Tag Archives: brioche

A brioche fit for the Kings

Monday is the Epiphany, the arrival of the Kings and the last of the Christmas festivities.  For the occasion, the tradition in France is to choose a king by way of eating a crown-shaped-cake where a little figure (in older times a bean) has been hidden. Whoever has the symbol is the king for the day!

Half of France eats a cake made of frangipane and half eats a brioche based one. Being from the South, I chose this year to go for the brioche version. It is a moist brioche, filled with lemon peel, candied fruits and flavoured with orange blossom water. You can decorated it with more crystallised fruit or ground up  sugar.

Crown for the Epiphany

Crown for the Epiphany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients list:

  • Fine flour (00), 300g
  • eggs, 4
  • Sugar, 75g
  • Bakers yeast, 1 tsp (or 15 gr of fresh yeast)
  • Butter, 150g
  • Orange blossom water, 2 capful
  • Milk, 100g
  • Candied peel and fruit, one cupful
  • one egg yolk

This is so easy to do in the Thermomix, I can’t resist to give you the step by step here but you can always make it in a bowl if you like!

Mix all the ingredients (but the egg yolk and candied fruit) in the Thermomix for 5 or 6 minutes on dough setting then empty the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film to raise for 1 hour.

Once the dough has raised, punch it back into shape by kneading air out of it. Mix the candied fruit into the dough and shape it into a crown. Use a silpat re-usable mat or a tray covered in oven proof paper. Decorate with crushed sugar and more fruit. Don’t forget to hide a “fève” or porcelaine figure in the cake and leave it to raise again for about one hour under a loose plastic bag – cling film would stick to the surface and ruin the look.

When it is risen, brush the top with a little yolk, decorate and bake at 160° for 25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven.

PS: I have to warn my readers it is pretty difficult to get good quality candied fruit in London, apart from lemon or orange peel and even that is hard to come by… I import mine from Provence where they produce the very best ones: Lilamand in Saint Remy de Provence or Maison Villaret in Nimes sell the “crème de la crème”: th variety is impressive, from apricots o chesnuts to wonderful melons. Though I have found good candied oranges or clementines in Italy too…  A good excuse for a bit of shopping abroad.

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These food-borne traditions are wonderful and  I am a sucker for all of them: I have to confess I do enjoy every one of them, from Christmas to Epiphany! I especially love sharing it all  with children around this time, especially the younger nephews and nieces for whom Christmas is still a new, fresh and magical time…

A beautiful wreath make for us by Peppermint Poppy alias Kenza

A beautiful wreath made for us by Peppermint Poppy alias Kenza

My brioche “all butter”

This is NOT a quick recipe: hence I offer it for the week-end…

…But if you have never eaten homemade brioche, I promise you are in for a treat. Every time I make it, I glow in “domestic goddess” pride because somehow my guests are more touched by that offer than that of any cake or pudding. The truth is, I only make it on very special occasions because it does take 24h and I do have a life, you know… But really, it is not complicated at all and time spent on their behalf is the best gift you can bestow on your friends. At least, it is the one gift I appreciate most of all. Somebody gives me some time, or spends time doing something for me, and I go all wobbly with gratitude!

Ingredients list:

  • Flour, 350g (light and fine such as 00 type)
  • Salt 1 tsp
  • Raising yeast, 1tsp (Dry quick yeast type is fine) or if using fresh yeast, 1 thistle
  • Milk, warm and whole, 60ml
  • Eggs, 3 beaten lightly
  • Soften butter, 175g
  • Sugar, 2 tbsp
  • 1      extra Yolk to brush on tops

Take note that the butter must be soft and the eggs very fresh.

Mix the yeast into the warm milk and then pour into the flour while turning. Add the beaten eggs and salt.

Beat the dough a few minutes with a wooden spoon.

Cream the sugar with the butter and mix into the dough.

Cover the bowl with cling-film and leave to rise for 1 or 2 hours.

Knead into the bowl for a few minutes and then leave again to rise for the night or a good few hours of the day.

On the day, prepare and oil the brioche, or muffins tray, or one single pan.

Take the sticky dough out onto a floured surface and knead vigorously. Add a little flour to prevent sticking to your hands but do work quickly and with floured cold hands so it does not have time to glue your fingers together! The dough must be light and elastic.

Shape a little ball and drop it in each pan and then a smaller one on top. Brush with the yolk.

Leave for ½ hour at least in the pans, in a warm place in the kitchen.

When it has pumped up a little, put into a warm oven for 10min at 230 then lower to 180 for another 15 minutes.

I serve those little brioche with foie gras as starters or with a “fricassée” of mushrooms. But they are also delicious with butter and jam, anytime of the day. For the photo, I put whipped cream and Morello cherry jam inside and this was particularly groovy…