Slices of this apple-filled brioche served with cups of freshly brewed French roast coffee sent our spirits overseas to a sidewalk table at a cafe in France.
Baking projects tend to be inspired by a single ingredient. Last week, two students gave me the biggest Granny Smith apples I have ever seen. They were a little bumped and bruised and seemed to be begging to be baked into something sweet. I remembered an apple brioche recipe I had wanted to try in one of the cookbooks we have in our library, Beth Hensperger’s Bread. Brioche is an egg-and-butter rich pastry-type bread dough which can be used in both savories and sweets. It produces a soft, moist bread and the dough is easy to make and easy to work with.
- 2 giant Granny Smith apples (or 4 regular-sized apples), peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 recipe chilled brioche dough (see below)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/6 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp chilled unsalted butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- Toss apple slices with lemon juice. Let sit for 1 hour, occasionally stirring.
- Place apples, sugar, water, and cinnamon in a heavy skillet and sauté until liquid is reduced and sugar is dissolved.
- Cool apple mixture to room temperature.
- Turn chilled brioche dough out to a lightly floured surface.
- Roll dough into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle.
- Spread cooled apple mixture down the center third of the dough rectangle.
- Cut strips 1.5 to 2 inches apart diagonally, almost touching filling.
- Starting at one end, fold strips over filling, alternating each side. You will have somewhat of a braided look when finished.
- Transfer bread to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Make topping by combining sugar and flour until blended. Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender (or food processor) until coarse crumbs are formed.
- Brush dough generously with beaten egg.
- Sprinkle topping on egg-washed dough.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at a cool room temperature until puffy and not quite doubled, about 40 minutes.
- Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes. Bread will be browned and filling will be bubbly.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup hot water (120 degrees F)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
- In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 1/2 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
- Add hot water and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Gradually add 1 cup more flour.
- When well-blended, add butter, a few pieces at a time.
- Gradually add 3/4 cup flour. Beat until thoroughly blended. Dough will be very soft and have a thick batter-like consistency.
- Scrape dough into a greased bowl.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 3 hours.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours. Can be refrigerated longer or frozen for up to 2 weeks.