It just so happened that I came into a large amount of pears over the weekend. It was like my inheritance came in the form of pears. It was delightful.
The only problem is, pears do not last forever. And there are only so many pears one can eat before they start turn brown and mushy.
So I started brainstorming pear-based recipes. I’ve already blogged about my ridiculous love of pears and the many recipes I include them in, so I needed to think up some more plans. This post was a French-inspired one. I love everything about France. I love the people, I love the accents, I love their gardens, their buildings, their art, their FOOD.
My new mixer (beautiful beast that it is) has prompted much reflection. I debated what to mix in it first. I didn’t want it to be something boring, but I didn’t want to make something really fussy (who does?).
And so I’ve chosen a recipe that comes highly recommended from a fellow baking enthusiast. This recipe is not mine, but has been tried and tested in mixers that are not my own.
In this recipe I used the bread hook, and it really has me hooked (sorry for the bad pun.) This mixer does all the work for you! I’ve had a food processor before, but the mixer seems much gentler and thorough. I’m not saying everyone should have one – this recipe, as with all the recipes I post, can be done with a bowl, a wooden spoon and a little muscle – the mixer just cuts down on physical exertion…it appeals to my inner sloth.
I’m looking forward to using my KitchenAid for new recipes and old ones too. I have a habit of naming things, I’ll hopefully have come up with a name for the mixer by the next post. I’m thinking Penelope at the moment, but that might have too many syllables…suggestions?
Don’t preheat the oven yet, you’ve got a while before this deliciousness needs to go into the oven. Combine the flour and yeast. Add in your eggs, milk, sugar and salt and mix them to combine. Continue to mix for a further five minutes, adding your butter in slowly. If you’re doing this by hand, make sure your butter is really soft (but not melted!) to make the mixing easier.
Once your butter is incorporated mix the dough for about eight minutes, or until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If you’re using a bread hook like I was, this only takes three minutes on a medium setting.
Line a tray with enough baking paper to envelop the dough and grease the paper. I mean it when I say grease the paper, this dough is sticky. I didn’t grease my paper and I regretted it. Wrap your dough in the baking paper and cover with a tea towel. Put the tray in a nice warm place for 2-3 hours and allow it to get all warm and risen. It should just about double in size.
I put mine in front of the heater (much to Norman’s annoyance), but this was just me being impatient. Ideally you would leave brioche to rise overnight then refrigerate briefly the next morning, ain’t nobody got time for that though.
I waited two and a half hours before I succumbed to the excitement and threw the mixture into a greased loaf tin.
When you’ve pre-heated your oven to 160°C got your dough pressed into the tin, whisk up the egg wash to brush over every corner of the brioche top. Norman loves it when I need an egg wash, because he gets the leftovers.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Turn on the fan in your oven during the last five minutes if you’re not getting a nice brown top.
Slice thickly and enjoy! Brioche is rich and cake-like, but can be eaten at any time of the day and suits sweet or savoury dishes and eaten warm or cold. My sweet tooth got the better of me and I topped mine with pear and chocolate, a failsafe combination.
I’ve got a brioche-based recipe coming up soon, so stay tuned!