Brioche is fantastic on its own, but it is also a great "utility bread" for making all kinds of other dishes, both savory and sweet. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for you, I have a tremendous sweet tooth, so after having made brioche my mind immediately went to all of the dessert applications that such a rich bread could have.
This blog will demonstrate two desserts that can be made with brioche. Both are fruit related and relatively simple to make. If you only wish to make these desserts and not the bread, feel free to buy the bread from a store. You can also substitute any rich, egg-heavy bread for brioche if you wish.
Sortie I: Brioche Pear Tart
A pair of pared pears doesn't make this dessert healthy. Appearances can be deceiving. In fact, health is not a peartinent factor in either of these desserts. Pearmit yourself these simple indulgences, or pearish after living a flavorless life..
Prep time: ~25 minutes Adapted from Jacques Pépin's "Fast Food, My Way," episode 220. Serves 4
2 large pears* 4 slices of brioche ~3 tbsp of butter ~4 tbsp of sugar 4 tbsp honey salt 1/2 cup whipped cream
*This is if you are using muffin tins to make single-serve tarts. Use 1/2 pear per person. Try to find pears with the width slightly wider than your muffin tins themselves. You can also make a large tart with an oven-safe, non-stick pan. You will need 4 large pears or 5-6 medium-sized ones. If you do not have pears, apples and peaches can also work.
This is a quick and dirty dessert. First, take your pears out. Peel and core them. If you are making single-serve tarts, the best way is to cut them in half through the cross section. Core the pear and trim the top half so it is as spherical as the bottom half. That way, you can layer a single piece of fruit onto each "crust" made from brioche. If you are making a large tart, dice the pear into 1-inch slices. I know in my photos I diced my pears, but in retrospect that is not the best way to prepare the pears for single-serve tarts.
Place the pears into a non-stick pan (oven safe pan if you are making a large tart. The pan will hold the tart as it bakes in the oven). Add honey, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and a tablespoon of butter. Cook over medium heat, covered, for about 3-10 minutes depending on how ripe and soft your pears are. The crispier your pears, the longer you will need to cook them until they are tender.
Once the pears are tender (or almost tender), uncover and cook the pears down until they are golden and caramelized.
King Midas could do this instantly but you're gonna need a few minutes on the stove.
As the pears cook, slice your brioche if it isn't sliced yet. If you are making single serve tarts, cut circular shapes out of the brioche the size of the muffin tin tops. These circles will be the "crust" on which the fruit ultimately rests on. Otherwise, you will want to cut the brioche in such a way that you can lay pieces of it over your pan of fruit to form the crust.
Be careful not to stab yourself with the knife. Blood is not a required ingredient in this dessert.
Pre-heat your oven to 400F (~200C). Butter your brioche on one side and sprinkle some sugar over them. Spoon the pears into the muffin tin (or keep them in the pan) and place the brioche circles on top of the pears, with the buttered side facing UP. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the bread is toasted and caramelized on top.
A fairly easy dessert, right? Even if it's not as easy as your last night's dessert of six sugar packets poached from the nearest coffee shop.
Remove the muffin tin (or your pan) from the oven when the bread on top is crisp and a bit brown all over. Wait a few minutes for the tin to cool, then place a plate or pan over the tin and flip it over to unmold. If you kept your pears in halves, it should be easy to remove the slices from the tins.
Serve, lukewarm, topped with whipped cream.
Fattening? Not unless you feed it to other people. MUHAHAHAHA.
Sortie II: Summer Pudding (Proper)
I know I've made summer pudding before, but this time I will show you the "proper" summer pudding, which uses berries instead of tropical fruits. It is as easy to make as the other one.
You can use all kinds of berries, except for dingleberries. I would not recommend dingleberries.
Prep time: ~6-12 hours (mostly waiting)
~1 pound of assorted summer berries* 1/4 cup baking/castor's sugar (not powdered sugar, but finer than granulated sugar) 1/4 cup berry jam/jelly** Slices of brioche (3 per single-serve pudding)
You will also need: either some circular molds or spare mugs in which to keep the berries; some weights to sit on top of the puddings as they marinate; plastic wrap.
*The traditional mix is of red/black currants, raspberries, black berries, and strawberries. Depending on where you live, some of these berries may not be available for purchase. Use what you have. You can also use other berries, such as the blueberries that I have here. **The flavor of jam depends on which berries you are missing. Where I live I am unable to acquire currants, so I used red currant jelly. Try to use a jam of a single flavor and avoid "mixed berry" jams. You want the jam to make up for the flavor of the berry you do not have, so it should be a concentration of a single berry flavor.
Wash your berry mixture and set it aside. Slice your strawberries so that they are of similar size as the smaller berries.
It's a pudding, but it's British, so it's not really a pudding, but it's called a pudding, and so forth.
Over medium heat, measure out your sugar and jam. Cook until the jam has melted and add the berries. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the berries have released a bit of their juice, then take it off the heat. You do not want to fully cook the berries. The raspberries especially are prone to disintegration when cooked for too long. Let the berries cool.
That is one expensive pan of fruit. For the same amount of money you can probably feed an Ethiopian family of four for a week.
Cut your brioche into circles that will fit loosely into the mugs. You do not want the brioche to fit too snugly because that would make removal difficult. You can also try fitting the inside of the mugs with a layer of plastic foil so that you can remove the pudding more easily, although that presents its own challenges.
Once your fruit has cooled, separate the fruit from the juice in the pan. Dip both sides of each brioche circle into the juice. You do not need it to soak thoroughly, simply to get the surface of each bread circle wet. Place one layer of bread, one layer of fruit (around 1 inch or 2 cm deep), another layer of bread, fruit, then a final layer of bread, making sure to soak each layer of bread. Cover the final layer of bread with a little juice. Cover the bread with plastic wrap, then place a weight (a can of soda or a bottle filled with water will do nicely) on top of the pudding. Let the pudding sit for at least six hours in the refrigerator.
After completing your puddings, you should still have some juice and fruit left over. Save these for now. They will be useful when it is time to plate.
Bury the berries beneath the brioche bread.
After six hours (or however long you've managed to wait) has passed, you can plate and serve. If you layered your mug with plastic wrap, simply pull the pudding out gently and plop it upside down onto the plate. If not, place a plate over the mug, flip the mug over, and tap on the mug until the pudding drops down. Sometimes the top slice of brioche is still stuck in the mug. If this is the case, take a spoon and gently edge the brioche slice out by its edges. It should still remain intact. Top the pudding with more fruit and juice. Serve either as is, or with whipped cream or ice cream.
The fugitive berry made a run for it, but was shot in the back.
Thus ends this tale of two desserts. One warm, one cold. One French, the other British. Both ended up being devoured by ravenous gnashing teeth, to re-emerge as identically brown, very un-food like pastes which were flushed into the capable, well-maintained sewers of the city of Seattle. But that is another tale, which will most likely never be told. It is a reminder that although every meal begins differently, they all end in the same way.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. Until next time, make sure to eat enough fiber to stave off constipation. That shit is never fun. Like, literally.
Last edit: 2012-06-18 18:11:37
Logic is Overrated
zeehar Korea (South). June 17 2012 02:00. Posts 2477