Brioche at last!

February 11th, 2008 § 2 comments

Brioche is one of the things I miss from France. When you live abroad, there’s always things you miss about mom and dad’s home, the place where you grew up, the place where you lived and made your life for sometime or even for just a couple of months. Being a nostalgic and food addict at heart, I’ve got a pretty long list.  Brioche is on the top 10.

Aside from being typically french it’s also a family love story. My mum has always loved brioche, especially the one we call ‘brioche parisienne’, you know the one that has a cupcake-like bottom with a round head on top… But my mum doesn’t have the patience for pastry and definitely not for brioche. My father did.  My father was great at pastry, maybe it was the chemist in him: unlike my mum he would almost always cook from cookbooks, with a lot of patience and accuracy. His brioche was superb, airy, golden and buttery. It would fill the house with a wonderful smell that would get the most lazy ones out of bed on sundays.

I’ m kind of a lazy cook: I avoid recipes involving long raising and kneading time… So, since I left the family nest, brioche has turned into a sweet memory that I revive once in a while on my trips back to France. During the last christmas holidays, I finally gave it a try: I used a classic recipe out of my pastry bible, “Le Larousse des Desserts” from Pierre Herme with a little untraditionnal twist** to make the recipe more acceptable for the late morning person that I am… Although it was not my dad’s brioche parisienne, my mum took some twice, with some of that spicy apple compote I made for the occasion.

There’s definitely gonna be more sunday brioche around the house from now on!

brioche et compote épicée aux pommes
I saved you slice! … hurry before my friend Sophie lays her eyes on it!

French brioche (from: Le Larousse des Desserts)

serves 6 to 8 pers.
prep: 20 min. raising: 4hrs + 1hr. cook: 30 min

5 g fresh yeast*, 
190 g flour,
2 Tsp sugar (~20g)

1 tsp salt (~4g),
3 eggs,
150 g butter at room temperature
3 Tsp cold milk or 1 egg, beaten

Crumble the yeast in a large bowl. Add the flour, sugar and salt and mix well using a wooden spoon. Incorporate the eggs one by one until you get a smooth and elastic dough (being lazy, I use the kneaders from my handmixer). Cut the butter in small pieces and incorporate in several times to the dough (I love my handmixer, wish I had a kitchen aid though!) until the dough detaches from the bowl (although it will remain sticky, very sticky).  Lay the dough in a terrine, cover with a clean cloth and leave to rest for 3 hours (or until it doubles volume) in a warm place (~22/23 deg.C). Punch down the dough and leave to rest for one more hour (or until it doubles volume).  Once it has doubled volume again, punch down the dough.

Shape the brioche and lay it in a buttered and flour-dusted mold**. Leave to rest once again until it doubles volume (~1hr) while you pre-heat the oven at 200 deg. C. Brush the top with cold milk or a beaten egg. Bake for 10 min. at 200 deg. C. Lower the heat to 180 deg. C. and bake for 20 more min. Unmold the brioche while it is still slightly warm. You have deserved your breakfast!

Bon appétit!

*  It took me a while before I found where to find fresh yeast in my area. I guess you could also use active dry yeast. Follow then the package directions.
** I am no morning person and although I love brioche, there’s no way I’m gonna get up 4 to 5 hours before breakfast. I found  a trick though: I prepare the dough and  let it raise for the 1st 4hours whenever I have time ahead. After shaping my brioche in its mold, I  just freeze it  and forget it until my next crave for brioche. The evening before, I take out the brioche of the freezer, put it back in its mold and leave it to slowly thaw in the fridge overnight.  When I first emerge of my bed, I get it out of the fridge, set it in a warm place to double volume while I go back to bed. One hour later it is ready to bake.


Spicy apple compote
Compotée de pommes épicée

serves 6 to 8 pers.
prep: 10 min. cook: 20 min

1kg apples*, peeled and coarsely chopped, 
30g butter,
4 Tsp brown sugar,
zest and juice of half a lemon,
Spices to taste: vanilla, cinnamon, star anise seeds, green cardamon pods, pepper,…
A pinch of salt,
5cl calvados (optionnal)

Melt the butter in a large pan on high heat. Add the apples, sugar, spices and lemon zest. Toss well. Pour the calvados and lemon juice. After a couple of minutes lower the heat and leave to simmer uncovered (toss from time to time) for about 20 min or until the juices have reduced and the apples start to caramelize. Leave to cool. You can remove the seeds, zest and pods if you like, although I prefer to leave them in. This compote will keep for at least a week in the fridge and will be great with brioche but will also do miracles as a filling for sweet and savoury tartlets for apetizers or as a side dish to game or a pot roast. 

Bon appétit!

*  I like to use firm and juicy apples like Elstar for example, but really: anything you fancy will do.

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§ 2 Responses to Brioche at last!"

  • Miam miam.. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Sophie says:

    Effectivement, gare à ta brioche !!! elle a l’air succulente 😀

    A quand la recette des croissants et pains au chocolat ??? MIAM !

    dsl j’ai pas mal de retard (comme d’hab ;D) dans le suivie de ce qui se passe dans ta cuisine … y a l’air d’avoir aussi de bonnes soupes … mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm !!!!

    gros poutoux

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