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Jun 1, 2011 05:48 AM

What are you baking these days? June 2011 [old]

Well, we had a busy baking month in May and some nice new discoveries along the way, thanks to all.

June is starting out HOT here in the NYC metro area, but I won't let that stop me, especially in view of souschef's new baking challenge, which we hope others will join in as well:

"The challenge, should you accept it, is to make a 'Brioche aux Fruits'.
As made by a former wonderful pastry shop here (the Swiss owner unfortunately died many years ago), it consisted of a brioche with the top knot cut off, the delicious contents of the brioche scooped out, and the brioche shell filled with pastry cream and fruit, then the top knot replaced.
There was a thin chocolate shell on the bottom (inside) to prevent the brioche from going soggy.
The terms of the challenge is that the brioche has to be made, not purchased, and it should be done by July 4th, 2011."

So, how about you, want to play along? Please do. Otherwise, what are you baking these days?

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    1. For us eastcoasters JUST beginning to feel the dog days of summer, baking means getting an earlier start! At 6am I fired up the ovens and baked fresh NJ strawberry bread; sixteen loaves. Banana and strawberry crumble now waiting to be sliced and enough strawberry/kiwi smoothies for the gals to get motivated.'s time to get crackin on the salads for lunch! Orzo with shrimp; grilled chicken and wild rice; fruit compote in coconut cups.

      Enjoy your day, CH's!

      5 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        Are you baking for the freezer, or an event? Care to share the strawberry bread recipe? Had some Phillips Farms NJ berries this weekend, and they were quite nice.

        1. re: buttertart

          Scaled down for one 9x5 loaf pan:

          1.5 cups sugar

          1 ¾ cups ap flour

          ½ tsp. salt

          1 tsp baking soda

          1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

          2 eggs

          2-3 ripe bananas, mashed

          1/3 cup buttermilk

          ½ cup grapeseed oil

          the seeds from one vanilla bean

          1/3 cup sliced fresh strawberries.

          Mix together dry ingredient list.

          Mix together wet ingredient list; add to dry

          Fold till incorporated and then fold in strawberries.

          Bake at 325 for an hour; hour 10

          (Neither, these days I am providing menu items for a handful of NJ catering companies and theaters per diem. This week, heavy rotation.)

          I was really pleased with the berries @ Battleview Orchards, Freehold.

          1. re: HillJ

            Thanks, HillJ! Must go berrying when visiting frineds in that neck of the woods.

              1. re: HillJ

                Can I use canola oil in place of grapeseed?

          2. OMG that brioche sounds outstanding, but this gal shall not be attempting it. My last foray into brioche was actually a chocolate babka, and the results were fully unworthwhile. I think I lack the touch. Basics, okay: but fine work? Not so much. So I commend anybody who gives this a shot.
            My foray today will be another polenta cake, with Meyer lemons. I made a cornbread the other night that was texturally cake. The crumb was exactly correct for it, as in, I've made polenta cakes proper and not enjoyed the texture as much. So now I need to play around some with flavorings and sugar proportions. And I will indeed report back.
            Thanks for the craving setup, by the way. I want one of those brioche for breakfast.

            29 Replies
            1. re: mamachef

              Made this according to the cornbread recipe again, subbing olive oil for vegetable oil and adding a T. of minced zest. Baked it in a 9" round. Delicious; texture and flavor were perfect. And because I switched out the oils, what WAS cornbread has now become Italian Lemon Polenta Cake. : )

              1. re: mamachef

                First post in this thread - I used to bake quite a bit, haven't in a while, want to get back to it (just in time for record high temp in NYC.) Started easy with blueberry buckle, recipe from Lee Bailey's Country Desserts - it's basically blueberry coffee cake with streusel topping. Can't mess it up.

                Oops - replied to a "wrong post" - sorry!

              2. re: mamachef

                Brioche in popover pan - this is as close as I have to the fluted brioche pan. I started the dough at 2:30 pm this afternoon; then we went out at 7 pm to a concert, the dough sat quietly in the refrigerator until 11 pm. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, baked for 10 minutes; reduce to 350 degrees, bake another ten minutes. Remove from mold, cool on rack.

                1. re: Cynsa


                  8-3/4 oz all-purpose flour (1-2/3 cups)

                  4 oz. unsalted room temperature butter, cut in 1/4-inch pieces

                  2 large eggs, at room temperature

                  1 Tablespoon of dry yeast

                  2 Tablespoons of bakers sugar (I used 2 oz.)

                  1/3 cup of warm milk

                  1/8 teaspoon of sea salt

                  1 egg yolk + sugar for Glaze

                  Crystal Sugar for topping

                  In stand mixer; mix flour with yeast; add warmed milk and stir together. Add sugar + salt. Add softened butter, one piece at a time, as each piece is incorporated into dough.

                  One at a time, add eggs - mixing well between each egg addition. Mix for 10 minutes or until dough is elastic and detaches easily from the sides of the bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place out of drafts for two hours. Mix for 10 minutes. Place in greased molds (I used a popover pan) and let rest for one hour ( I left the house and set this in the refrigerator for 4 hours).

                  1. re: Cynsa

                    That looks great, C. Thanks for posting the recipe; that's what I'm going to be using in my attempt.

