3/4 cup (180 milliliters) whole milk, warm, divided
2-1/4 teaspoons (11 milliliters) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) sugar
1 cup (240 milliliters) butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon (3.75 milliliters) salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) vanilla
3 cups (710 milliliters) flour, plus more if needed, and more for rolling
2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) brown sugar
2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) water
1 cup (240 milliliters) pecans
3/4 cup (180 milliliters) butter, melted
3 teaspoons (15 milliliters) cinnamon
2/3 cup (160 milliliters) brown sugar
1/3 cup (80 milliliters) crushed candied pecans
3/4 cup (180 milliliters) whipping cream
1/2 cup (120 milliliters) brown sugar
1/2 cup (120 milliliters) crushed candied pecans
35% cream, for drizzling (optional)
Combine 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) milk with the yeast and sugar in a large bowl and let sit for ten minutes.
Whisk in the butter, salt, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the flour in increments, until a dough begins to form. Once the dough forms, knead for a few minutes, then return to bowl, cover, and let rise until double in size, about one hour.
Combine brown sugar and water in a bowl. Toast pecans in a saucepan over medium-heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Keep on the heat and pour water-sugar mixture over nuts in pan, stirring as you pour. Stir pecans constantly until they’re evenly coated and liquid has fully evaporated. Remove from heat and spread out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Once cool, place in a resealable plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin.
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
On a floured work surface, roll out dough into a large, thin sheet.
In a medium bowl, combine butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Take 1/3 cup (80 milliliers) of the butter-sugar mixture and spread evenly over the surface of the bread, then sprinkle the crushed candied pecans evenly over the surface of the bread. Starting at the short end closest to you, roll the bread up into a log, then cut the log lengthwise into even rounds.
Roll each round into the remaining butter-sugar mixture to coat. Place one roll upright in a greased 23 x 12.5 centimeter loaf pan against a short edge, then pull it tightly against one of the long sides of the pan – this will create a little space between the round and the other long side of the pan. Take another round and place it right beside the first round, but pulled snugly against the opposite long side of the pan, so that there’s a little space between it and that side of the pan. Continue placing the rolls this way, pulled tightly against opposing sides – this will cause the rolls to squish together tightly where they meet in the middle of the pan, eventually creating a woven look as you fill the pan with more and more rolls.
Once all the rolls are in the pan, whip cream until fluffy peaks form. Stir in the brown sugar until combined. Spread evenly over the top of the bread, letting it seep into any gaps. Place baking pan on a baking tray to catch drips from the topping that will spill out as the bread bakes. Put in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Once the bread is cool enough to handle, carefully transfer to a serving platter using a spatula and your hand, then sprinkle over top with crushed candied pecans. Individual portions, once pulled from the entire loaf, can also be drizzled with fresh cream.