This is The Little Girl's latest project:
Hello people of the Earth and beyond! The Daughter has returned (trumpets play victoriously in the background).
Today, I've made Brioche Au Chocolat. While labor intensive and difficult to make (well, at least for me), this little pastry is absolutely, positively delicious. The rich pastry cream and smooth chocolate filling make me feel as if I have gone to Heaven and come back down. As it says in Flour, "...you've got an out-of-this-world indulgence."
This uses only ½ of the dough, and you wonder what to do with other half? You can bake it up into a loaf, freeze it for later use, or make the coming-soon-to-blog chocolate marzipan coffeecake. YUM!
Spreading pastry cream and sprinkling chocolate
Devouring the deliciousness
from flour by Joanne Chang
(Do not halve the recipe for the brioche, or the dough hook will not have anything to grab onto.)
2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2¼ cups bread flour
3¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
⅓ cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
½ cup cold water
1 cup plus 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces
In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and 5 of the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minuted, or until all of the ingredients have come together. Stop the mixer as needed to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.
On low speed, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Then, continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all of the butter to be mixed thoroughly into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.
Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat for another 15 minutes, or until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually it will turn smooth and silky. Then turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl.
Test the dough by pulling at it: it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a better than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in one piece.
Place the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough Let the dough proof in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. At this point, you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup sugar
¼ vanilla bean, split, or ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter
Fill a medium saucepan with 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Set a bowl over the top, but make sure that the bottom of the bowl does not tough the water. (Remove the bowl and use it for the egg yolk mixture.)
In a sperate saucepan, stir together the milk, half of the sugar, and the vanilla seeds and pod and heat to scalding, or until the milk is steaming and tiny bubbles are forming on the edges. Do not boil. If using vanilla extract, add it at the end of the recipe after the butter.
In the reserved bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining half of the sugar until pale yellow. Whisk in the cornstarch. Little by little, whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture.
Place the bowl in the top of the double boiler, over simmering not boiling, water. Cook, constantly whisking, until thick, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract, if using. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the surface of the custard (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Whisk until smooth before using.
Brioche Au Chocolat
from flour by Joanne Chang
½ recipe Basic Brioche dough
1 recipe Pastry Cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped, or bittersweet chocolate chips (just under ⅔ cup)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 20 by 10 inches and ¼ inch thick. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a long side is facing you. Spread the pastry cream evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle the chocolate evenly over the bottom half (a 20-by-5-inch section) of the rectangle. Fold the top half of the rectangle completely of the the bottom half, then press down gently so the halves are smooshed together.
Use a bench scraper or a chef's knife to cut the filled dough into 10 pieces, each about 2 inches wide; each piece will be about 2 by 5 inches. (At this point, the unbaked pastries can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed.)
Carefully transfer the brioche to the prepared baking sheet. Cover the pastries lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to proof for about 2 hours, or until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft.
Position a rack in the center of the over, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg until blended. Gently brush the tops of the pastries with the beaten egg.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. The pastries tend to bake into one another in the oven, so break apart into 10 pieces.
The pastries are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, and then warmed in a 300-degree-F oven for 5 minutes before serving.