"Saffron makes the perfect partner to piquant sour cherries in this brioche," says Ingram. "There's nothing quite like brioche straight from the oven, and that's largely thanks to the butter. However, there aren't a lot of French pastries that can be popped back into the toaster to achieve better results than the original offering. This is one and that's exactly what I suggest you do." Start this recipe a day ahead to prove the dough.
- 2 tbsp milk
- 2 gm (1 tsp packed) saffron threads
- 400 gm strong baker’s flour, plus extra for dusting
- 4 eggs, plus 1 extra, lightly beaten, for glazing
- 20 gm caster sugar
- 8 gm salt
- 7 gm (1 sachet) dried yeast
- 200 gm softened butter, plus extra for brushing
- 100 gm sour cherries
- To scatter: pearl sugar (optional; see note)
- 1Warm milk in a saucepan over medium heat, add saffron and set aside to infuse (30 minutes).
- 2Combine flour, eggs, sugar, salt and yeast in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment, then add milk and mix on low speed until dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl (5 minutes). Increase speed to medium and add butter in 3 batches, mixing well between each addition, and mix until dough is glossy (2 minutes). Reduce speed to low, add sour cherries and mix to distribute evenly. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to prove.
- 3Butter and flour a 1-litre fluted brioche mould that is 20cm across the top, 10cm across the base and 8cm high, and refrigerate until required.
- 4Place dough on a floured surface, break off 150gm and roll it into a ball. Form remaining dough into a rough ball, then tuck the edge under itself fingers while rotating it to form a ball with a smooth surface. Place smooth-side up in mould, slash a small cross in the centre and place the small dough ball on top. Prove in a warm place until doubled in size (2 hours).
- 5Preheat oven to 180C. Glaze top of brioche with beaten egg, sprinkle with pearl sugar and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 170C and bake until dark brown (20-25 minutes). Serve immediately or toast the following day and spread with ricotta. Brioche keeps for up to a week in an airtight container or can be frozen for 3 months.
Note Pearl sugar is available from Essential Ingredient.