Overview

  • PREP: 60 MINS
  • COOK: Brioche (10-12 mins), Pastry Cream (15 mins), Assembly and Decoration (20 mins)
  • DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM
  • SERVES: 20 buns

Background

Here is my recipe for making Boozy Brioche Buns. These are my take on the classic Brioches Polonaises. Perfect for Sunday afternoon gatherings, or visiting family and friends. This recipe is one of my favourites for a delicious Winter indulgence. I love boozy soaked dried fruits and candied peel. The gorgeous rich Grand Marnier laden crème patisserie and candied peel that fills the inside of the brioche buns is an absolute indulgence. A gorgeous, mellow, rich hit. The buns are decorated with Italian meringue and toasted flaked almonds.

1. Brioche Dough

  • 500g Strong or Bread Flour
  • 10g Fine Salt
  • 15g Caster Sugar
  • 15g Fresh Yeast or 7.5g Dried Yeast
  • 75g Water
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 300g Unsalted Butter (at room temperature, diced up)

Place all of the ingredients, except the butter in a mixer bowl, and using the dough hook, mix on the lowest speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough comes together. Increase the speed for a further 4 minutes or so, until the dough comes away from the bowl.

Keeping the mixer going on medium speed, begin to add the butter. Take a couple of minutes to add the butter and then leave the dough to mix until it is glossy, smooth, and comes away from the machine bowl.

Take the dough off the mixer, shape it into a ball, and place it in a bowl, clingfilmed directly onto the surface (this prevents the dough forming a skin) and leave to rest in the fridge overnight.

You will need 20 buttered and flour dusted individual brioche moulds at 8cm diameter across the top, and 4cm diameter across the bottom. (If you divide the brioche in half, and then bake it in two batches you will only require 10 moulds).

Use 55-60g of dough for each mould. Form a ball and then roll it into an elongated egg shape. Narrow one end by pressing and rolling it with the edge of your hand. Place the larger round end into the mould. Dip your index finger in flour and use it to press the narrowed end of the dough into the centre of the mass, leaving a small head protruding in the middle.

Brush with egg wash and leave to rise for approximately 30 minutes. Bake them at 180 C for about 10 minutes and then demould them when they come out of the oven, and leave them on a wire rack to cool.

 

2. Crème Patisserie or Pastry Cream

The Crème Patisserie must be made the day before you cook the brioche. It needs plenty of time to chill fully after cooking.

  • 125g Milk
  • 125g Cream
  • 1 Vanilla Pod
  • 50g Icing Sugar
  • 37.5g Plain Flour
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 25g Butter

Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape the seeds out. Place the pod and the seeds into a saucepan with the milk and cream. Bring the pan to the boil and then remove it from the heat. Clingfilm over the top of the pan, and leave it to infuse for 30 minutes.

In a bowl place your yolks and eggs together, whisk them a little to break them up. Add the icing sugar and whisk it until it is fully incorporated.

Next add the flour and whisk again until this is fully mixed in and there are no lumps.

After 30 minutes has passed and the infusion is ready place your pan back on the heat and bring it to the boil.

Pour 1/3 of the liquid onto your egg mix and whisk it in until smooth. This is to warm the eggs, so that they don’t scramble when you add them into the hot liquid in the pan.

Now add the warmed egg mix into the saucepan of milk and cream, making sure to scrape all of the egg mix out. Whisking continuously, making sure the whisk is always touching the bottom of the pan, cook the mix out on a medium heat. In order to cook the starch in the flour out, the mix must boil. But this is a very high temperature for the eggs, so it is important to keep whisking all of the time.

Allow the mix to boil a little. Taste a tiny bit, to make sure it feels clean and smooth on your palette. If the starch is not cooked out it will feel tatty and unpleasant. In this case return the pan to the heat for a little while longer and test again.

Once cooked remove the pan from the heat and pass it through a sieve into a bowl.  Clingfilm over the cooling crème patisserie, directly onto the surface to prevent a skin forming and to avoid any build-up of steam underneath the clingfilm. When the crème pat has cooled to approx. 40-50 C use a hand blender to incorporate the butter. Alternatively, if you do not have a thermometer or a hand blender, wait a little while to allow the mix cool slightly and use a whisk to add the butter.

Place your mix straight into the fridge and leave to set up and get completely cold.

Toast 75g Almonds lightly in a 160g oven.

3. Soaked Fruits

Chose either Option 1 or Option 2.

Option 1

For this recipe my favourite thing to use is candied mixed peel – if you can; buy it whole and chop it up. This is very luxurious and the best way to get really top-quality candied peel. Shops like Cavistons in Glasthule sell it. Alternatively use the pre-diced mixed peel available in any supermarket. I like to add a sprinkling of chopped glacee cherries though the mix, this adds a nice bit of colour too. I add Grand Marnier, liberally. They are Boozy Buns after all!

  • 100g Diced Mixed Peel
  • 50g Glacee Cherries
  • 50g Water
  • 30g Sugar
  • 60g + Grand Marnier

OR

Option 2

Another option for the filling would be to use raisins, sultanas and mixed peel in equal proportions (50g of each) Soak them with earl grey tea, fresh orange juice and a very generous helping of brandy or dark rum.

  • 50g Raisins
  • 50g Sultanas
  • 80g of tea
  • 40g orange juice
  • 60g + booze

All soaking needs to be done the night before.

Mix your crème patisserie with a paddle attachment on a mixer until it is smooth.

Strain off your soaked fruit and mix them through the Crème Patisserie.

 

4. Italian Meringue

  • 82g Sugar
  • 30g Water
  • 60g Egg Whites

Put the water and sugar in a pan and bring to 121C. Whisk the whites so that they reach soft peak at the same time the sugar syrup is ready. Add the syrup to the whites and leave to whisk on a medium heat to cool.

Assembly

Once your buns have cooled and you are ready to begin filling them. Use a serrated knife to cut the tops off the buns and set them aside. Use a small serrated knife to carefully remove the insides. Leave about 1cm thick of the shell still intact (all round the sides and the base). Use the excess soaking liquid to brush the inside of the brioche shells, and the underside of the tops. Spoon the mixture into the brioche shells and replace the tops. Use a palette knife to spread the Italian meringue over the tops of the buns and sprinkle with your toasted almonds. Traditionally the buns are baked in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes at 170C, until the meringue is crisp, before it takes too much colour. Transfer the buns to a wire rack and leave to cool. I like to blow torch the tops gently, to achieve that colour! 

Happy baking! 

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