Today, one of the most realistic and grounded mother’s I know and love came over for a tutorial on brioche. I had previously explained to her what a magical pastry this stuff was and that it’s the gateway to a million fabulous desserts/breakfast items. She was intrigued because for a fellow mom, she happens to be extremely cultured and is fascinated by food in the very same way I happen to be. And so it commenced, the creation of these extremely wonderful almond brioche, all while screaming at our children and laughing at some of the ridiculous things we both say on a regular basis. It’s afternoons like these that I cherish, making food, eating food, talking over coffee. And they make me feel normal, in a world that sometimes feels chaotic. Thank you Mrs. Maureen for listening to me complain about being a mom, for listening to my obnoxious views on food and for never judging me when I tell you that I secretly sometimes want to throw my shoes at my children. (in or around their faces) These little guys (the brioche) were delightful. They a take a long time but the pay off is worth it. Oh it is my friends.
ALMOND FILLED BRIOCHE
Basic Brioche Recipe
4.5 cups all-purpose flour
31/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
2 3/4 sticks of room temp. unsalted butter, sliced into small pieces
For the filling
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
For the top of the brioche
2 eggs, beaten well, for egg wash
2 cups slivered almonds to place on top of your egg wash
For the brioche: Place the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, cold water and eggs in a large bowl, place under your mixer. A mixer is a must for this recipe, there is no way around it. Place on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients come together, the dough will look shaggy at this point. Make sure all of your wet ingredients are incorporated into your dry ingredients, scrape if necessary and then continue to beat another 3-4 minutes. Again, the dough will continue to look dry and shaggy. While still on low speed, add the butter a little bit at a time, once the butter is all added, turn your mixer up to medium-high and beat for 10-15 minutes. It will take a bit but your dough will come together, looking silky and beautiful. When the dough starts to “clean the sides” grabbing all it’s bits and pieces and makes a slapping noise against the side, you know it’s done. It should come out of the bowl fairly easily. Place dough in an air tight container and put in the fridge for at least six hours, or up to overnight. Once your long 6 hours have passed, remove from fridge, liberally dust your counter top with flour and roll the dough out to about 1/2″ thickness. Try to roll the dough into a sort of rectangle shape, trimming the sides with a bench scrapper (or a knife). Now cut out large triangles, about 7-8 inches long, they don’t have to be perfect, as you are just going to roll them and cover them with almonds. Fill each triangle with about 4 tablespoons of filling (see below), making sure to spread it fairly evenly over the span of the triangle, again, doesn’t have to be perfect. Roll up the brioche, starting from the long side (not the point), then connect the two ends of the triangle to give it that typical croissant look, folding them under one another to keep in place. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, repeat until all your triangles are filled and allow to proof in a warm area for an additional 2-3 hours or until fluffy and soft in appearance. Once the 2-3 hours have passed, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, beat your eggs for the egg wash, brush onto each brioche and cover liberally with almond slivers. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve while still warm.
For the filling: Simply throw all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until everything comes together. The almond past will be very thick and kind of difficult to spread, so I usually just form it into flat pieces and place it in the middle of my triangles, doing the best I can to evenly disperse it. The key is to get a little in every bite. If you don’t have blanched almonds and don’t want to blanch almonds, who cares, just use them as is, tastes the same.
Happy baking everyone!