Today my dad would have been 89. He died 2 years ago, January.
He loved his food and would drive to tim-buck-two and back just to get the best of the best. He loved the T-cakes at Martinos bakery, which also became a favorite of mine. A family party wasn’t complete with out these perfectly square, maple flavored cakes. When I was pregnant with Eli, I craved all the flavors from my childhood. I would be embarrassed to omit how many of these little yummy treats I ate while Eli lived inside of me. My dad also loved a good french bread (specifically, the heals of the bread-toasted), a perfect malt (actually, he made the best ones) and Sees peanut brittle . The list goes on and on.
However his favorite was a pecan sticky bun. Where ever we went or traveled to, my dad was always up for a good pecan/sticky bun. He loved the ones at the Nordstroms lunch room but his all time favorite were the ones at Louise’s Pantry in Palm Dessert (they have since moved). Growing up, we would go to Palm Springs at least once or twice a year and the weekend wasn’t complete without a trip to Louise’s. Most mornings, he would saunter in with the little white bakery bag. Regardless if you were hungry or not, the smell was so intoxicating that you couldn’t resist.
A few years ago, we were all together at The Four Seasons in Aviara. Pretty much anything at any Four Seasons is good, but the sticky bun won his heart. When I got home, I wrote them and asked for the recipe. Off course, they obliged. I made them for my dad and he gave them the thumbs up. Since then, I have ventured out and have made the ones from Cooks Illustrated (pure perfection) and in honor of my dad’s 89th birthday, I made the ones from The Modern Baker cookbook.
The gooey, caramel glob for this recipe has to be hands down the best one I have made thus far. However, I must have done something with the dough. It didn’t rise, in my opinion, to it’s full potential. I even gave it an extra hour of rising time. I have a feeling my yeast may have expired. That is the only reason I can come up with as to why these were not perfect. I am going to have to try them again, maybe when it is not so hot outside and the temperature is a little bit more mild. The kids liked them even though they were not as light as I would have liked for them to be. More importantly, they liked singing to Poppy and each one of them made a silent wish as they blew out the candle. I can guess what they wished for. I secretly wished for the same thing.