- PREP: 60 MINS
- COOK: 15-18 MINS
- DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM
- SERVES: 4
This is a recipe I was recommended to try out a few years ago, by a customer at The Firehouse Bakery in Delgany. Once I had baked it and, and made my own tweaks, it went straight onto the menu for Autumn, and Winter too. Always a popular choice, it is a delicious, light dough with a little crunch from the nibbed sugar on top, as well as the yummy sweetness of the butternut squash and cinnamon puree laced through. The brioche recipe I use here is much lower in butter than many brioche recipes. The dough is still very light, if slightly less rich. This helps to make the dough more easily workable and shaped (taking into account the moisture from the puree when it is spread onto the dough). Both the butternut puree, and the brioche dough need to be made the day before you plan to bake them.
1. Brioche Dough
- 250g Strong or Bread Flour
- 25g Caster Sugar
- 6g Salt
- 8g Fresh Yeast
- 120g Milk
- 1 Medium Egg
- 35g Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
Place the flour, sugar, salt, into a mixing bowl. Add the yeast and milk and mix on speed one with the hook attachment until combined. If the dough is dry, add a little extra milk, but only if required. The dough should be reasonably firm, not soft. Once combined, set your mixer on speed 2 and allow the gluten to develop while the hook works your dough. The dough will start to come away from the sides of the bowl. This will take approx. 7-8 minutes. You will know the gluten is developed enough, by doing the window pane test. Lightly flour your fingers and take a small piece of dough from the bowl. Gently, working the dough evenly with your fingers, stretch it until you can see light/ shadow through it. If it tears, your dough is not ready and will require another minute or two. Once ready, add your butter in two lots and mix until fully combined and smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and clingfilm to contact. Refrigerate overnight before progressing.
2. Butternut Squash and Cinnamon Puree
- 200g Butternut Squash (diced) or approx half of one butternut
- 70g Caster Sugar
- Zest of Half a Lemon
- 1 Vanilla Bean (split in half lengthways with the seeds scraped out. We will use both the bean and the seeds)
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
Using a rolling pin, break the cinnamon sticks into small pieces and place this, and the vanilla bean onto a square of muslin cloth. Tie with string to close securely. Place the diced butternut squash, cinnamon in muslin, vanilla seeds, lemon zest and sugar into a small saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the butternut. Bring to the boil, and then turn the heat down to a simmer until the butternut is soft. Remove the muslin bag. Reserve some of the liquid and puree until very smooth. You want to make a thick puree. Just add enough liquid to help the blender make it beautifully smooth. Place in a container, clingfilm to contact. Leave to cool a little and then refrigerate until required the following day.
3. Assembling and Shaping your Brioche Swirl
Remove the brioche dough from the fridge. Knock your dough back using your hand, and then working on a lightly floured surface roll the dough out so that it is approx. 3 mm thick. Use a side plate as a guide, and using a sharp knife cut 4 circles out of the dough. Place the four discs on parchment paper and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. Remove the butternut puree from the fridge. Line a large, flat baking tray with parchment paper.
Place one disc of the brioche dough in the centre of the baking tray, and spread a thin layer of puree over it. Repeat this with the next two discs of dough. Place the final disc on top. Using a chopping knife with a long blade, carefully, cut through all of the layers, ¾ of the way in towards the centre of the circle. Repeat this all of the way around the circle of brioche. It will look like the sun with lots of rays coming out of it when you are finished. Lightly flour your fingertips. One by one, take each ray of sunshine and twist it two times and then replace it on the tray. Be sure to always twist in the same direction. Allow each twist to curve around the next, keeping the circle nice and neat. When you are finished, place a piece of clingfilm over the top of the brioche swirl and leave at room temperature to prove. This will take 1 ½ – 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. You will know your dough is ready by pressing it gently with your finer, and it slowly springs back. If it feels firm and springs back very quickly – it needs longer to prove. If the dough collapses when you press it gently it is over proven.
Preheat your oven to 180 C fan.
When your brioche is ready, remove the clingfilm and brush with a little egg wash (1 egg yolk and a tiny drop of cream). Sprinkle on some nibbed sugar. Bake immediately once it is ready. It will take approx. 15- 18 minutes to cook.
4. Cinnamon Syrup
While the dough is in the oven, mix a bit of cinnamon syrup to glaze your brioche with when it comes out of the oven,
- 40g Caster Sugar
- 3g Cinnamon Powder
- 40g Water
Whisk the cinnamon powder into the caster sugar in a dry bowl. This will stop the cinnamon from clumping in the syrup. Boil your water and add the sugar cinnamon mix in, whisking thoroughly. When the brioche comes out of the oven while it is still hot, brush this syrup liberally over it. Then there is nothing left to do, but to tuck in, and enjoy your brioche. Tear and share away!