Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Almond & Ricotta Brioche Danish - For World Bread Day!

So, we celebrate another World Bread Day! October 16th was declared as the World Bread Day by the International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners (IUB). Zorra at Kochtopf  hosts this day as an event on food blogs. This is the 8th edition and I am glad to baking my bit of bread for this!

Very predictably, staying true to my indecisive nature, I contemplated a whole bunch of grand recipes and then finally decided to be lazy. Baked Brioche Danish with an almond and ricotta filling dressed them up with some glaze. Brioche made dainty and taken to the next level really! This is not danish as in the laminated yeasted pastry, though you could use Danish pastry to make an extremely luxurious and super delectable version of this recipe. These are far less luxurious, but very tasty nonetheless.  Danish pastry shapes like these are called as spandauer I gather, but I guess I will just call them brioche danish as bakes like these are commonly called. Ahem. I expect you to either be fine with the name or tell me the right one!

With passing time, I realize how valuable it is to learn and be comfortable with some basic recipes like pie crusts, puff pastry, bread doughs, sponges and the kind. Am getting greedier for such recipes and techniques as they are amazingly versatile and you could churn out so much out of these!  Like this brioche dough here. An enriched dough, but not a whole lot of butter or eggs, allowing you to get away with a rich filling as your indulgence. As compulsive, obsessed bakers, we sometimes do need to divide the fat between bakes!
Here is a recipe for a small batch of about 10-12 danish. These are best eaten warm and fresh, as they tend to dry out rather quickly like small rolls always do. So better to bake only as much as you need for the day, though leftovers do not taste bad, just a bit dry.

Get the filling ready before you do anything else. Line your baking sheets with parchment. 

Almond filling 
From Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess . This can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Blanched almonds, toasted (I have used some blanched and some with skin) - 150 grams
Icing sugar - 80 grams
Egg White - 2 tablespoons
Almond extract - 1/2 teaspoon
Unsalted butter, at room temperature -  2 tablespoons / 30 grams
If using whole almonds with skin, put them in a ziplock bag and bash them into large pieces. Process the almonds with the sugar till finely ground.  Add the butter, almond extract and egg and process again. You can make this ahead and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Fresh Ricotta : 1/2 cup, well drained ( not wrung dry), but moist. 
You could use just the almond filling (found this a bit dry on its own) or mix equal parts of the ricotta and almond. In this case, taste and add extra powdered sugar to taste.

For the Brioche dough

All purpose flour -172 grams
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar, granulated - 3 tablespoons
Instant yeast - 1 1/4 teaspoon
Milk, lukewarm - 45 ml / 3 tablespoons
Egg - 48 grams / 1, large
Unsalted butter - 30 grams / 2 tablespoons, melted and cooled
Orange zest - 1 teaspoon
Vanilla - 1/2 a bean scraped
1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water for the egg wash.

For the glaze
Icing sugar - 50 grams
Orange juice -1/2 to 1 tbsp orange juice
  • Whisk the zest and the vanilla caviar into the egg and the melted butter ensuring there are no clumps. Mix the yeast in the milk, add it to the egg and butter.
  •  Dump in the flour, salt and sugar. Mix to bring it all together. This will be sticky, but will get easier to handle as you knead. This is where I appreciate having a bread machine to knead more than ever! You can knead a sticky dough without having to add more flour, whereas with your hands you would find it very difficult to do the same. If kneading with your hands, oil your counter and hands, try not to add more than 1 1/2 to 3 teaspoons flour at the most. It really does make a difference.
  • The dough must be smooth, silky and tacky (sticks to your hands but peels off easily). If you add too much flour, the bread will be dry-ish. Put the dough in a dough rising bucket and let it double at room temperature. This will take about an hour or more. Note down how long it takes to double. 
  • Once the dough doubles, deflate it gently. (If your tray is small, use half dough at a time, cover the other half, let double again, continue the process) 
  • Dust your counter lightly with flour. Roll the dough into a 3 mm thick approximately 10/10'' square. ( I have given the dough 'turns' as in puff pastry, that's why you see layers here. Silly of me not to note down the details properly but you could try brushing a teaspoon of soft butter and folding the dough into three as in a business letter, roll again , brush with butter, repeat 2 more times, before rolling it 3 mm thick again. If the dough is resistant, allow to rest covered for a few minutes before rolling . You will get a slightly flaky dough, not exactly Danish pastry) Using a pizza cutter or a dough scraper, mark and cut it into 3'' squares. This works fine too.
  • Slightly elongate two opposite ends of the square. Take a tablespoon of the filling, shape into a log, place it in the middle of the square. Dab a tiny bit of egg on the elongated ends and close to cover the filling, with a little of it peeking out. Press gently but firmly to seal. Be sure you do a good job of this or it will come loose later.  Not totally disastrous, but not pretty and the filling will dry during baking.
  • Place the danish on the lined baking sheet and let rise again for approximately the same time as the first rise, 45 minutes to an hour works well for me. Since the dough is not very thick, its tough to make out when they double. 
  • Towards the end of the rise period, pre-heat oven to 190 degrees C / 375 degree F. Gently brush the Danish with the egg wash. 
  • Bake for about 12-15 minutes or till a nice golden brown. The time varies depending on the thickness of the dough. Do not over over-bake. These bake up quite fast, so better to check at 12 minutes. Even if you do over bake, they will still taste good. But under cooked doughy bread is ugghh!
  • Combine the juice and sugar to make the glaze.
  • Drizzle the icing when the danish cools slightly. Serve immediately.

These little sweet treats are Yeast-spotted!!

Please note : You could use your favorite sweet roll recipe (or laminated yeasted pastry or puff pastry) in place of the brioche dough here. Filling could be a brownie filling or zesty cream cheese or almond or ricotta or just about anything you please as long as it will cook in 15 minutes or needs no cooking.


Unknown said...

Suma, thank you so much for this post. Have baked these today!

Unknown said...

Thank you Suma for this lovely post. Got to make something new for World Bread Day!

Unknown said...

Wow.. They look beautiful and amazing.. great job dear :)

Priya Suresh said...

Omg, those dansih brioches are just irresistible, cant take my eyes from ur clicks..Well done;

Shanthi said...

Awesome blog..keep rocking..

Abdhul Rehman said...

This is beyond our imagination too Good SUMA