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1. In bowl of a stand mixer stir together water and yeast; let stand until foamy. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low, heat just until it begins to steam. Add the 6 tablespoons cut up butter and creme fraiche. Stir just until melted. Cool. Stir milk-butter-creme fraiche mixture into yeast mixture along with eggs and 1-1/2 cups of the flour. Add the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Beat with the stand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Mix until smooth.
2. Gradually beat in the 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. Do not be tempted to add more flour, says Scott.
3. Transfer dough to a bowl. Cover surface of dough with plastic wrap that has been lightly coasted 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).
4. While dough is rising, butter the sides of a 3-qt. rectangular glass baking dish. In a medium bowl stir together 1/2 cup softened butter, the 1 cup brown sugar, honey and a pinch of salt until well combined. Stir in 3 tablespoons water. Transfer topping to pan with a spatula to distribute in an even layer. Scatter pecan halves over the butter-sugar mixture.
5. Remove the risen dough from bowl and gently roll out on a very lightly floured surface, to an 18x15-inch rectangle.
6. Spread the 1/4 cup melted butter evenly over dough. In a bowl combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt; sprinkle evenly on dough. Distribute the 1/2 cup chopped pecans and the dates over the dough. Tightly roll the dough beginning at one long side, keeping the roll as uniform as possible. Pinch the edges to seal. Using a serrated knife, trim both ends. Then cut the roll in 12 even slices. Arrange 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. Cover dish loosely with buttered plastic wrap and let rolls rise until fully doubled (about 60 minutes). Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Uncover rolls and bake about 40 minutes, rotating dish once and tenting loosely with foil if buns begin to brown too quickly. Let pecan rolls stand in dish on wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert onto serving platter. Serve warm. Makes 12 buns.