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Maple walnut brioche, sans kitchenaid or wrist detachments.

July 14, 2011

I admit it, I have a bit of an obsession with brioche. Any cafe that serves it immediately gets my full attention. However, the only cafe whose brioche made me melt on the spot is Crafted Coffee Company, who served it instead of English muffin in an eggs benedict that changed my life. For reals. (EDIT: Oh, turns out it’s just an egg and spinach on toasted brioche with hollandaise. Close enough.) I still remember their hollandaise. Sigh. Anyway. This brioche comes damn close – it’s of the super soft and tender variety, which you can tear apart and it’s a bit like cotton candy.

Of course, with most French treats, brioche is a finicky beast. All recipes I’ve seen advise using a stand mixer, and until I made this by hand, I felt I had to have the aid of a machine. Well, you don’t. I made this by hand, and it is even still attached. Just squeeze and twist and knead in the bowl (don’t try kneading it on the bench!). EDIT: Or if you do, use this method. This dough ends up so soft and silky that it’s really not much of a chore, and the results are so worth it I’m a little worried about my butter collection, which won’t last long now that I’ve got this down pat. EDIT: I think the warmth of your hands really helps incorporate the butter too. It sticks like mad to your hands but if you just try to embrace that and then get it off at the very end you’ll be fine.

The last few weeks have been full of baking and cooking disappointments, so when I bit into this, my blogging brain heaved a sigh of relief. It’s a halo of joy in the misery of winter (my least favourite food season, and if it weren’t for citrus fruits being in season I would be in serious trouble).

For once, I’ve stepped outside the pages of Artisan Bread in 5 (where I get most of my bread recipes, including past brioche recipes) and tried Ina’s delicious looking brioche, as well as the brioche from The Ottolenghi Cookbook. Surprisingly, the latter was a bit of a disappointment – still delicious, and softer than the artisan bread in 5 recipe, but nowhere near the pillowy, tear-apart cloud of buttery bliss that Ina’s recipe produced. Ottolenghi’s brioche is a bit more cake like (although I used the same ratio of added gluten to flour). It probably also helps that Ina’s recipe uses substantially more butter. I feel a bit inappropriate making such a butter-decadent bread at a time when butter costs about $5 a block, but this is worth it.

While I made a loaf, I used a little chunk to make a brioche tart/pizza (whatever you want to call it). While I used maple and walnut I’ve seen others fill the dough with custard, then sit poached fruits on top once baked. Whatever you use, it’s a pretty and freakin delicious way to use brioche dough. I really like the maple walnut take though since the crunchiness works well with the softness of the dough. You can make it as bit or little as you like, hence below is simply a guide.

Maple walnut brioche

  • some brioche dough
  • enough walnuts to mostly cover the dough round
  • enough maple syrup, runny honey or golden syrup or light caramel to lightly coat
  • optional: eggwash (1 egg + 1 Tbs water, beaten)
  • optional: icing sugar for dusting
Once your brioche dough has been refrigerated, take out a piece and roll into a ball. Sprinkle a working surface with flour and roll out the ball of dough to about 5-7mm. Brush the edge with water and bring the edges in 1cm to form a border. Lightly flour a baking tray and place the dough circle on. Let rise somewhere warm (around 20+ degrees C) until puffed up to almost double the thickness. Preheat oven to 200C (400F)
Brush the border of the dough with eggwash, then stir with the maple syrup. Stir in walnuts to coat. Dimple with the dough with your finger (but do not pierce the dough). Spread sticky walnuts over the dough. Place in your preheated oven in the centre for about 10-15 mins until the edges of the brioche are deep golden brown. It may puff up a lot in the middle, but will fall back down upon cooling. Let cool before serving. Best served fresh. Reheat in oven briefly if eating the next day. Sieve over icing sugar before serving.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2011 10:34 pm

    I had sat down with a cuppa and a pain au chocolat as a toast to Bastille Day and feeling quite contented…until I read this post and looked at the photos of you walnut maple tart. DEEP BIG SIGH.

  2. July 14, 2011 10:36 pm

    S: Haha, as if you could be envious while you have pain au chocolat :P

  3. peasepudding permalink
    July 15, 2011 8:31 am

    I just love your brioche tart, what a great idea. I have some green tea sweet dough in the freezer, you have inspired me to pull it out and make something with it.

  4. July 15, 2011 8:14 pm

    What a neat idea a brioche tart! :-)

  5. July 17, 2011 1:41 pm

    That sounds heavenly…yum!

  6. July 17, 2011 9:50 pm

    P: Wow, green tea dough. Can’t wait to see what you whip up :)

    A: Can’t wait till summer to make a fruity one!

    M: The texture is probably the most heavenly thing about this particular dough. So silky soft, sigh.

  7. July 18, 2011 9:02 am

    Maple, walnut, brioche, oh my. It’s like ALL the good things in the world together at once. If anything’s going to make you feel good about cooking again, it’s this!

    Hooray for brioche solidarity – I love it and I don’t have a kitchenaid or anything either. There is a bit of kneading involved but to be honest I do love that process of making bread – I’d feel a bit removed if I were to put it in a mixer (although my arm muscles would disagree).

    Oh, and I know what you mean about butter – it’s just *got* to get cheaper soon.

  8. July 18, 2011 12:37 pm

    H: Hehe…yeah I figured I can’t go wrong with that combo. Also I should add a note, the dough is very sticky so it will stick like mad to your hands and it should be kneaded (or “squeezed and twisted”) in the bowl. I think the warmth of your hands also helps incorporate the butter better as well. It’s such a soft dough that it’s more my hand muscles I was worried about, but it ended up being ok.

  9. July 20, 2011 4:39 am

    That brioche looks gorgeous!

    • July 23, 2011 9:51 pm

      Thanks :) It looks even prettier cut open, but I was drooling too much to take a photo!

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