle approx. 30x45cm. Then using a palette knife or spoon, spread the filling evenly across the dough. Then roll up from the long side, so you get a spiral of dough with the filling inside. Slice off the edges if they're not exactly straight, then cut the roll into 12 pieces. Arrange these over the walnut/pear caramel topping, and leave to rise in a warm place for around 45 minutes. Your dough will have puffed up and spread once they are ready.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4 while the the buns are proving. Then bake for 25 minutes until golden and bubbling at the sides. Leave the buns to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, before inverting the tin onto a serving platter. Enjoy warm.