Lord knows, there’s enough trouble to get into around Christmas time. We just got a package in the mail  from my cousin Jackie loaded with toffee, honey cake, chocolates and coconut bars. Then there was the orange cake from Bobbie Cox. And I felt a pressing need yesterday to make a blackberry pie. I would show you pictures of all this stuff but it would just make you jealous.

Which is why I dreaded the four words Mark said to me this morning.  ” Let’s go to Merridee’s.”

Merridee’s is a bakery/restaurant in historic downtown Franklin. It is loaded with pitfalls. There are the ham and cheese yeast bread braids. There are the omelets loaded with cheese and bacon.

There are Christmas breads, packed with butter and doused liberally with icing. I stood in line behind what must have been a 300-pound man with six of  those Christmas breads.

But the killer, the thing that we cannot resist and for which there is no better rendition of in the South are Merridee’s pecan rolls. There they are. They are about the size of a baseball. They are yeasty buttery goodness, slathered with glaze and crowned with chopped pecans. And they are even better if you add a nice smear of butter to them. Oh, Lord.

Back when Mark and I had a wait problem, in that we couldn’t wait to get to Merridee’s for those rolls, we would each get one and something else, too, like biscuits and gravy. Well, let me tell you we packed on the pounds. These days we try hard to stifle our intense urge to bite into one of those heavenly rolls and force ourselves to go to the bagel place instead.

I am not a baker and I won’t ever make those rolls, but I do have a substitute that is just as sinful and easy to make. It’s the ubiquitous Pecan Pull Aparts. You can Google these and find a dozen different versions. Here’s the recipe I like the best.

Pecan Pull Aparts

1 (12- to 16-ounce) package frozen Parker House rolls

1 (3.4-ounce) package butterscotch instant pudding mix

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 stick butter, melted

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ cup pecan pieces

Put half of the frozen Parker House rolls in a greased bundt pan. Top with ½ of the butterscotch pudding mix, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon,   ¼ stick melted butter and ¼ cup pecan pieces. Make another layer using the other half of the rolls and top with the same ingredients

Cover the bundt pan with greased foil and let it sit on the counter overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the uncovered pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

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