Wednesday, February 24, 2010

orange vanilla mini brioches

to say i'm not a morning person: the understatement of the week. even after a good night's sleep, first thing in the morning i look like i'm suffering from a collossal hangover, and i feel like a bear too soon awakened from its hibernation. each morning i do a very realistic zombie impersonation nearly crawling from bed to the coffeepot. takes two cups for me to become human. moreover: nothing good ever happened to me on a morning. seriously, ever. all my jump-for-joy stuff occured mid-afternoon, or in the evening. that said, the early morning coffee cup has a completely different allure when paired with these brioches. a robust orange flavored dough, filled with lemon curd or nutella. or homemade strawberry jam. so long, briocheless mornings. i'll remember you all in therapy.

i saw these on fimere's blog, and i had to make them right away. hers turned out much prettier, but with two toddlers undefoot i'd say mine aren't all that bad either. zhara's best friend, genevieve was over here on a playdate and i only had so much time before sesame street was not the greatest thing ever. 
fimere made this orange curd that sounded lovely to me. what's more: you make it in the microwave, in 3 minutes. but my microwave decided to act up, and i got very unappetizing orange omelet, which joined raw eggs and beer from milwaukee on the list of foods not to be consumed. (just kidding: got nothin' against raw eggs.) this was happening late last night, and after that episode i called it in. put the dough in the fridge and went to bed.

which made things great in the morning when all i had to do was fill and bake.
for the dough:
3 3/4 cups/500 gr all purpose flour
1 1/2 ts salt
2 ts dry active yeast
3 tb sugar + 1 ts for the yeast/ 50 gr
zest of one orange, finely grated
1 egg
1/2 cup/120 ml orange juice
7/8 cup/ 1 cup minus 2 tb/ 200 ml heavy cream
vanilla bean, optional

first bring everything to room temp. if you forget to take it out in advance, put the egg in some warm water and leave it a few minutes. the juice you can warm a few seconds in the microwave. steep the cream and infuse with the split, scraped bean. let cool to 115F and dissolve the yeast and 1 ts sugar in it. place flour, salt, sugar and zest in the food processor and pulse once or twice to combine. add the juice and the beaten egg and pulse a few more times. with the processor running slowly stream in the cream. add a tb or two of milk if it's stiff. run it 15 seconds more to knead, then turn it into an oiled bowl, oil the top, cover and set in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (or you can put it in the fridge overnight.)

 preheat oven to 390F. split the dough in half. roll a rectangular 1/4 inch thick sheet. then cut inch wide strips lenghtwise. crosswise cut 2 inch pieces to form rectangles. spread nutella, jam or lemon curd on them and stack three or four on top of each other. fold each stack in half and place in buttered muffin tin. let rise another half hour. brush with egg wash if desired. bake for about 20 minutes, until nicely browned on top.
they taste wonderful, i suspect even plain they would be a great treat, though i'd probably use an extra tb of sugar, and more orange zest. i loved the ones filled with nutella, there's just something about orange and chocolate - and so did zhara. the ones with the lemon curd could have used a bit more of it... i was afraid they'd be too sweet so i smeared it sparingly. the strawberry jam was great cause it had a lot of almost-whole fruit, it went great with the orange flavor. definetely a treat that makes the shortlist. merci fimere!


  1. DANA :) am venit sa te felicit :) ff faine ti-au iesit
    Si maine o sa fac savarine si o sa fac originale si asa cum ai facut tu cu lemon acuma sa vedem cum o sa iasa :) te pup & take care

  2. anca, mersi mult! sper sa-ti placa savarinele cu lamaie, sa-mi spui care-au castigat! pupici

  3. Mmm, these really look light and delicious - great with a cup of coffee and a nice way to use your new vanilla beans! :)

  4. I think these look mighty pretty, Dana. I have a container of orange juice in my fridge that no body is drinking (none of us are oj drinkers). I think it's my excuse to dry these.

    Any tips for cooking with yeast? I never have.

  5. Hey Dana, thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Wow, these are look so pretty!

    I have read your blog posts and I can see you make very yummy and beautiful food.

  6. Terrific. And anyone who makes their own brioche dough is my new hero! I wish I had one right now as I'm sitting here watching the Olympics. (With a cup of espresso on the side, naturally.)

  7. karen, those beans are so great i just want to put them in everything! thanks

    anne: i hope you'll give them a try, they're really worth it. there's three types of yeast - active fresh, active dry and instant or rapid rise. instant does not need to be dissolved, you can just mix it in the flour, so it's ideal for bread machines. as i don't have one i rarely use it. both fresh and dry active needs to be dissolved in warm liquid with a bit of sugar to be activated. or salt, for savory stuff. the recommended temps will vary between 100F to 115F depending on manufacturer. you don't need a thermometer. it's the temp of walter's first bath you want. hot water will kill the enzymes and the dough won't rise. too cold and it won't be activated. all the other ingredients have to be room temp, so they won't bring down the temp you have in the yeast. most doughs need to be kneaded until they're not sticky anymore, smooth and elastic. they need to rise in draft-free spot. you can also preheat the oven low temp, about 175, turn it off and put the dough in, and they will rise perfectly. hope this helps. let me know how it goes!

  8. kenny and mark, you guys are too nice, thanks a lot!!

  9. Hello Dana, totul imi place, nota 10 cu felicitari;pozele pe gustul meu! Super!!! XO

  10. Dana, scuze ca am uitat sa te follow, dar dupa cum ai remarcat si tu nu am uitat de blog roll...
    merci de vizita si mai vin pe la tine ca-mi place ce vad! pup pup....

  11. Dana, they look gorgeous! Making brioche is impressive enough on its own, but with two toddlers underfoot, it's nothing short of amazing. :)

    In case it's of any use, I posted a recipe for microwave lemon curd on my blog (on the Jams page). Though it's hard to beat nutella as a filling. Dan Lepard, my fave baker in the UK, once wrote a recipe for bread rolls constructed in a similar way (stacked, folded and baked in a muffin tin), only his was a plain yeasted bread layered with olive paste. It's a nice variation!

    Cheers, Celia

  12. Dana thx pentru vizita ;)
    si multumesc pt .ca am avut de la cine am avut inspiratie cu savarinele :)
    a iesi bune ,dar acrisoare :))
    iar glazura e tare buuunaaaaaaaaa:)
    te pup
    si briosle tale i tare frumoase
    (am o intrebere ai facut s aai pozele asa mari si frumoase plz ajutama cu putin :))

  13. celia, glad you stopped by, and let me tell you: i want to make half the things on that page! the onion marmalade is an old fixation and i think i'll have to make it in the morning; the quince jelly and the nectarine/apricot jam, yes to all!! thanks!

  14. anca: cand dai click pe poze o sa-ti apara o bara cu marimi, si iti selectezi marimea care o vrei. ale mele sunt xl, dar iti trebuie un layout stretch pentru ele. in formatul ingust pe care il ai acum nu se potriveste. sper ca asta te ajuta. numai bine!

  15. Dana,
    Thanks for stopping by my place and following me. I am going crazy after seeing all your lovely dessert recipes..You have a splendid spot, dear!I am so following you.

  16. un grand bravo à toi ma chère tes brioches sont très réussies et parfaitement jolie
    j'aime beaucoup l'idée de laisser la pâte jusqu'au lendemain ça doit donner un excellent résultat j'essayerai cette méthode,
    visuellement avec du nutella c'est joli on voit très bien la séparation des couches
    merci beaucoup, à bientôt

  17. fimere, tes mots me donnent beaucoup de joie, merci beaucoup!! xoxo


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