While brioche is associated with French cuisine, it's also a favourite among Italians. Caffe latte, anyone?
- 500 gm plain flour
- 1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice only
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 14 gm dried yeast (about 2 sachets)
- 40 gm caster sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 7 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 320 gm butter, softened
- 50 gm cedro, finely chopped (see note)
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp milk
- 4 small Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, finely chopped
- 40 gm demerara sugar
- For dusting: pearl sugar (see note)
- 1Combine flour, lemon rind and cinnamon in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Combine yeast, sugar, honey and 2-3 tbsp warm water (or enough to form a thin paste) in a separate bowl and mix to combine. Add to flour, then mix on low speed, adding eggs in a steady stream until combined. Increase speed to high, beat until elastic (8-10 minutes), add butter a little at a time and beat until glossy and elastic (8-10 minutes). Add cedro, mix to combine, transfer dough to a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
- 2Knock dough back, form into a smooth ball, return to bowl, cover with a damp cloth and refrigerate overnight.
- 3Preheat oven to 180C. Divide dough into 12, knead each until smooth. Roll on a floured surface to 5mm thick, place on a baking paper-lined oven tray, brush with eggwash.
- 4Combine apple, demerara sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and toss to combine. Divide among rounds, arranging in centre and leaving a 1cm border. Press apple lightly into dough, scatter with pearl sugar, cover with plastic wrap (see note) and stand until risen (30-35 minutes). Bake until risen and golden (10-12 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature. Brioche are best eaten on day of making but can also be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days and gently warmed before eating.
Note Cedro is the candied fruit of the citron tree. If unavailable, substitute candied orange or lemon peel. Pearl sugar is used to decorate pastries. If unavailable, substitute demerara sugar or crushed sugar cubes. Both cedro and pearl sugar are available from The Essential Ingredient, David Jones, Simon Johnson and select delicatessens. Brioche can be refrigerated overnight after assembling; remove from refrigerator an hour before baking to allow time to come to room temperature and prove. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.