Posts Tagged ‘brioche’

Christina’s brother James is one of the nicest, most interesting people you’re ever likely to meet.

While we were chatting at Christina’s birthday party (themed 1970’s, so James was in a Luke Skywalker t-shirt and I was in a bright orange kaftan), he mentioned that he was planning to make blackberry jam for his wedding.  As a present. For every one of the sixty guests.

And James isn’t one to do things by half measures – first he was going to make pectin from scratch (using his dad’s homegrown apples), and then he was planning to spend a weekend blackberry picking to gather enough fruit for the jam.  His ever patient bride-to-be Suzanne just smiled as we discussed the intricacies of jar sizes and hot water processing.

A week or so later, Chris’ hubby Steve dropped around a jar of the  aforementioned blackberry jam.  I was both excited and somewhat surprised at  how quickly the whole plan had been put into action –  when James sets his mind to something, he clearly doesn’t procrastinate!

Serendipitously, the following day, Diana gave me frozen blackberries from her farm.  I couldn’t resist combining the two into a sweet weekend treat.

Inspired by the Blackcurrant Crown recipe in Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf, I made a version using our pain viennois dough (the step by step instructions are here), Di’s frozen blackberries, and James’ blackberry jam. It was an absolute treat – buttery, briochey and filled with oozing fruit.

  • 1 batch pain viennois dough
  • blackberry jam
  • 100g fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 100g brown sugar (I used rapadura sugar)

1.  Prepare the dough and allow it to rise in the mixing  bowl until doubled in size.  In the meantime, grease a 10 cup bundt pan well.

2. In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar and blackberries.

3. Turn the risen dough out onto an oiled bench and divide it into 18 x 50g pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball.

4.  Turn each ball seam-side up, and flatten it out.  Spoon a scant teaspoon of blackberry jam into the middle of the circle…

…and then gather the edges together to enclose the jam completely.

5. Layer the filled balls into the bundt pan, sprinkling with the blackberries and sugar as you go.  Don’t squash them in too tightly.

6. Once all the balls are layered into the pan, cover and allow to rise in a warm spot until puffed up (Dan’s recipe specifies letting the dough rise until doubled in size, but mine didn’t rise that much).  Preheat the oven to 200C with fan.

7. Bake the crown in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes at 200C with fan, then reduce the heat and bake for a further 20 – 30 minutes at 175C with fan.  The top of the crown went very brown in my oven, so I dropped the heat after 10 minutes.  Do keep an eye on this – particularly if you’re using a cast aluminium bundt pan as I was – as it can colour up very quickly.  I let mine cook an extra few minutes to dry up the berry juices.

Edit: Living Delilah made this recipe, and found that the brown sugar burnt during baking.  Do watch out for that and if your oven runs hot or you’re using cast aluminium, you might want to lower the starting temperature by 10 degrees or so, or reduce the initial baking time at the higher temp.

8. Rest the pan for five minutes before carefully turning it onto a plate (watch out for the hot syrup).  Serve the crown warm, with a hot cup of tea!

Click here for step by step instructions for the pain viennois dough.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

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I’m really taken with how versatile the braided dough recipe is!

It’s deliciously buttery, yet only has 40g of butter in the mix, making it a reasonable lower-fat substitute for brioche.  The overall preparation time is quite short – whereas regular brioche can take a full day or more to prepare, a batch of this dough started at 9am would easily be ready for lunch.  Best of all, it works brilliantly in a variety of different forms, making it great for shaping!

This morning I made a double batch of the dough, using 50:50 bakers flour to plain (AP) flour.  This was divided into one 500g and two 600g pieces.

The 500g dough was shaped into a linked chain loaf, following the step by step instructions at The Shiksa Blog.  It’s an easy loaf to make, and involves shaping five fat rolls into linked rings, and then joining the last ring to the first to form a closed circle.

. . . . .

One of the 600g pieces of dough was divided into six long thin rolls, then shaped into a Winston knot – a tricky woven design from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread book.  It was moderately successful in form, but I think I’ll need to try with a larger quantity of dough next time.  The crumb, though, was perfect.

. . . . .

The remaining 600g piece of dough was divided into eight balls, which were packed snugly against each other in a parchment lined loaf tin.  The end result was this gorgeous faux brioche, with its wonderfully tender texture.  Here are a couple of crumb shots to tempt you!

Edit: Today’s loaf: a simple six braid design baked in a loaf tin…

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