Stir dough togetherIn bowl of a stand mixer stir together water and yeast; let stand until foamy.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low, heat milk just until it begins to steam.
Add the 6 tablespoons cut-up butter and crème fraîche mixture into yeast mixture along with eggs and 1 1/2 cups of the flour.
Add the granulated sugar and the 1 tablespoon kosher salt.
Beat with the stand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl.
Mix until smoothGradually beat in remaining 3 cups flour with mixer for 3 to 4 minutes until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl and is only slightly sticky.
“Don’t be tempted to add more flour,” says Scott.
Let it rise.
Transfer dough to a bowl.
Cover surface of dough with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with softened butter, then cover bowl with second piece of plastic wrap.
Let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 90 minutes).
“Don’t rush it.
Slow rising creates better flavor,” says Scott.
Make sticky toppingWhile dough is rising, butter sides of a 3-quart rectangular glass baking dish.
In a medium bowl, stir together the 1/2 cup softened butter, the 1 cup brown sugar, honey, and pinch of salt until well combined.
Stir in the 3 tablespoons water.
Spread in panTransfer topping to pan and with a spatula distribute in an even layer.
Add nutsScatter pecan halves over butter-sugar mixture.
“Look for fresh pecans.
I prefer Georgia’s,” Scott says.
“Buy a pound and keep them in the freezer — it’s less expensive than buying a few ounces at a time.
I order my pecans from Pearson Farms.”
com) Roll out doughRemove the risen dough from bowl and gently roll it out on a very lightly floured surface, to an 18 x 15-inch rectangle.
Coat with butterSpread the 1/4 cup melted butter evenly over dough.
Prepare fillingIn a bowl combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, Ceylon cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
Sprinkle evenly on dough.
Ceylon cinnamon has a sweeter flavor, a softer texture, and lighter color.
It is available at penzeys.
Sprinkle nuts and datesDistribute the 1/2 cup chopped pecans and the dates over the dough.
“The dates aren’t traditional,” says Scott, “They’re a delicious surprise that echoes the flavor of the caramel on top.”
Form into a rollTightly roll the dough beginning at one long side, keeping the roll as uniform as possible.
Pinch the edges to seal the roll.
Cut into portionsUsing a serrated knife, trim off both ends.
Then cut the roll in 12 even slices.
“When you slice the rolls, use a gentle, smooth, sawing motion,” says Scott.
“It prevents tearing.”
Transfer rolls to baking dishArrange rolls in the baking dish, evenly spacing them in 4 rows of 3 each.
Then use your hands to gently press the rolls into the pecans.
“You want them to rise down and out, as well as up,” says Scott.
Let rise againCover dish loosely with buttered plastic wrap and let rolls rise until fully doubled (about 60 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375º F.
Uncover and bake the rolls about 40 minutes, rotating the dish once and tenting loosely with foil if rolls begin to brown too quickly (“which they probably will,” says Scott).
Rest and serveLet pecan rolls stand on rack for 5 minutes.
Invert onto serving platter.
If made ahead, reheat, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes in a 350º F oven or until warm.