                    1. re: souschef

                      I think I'll add an extra egg yolk to the dough; I'd like it eggier. To follow recipe, the dough will rise in the greased molds, brush tops with an egg yolk mixed with a dash of sugar, slash cross in top with scissors, sprinkle with crystal sugar and bake as directed.

                      I tasted the one I'd cut in half while still warm from the oven and loved the fluffy, delicate tender texture; now this morning, the other half is completely cooled, dense and less sweet, good with a difference.

                      What's next for Brioche aux Fruits? Ganache, Grand Marnier pastry cream, blackberries?

                      I'm reading other recipes here; chacun a son gout! Should I switch to French butter?




                      1. re: Cynsa

                        Very nice as always, Cynsa.
                        souschef's guiding star, ROSE Levy Beranbaum, says to use bread flour in brioche for maximum lightness. Just ordered up some King Arthur.

                        1. re: Cynsa

                          There's no ganache in the BAF. Certainly GM pastry cream and blackberries if you like. I do not recall the original having GM in the pastry cream, but I'm not a vanilla kind of person, so that's what I'm planning to use.

                          1. re: souschef

                            I might steep lavender in the cream if I don't have enough Grand Marnier. Is the chocolate just a 'shell' to seal the brioche from the pastry cream?

                              1. re: souschef

                                here's the breakfast version of BAF with warm Grand Marnier pastry cream, cold blueberries and Dark French Roast coffee.

                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                      Cynsa, I should advise you that despite its mouthwatering yumminess it does not meet the terms of the challenge as it is popover-sized, not a large brioche. Don't throw out any leftover pastry cream !

                                      1. re: souschef

                                        aha! ginormous gigantis brioche aux fruits - I'll bake in the Dutch Oven next and the popover pan goes back into storage.
                                        Leftover pastry cream goes into cream puffs. My dreams of the Grand Marnier souffle were dashed when my search for the box with the souffle dish failed - the egg whites are in the freezer.

                                        1. re: Cynsa

                                          souschef says needs to be in a grande brioche classique mold. :)

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                Buttertart, if you had met Cynsa, as I have, you would understand that you do not "Duke it out" with that gentle, charming just use gentle persuasian.

                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  I was trying to incite her to duke it out with you - not to duke it out with her myself. ;-)
                                                  I'm just happy to have an excuse to buy a real brioche pan!

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    such subtle arm-twisting while I'm waiting for buttertart to purchase her brioche pan first

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        Me too. I just realized that I lost my brioche pan when I moved a few years ago.

                                                        I was planning to use Cynsa's recipe, but as she has decided that she kneads to tweak it, I will instead use the old recipe that worked for me when I tried it before. It is a completely hand-driven process (no mixer involved). The picture in the book (a Time-Life Book) shows a process ("rompre") that RLB refers to as being used by the Bernachons.

                                                        Cynsa, you have to be the most prolific baker here, so I have no compunction about twisting your arm - remember that I'm the guy who threw you off the canelé boat :)

                                                        BTW I'm still waiting for the two of you to make the chocolate chestnut cake from the recipe that I posted.

                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                          Rompre - break down? In her Bernachon book or the Bread Bible?
                                                          How about reposting that chocolate cake recipe, I bet others would like to have a go at it too.

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            It's a folding/slapping down technique. Mentioned in TBB. BTW I did not see any mention in it about bread flour being the best for brioche.

                                                            Here's the permalink to the chocolate chestnut cake recipe; my wife prefers it to even the fig cake. I also posted a picture in the post immediately below the recipe. BTW it's not a challenge. It's easy to make but is terribly time-consuming.


                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                              Rompre is one of those swell words that sound like they mean. Thanks, souschef.

                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                            Best souffle I ever had was a Grand Marnier souffle, soooo good. One of these days I must make it. Souffles are not that difficult, although intimidating as all heck. Just like those popovers, I put it off and put it off, once baked I was amazed how easy.

                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                              You're a better baker than I am. The very first thing I tried to bake was a Grand Marnier soufflé since I like it so much. It took about half a dozen attempts before I got it right, but after that it was a piece of cake. SInce then I have made a variety of different ones - chocolate cheese, pear, etc.

                                              1. re: souschef

                                                Oh stop. You heard about what I did those scones. My neighbors have yet to say wth was I thinking. But I hear ya, I know about all those attempts, I don't give in too easy either. Wish it were cooler I am so hot, I don't want to go near the oven. Thanks for the vote of confidence though!

                        2. Giving myself the benefit of Pacific coast time, yesterday i made the New York Times recipe for rhubarb upside-down cake, and am very happy with the results. Also made it in a new springform pan, with no hexes on it! The recipe is arranged badly, I think. Some of the steps combine other operations and are confusing. However the result is delicious.

                          1. I've never made Brioche...I'll have to try it and then see if I can gussy it up more as the challenge calls for. Could be interesting. More likely, could be a disaster:)

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Carpe

                              Hmmm..come to think of it, I don't know if I've ever had brioche. Any ideas where I can get a good one in NYC? Would one bought at Fairway be an accurate representation?

                              1. re: Carpe

                                I'd vote for brioche from Silver Moon bakery (105 & b-way), but I'm a fan of everything they make.

                                1. re: Carpe

                                  There have been a few threads on buying brioche on the Manhattan board, but I almost never buy any baked goods so I can't vouch for any place in particular.
                                  This thread seems to be the most helpful (not all of the places discussed are on the UES):