Key Lime Brioche Buns with Coconut Glaze

Key Lime Brioche Buns with Coconut Glaze

Apparently, the guilt that motivated my last recipe has evaporated because I’m back with a whole whack of butter. Yes, these Key Lime Brioche Buns are not remotely repentant. What can I say? I have a short attention span, except when it comes to butter – it always seems to hold my attention. Also, it’s key lime season and when my nearest grocery store decides to stock up on the hot in-season produce, I have to buy it. I’m hoping my positive reinforcement won’t be lost on them.

Key Limes - Key Lime Brioche Buns with Coconut Glaze
Psst! You can order a print of this photo here.

Now, you may be wondering why I decided to take the (arguably) perfect cinnamon roll and, quite literally, tart it up. Well, I guess you can say I’m a rebel with a very zesty cause (I’m so sorry), which is to say, I’m hopelessly drawn to citrus desserts. Actually, I’m just hopelessly drawn to sour things. If I remember correctly, I stupidly revealed that I won a lemon eating contest at the tender age of fourteen. And now I’ve linked to it… What’s discretion like? Is it nice?

Key Lime Curd - Key Lime Brioche Buns with Coconut Glaze

When I decided to mess with the cinnamon roll, I knew it would be a contentious issue. Not only is the cinnamon bun much beloved, it also has countless variations that are constant sources of debate. This is particularly true when it comes to the dough. I know people who refuse to acknowledge a cinnamon bun unless it’s made with a biscuit dough. Others only recognize ones that are more pastry-like. I was raised on cinnamon buns made with residual whole wheat bread dough (my grandmother was very resourceful) and for the longest time I thought that was the very definition of a cinnamon bun – I believed all sorts of crazy things as a kid.

Key Lime Brioche Buns

In the end, I went with a brioche dough for these Key Lime Brioche Buns because that’s what I was craving. Plus, it’s buttery egg bread – it’s kind of hard to say no to. I’m happy I went with brioche because it has kicked my ass in the past and I was anxious to kick back. I knew that whatever dough I chose some people would be disenchanted with my choice. So, to those who are, I’m sorry. Can I interest you in some pavlova?

Key Lime Brioche Buns

In addition to borrowing from the beloved cinnamon bun, I also took inspiration from the always popular key lime pie. I always put coconut in my key lime pie, so it felt appropriate to top these buns with a coconut glaze. Naturally, I finished them off with a dusting of shredded coconut, key lime zest, and the vital graham cracker crumb. Essentially, they’re buns that eat like a pie. If this sounds dangerous to you, congratulations! You have a conscious. Now, tell it to shut up.

Key Lime Brioche Buns

Whatever your stance on cinnamon rolls or key lime pie, I think we can all agree these Key Lime Brioche Buns look downright evil. And I can tell you, they taste that way too. So, check your straight-laced-dessert ideals at the door and whip up a batch today!

Key Lime Brioche Buns with Coconut Glaze



Key Lime Brioche Buns

Yield: 10-12 Rolls


    Key Lime Curd
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 5 key limes
  • Juice of 12 key limes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • Brioche
  • 3/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream for brushing
  • Coconut Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 4 tablespoons 1% milk
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • Garnish
  • Shredded coconut
  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Zest of 1 key lime


    Key Lime Curd
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk eggs, sugar and zest together. The mixture should turn a pale yellow.
  2. Add the butter and the key lime juice and place over medium heat.
  3. Heat until the butter melts and the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and refrigerate until ready to use. At least 2 hours.
  4. Brioche
  5. Place sugar, salt, milk and yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir to combine. Leave the yeast mixture to sit for five minutes.
  6. Stir the eggs into the yeast mixture until just combined.
  7. Set the mixer to a low speed and slowly add the flour. Once all the flour is integrated, knead the dough using the dough hook for 10 minutes.
  8. Start adding the butter to the dough in tablespoon-sized increments. Once all the butter has been added, knead the dough for an additional ten minutes. The dough is ready when it begins to pull away from the bowl. The dough will be quite sticky.
  9. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead briefly by hand. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic warp and leave the dough to rise in a warm place. The dough should double in size. About 2 hours.
  10. To Assemble
  11. When the dough has risen, punch it down and place it on a flat well-floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into 15x11-inch rectangle.
  12. Pour the key lime curd on to the dough and spread evenly using a rubber spatula. Be sure to leave a bare 1-inch border.
  13. Roll the dough into a tight log. Pinch the edge into the log to form a seam. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before slicing.
  14. Slice the log into 10-12 even pieces. Place them in a well buttered baking dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and leave the rolls to rise for another 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  15. Using a pastry brush, brush the rolls with heavy cream.
  16. Bake the rolls at 375F for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  17. Coconut Glaze
  18. Place confectioner sugar, coconut extract and milk in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth. Pour the finished glaze over the hot rolls.
  19. Sprinkle the rolls with shredded coconut, graham cracker crumbs and key lime zest. Serve warm.
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  1. These key lime buns sound amazing, and I’m obsessed with the bright green color! Personally, I’ve trashed up the classic cinnamon roll more times than I can count on two hands and it never gets old. Forget the naysayers, we’re the ones who get to have all the fun with experimenting. 🙂

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