Archive for March, 2013


So I’m looking through a baking book the other day trying to find inspiration that will satisfy my need to bake something. I came across Lemon Brioche Doughnuts and thought “Perfect!”, but then suddenly remembered that I hadn’t checked yet  to see what was up for March from  the  Bread Baking Babes. Well. after finding out that  Lien was the host I was more than thrilled to see that she chose “Gateau a la creme” which is yummy brioche with a lemon custard filling. Talk about perfect timing. I was looking forward to making brioche since there hadn’t been any made since Christmas time. Buttery brioche baked in small pannetone papers are perfect gifts for people since they freeze beautifully and you can pull out one at a time without being tempted to eat an entire loaf of bread by yourself. Now it is March and it seems like a perfect time for brioche and this gateau is luscious and would be perfect for a Spring brunch (now all we need here in Calgary is Spring (as I look out at the snow on my lawn)).BBBuddies march 2013

After reading Lien’s recipe I was a little concerned about the small amount of eggs and butter (for brioche that is) but then when I started looking through my baking books I realized that there seems to be many variations on the quantity of these items.  One book uses 4 1/4 Cups of flour to 3 eggs, while another uses 4 1/2 Cups of flour and 6 eggs. Some recipes call for all  ingredients to be very cold, others for room temperature. Normally, I follow Peter Reinhardt’s recipe but now I think that in my near future a brioche bake-off is called for. The recipe Lien used has a relatively short kneading time, while it was my thought pattern that brioche (as well as panettone and stollen) needed a long kneading to fully develop the gluten structure so you get the “windowpane” effect. What was also interesting was that this version only called for the dough to chill in the fridge for about an hour and then you are ready to work with it, usually it chills overnight. Ahhh, the very perplexing world of enriched doughs….DSC_2421

In the end, I used Ciril Hitz’ version, and only because I wanted to put some dough into the freezer for later in the week (those doughnuts, remember?). His version actually has fewer eggs than the Raymond Blanc recipe – again, the mystery of it all – but it is so lovely to work with and to eat. A few people commented that Raymond’s recipe was a little dry so I went with this version to be on the safe side. It has a long chilling period, 6 hours in the freezer then 12 in the refrigerator, but it is really easy to make and patience is the only thing needed. Oh, and a standing mixer with a dough hook. At least for me. I was more than impressed to read that some of the BBB’s were kneading this by hand (I would never want to be cornered by one of them in a dark alley – arms of steel!), but in my opinion this is one of those doughs that a standing mixer is crucial. My Kitchenaid is over 20 years old and still works like a dream!

The filling is super simple to put together. It calls for 6 egg yolks (this is a good time to think about making macarons since you will have all those whites leftover), lemon juice, a little sugar and creme fraiche. Easy except I didn’t have any creme fraiche nor any heavy cream to make any, so I made mine with marscapone cheese. Yes, this is over the top indulgence, but boy did it work nicely. I only had 5 eggs left since I needed one for the egg wash so that would have to do (and it worked out fine). I found there was a little too much filling for the two small (about 7 inches around) brioche I made and I also filled one up too high which in turn made a burnt mess in my oven.

The seal of approval!

The seal of approval!

Would I recommend this? Yes. Was it easy? with a mixer, Yes.  Was is delicious? Totally, without being too sweet. (maybe I’ll have another piece right now just to make sure…) Bake On!

Please go to Liens post for the original recipe.

Gateau a la Creme

Brioche dough

yields four 7-inch gateau’s (or freeze half of the dough for up to 2 weeks for another use)

4 1/4 Cups (530g) All-purpose flourDSC_2401
1/4 Cup (50g) granulated sugar
4 tsp (14g) instant yeast (I used SAF Gold)
1 1/2 tsp (8g) salt
zest of 1 meyer lemon (use a regular lemon if you don’t have a meyer)
3/4 C (7 oz) whole milk
14 Tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks

Egg wash (1 yolk,as needed – I double washed so I used almost the whole thing)
swedish pearl sugar (decoration, as needed- optional)

Crème filling

5 egg yolks
1/4 Cup + 2 teaspoons (60g) granulated sugar
1 meyer lemon, juice and zest (I also threw in the juice leftover from the zested lemon needed for the dough)
200 G marscapone cheese

Make sure that the milk, eggs, and butter are cold.

Place all of the ingredients, except the butter,into the bowl of your standing mixer. Mix at low-speed until it all comes together, form a solid mass, and cleans the sides of the bowl (about 5 minutes). While this is mixing, pound your butter with a rolling-pin to make it pliable. You are not warming up the butter, just making it easier to blend. Break it up into 4 or 5 pieces.  Alternately, you can cut the cold butter up into tiny cubes.DSC_2403

Increase the speed on your mixer to medium and start adding the butter, slowly and in stages (4 0r 5). Make sure that all of the butter is fully mixed in before adding the next batch of butter. Continue to mix until all of the butter is fully incorporated into the dough and you get a good gluten structure. This will take 10 to 20 minutes. You want to be able to stretch the dough thin enough to see through (the “windowpane”) without tearing the dough. Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours, or up to 2 weeks. I cut my dough in half so I would have 2 pieces – I used one and the other is still in the freezer.

The day before baking remove the dough from the freezer and transfer to the refrigerator for 12 hours.

When ready to bake remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit out for 20-30 minutes at room temperature. Cut the dough in half..Take half of the brioche dough and bring it together with the palms of your hands to form a ball, then place it on a parchment lined baking tray and flatten it slightly. Starting from the middle of the dough, gently press the dough flat and spread it out to form a circle to approx 7 inches  in diameter, but leave about a 1 inch gap from the edge as this will create the rim of the tart. DSC_2404

Be careful not to stretch the dough and try to keep the base even in thickness. Use the second half of the dough for another gateau. I made the error on one of mine by making the rim too thin and then pouring in too much filling which of course made a mess in the oven….


Cover these with greased plastic and a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 350F

For the crème filling, mix the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice together in a mixing bowl and gradually mix in the marscapone cheese. Set aside  until ready to fill.


When you are ready to bake, brush the rims of your bread with the egg wash and sprinkle with the pearl sugar , if using. Pour some of the creme mixture into the middle about 1/3 way up. Pour the rest in (about 3/4 way up) when you have it in the oven so you don’t spill it all over when transferring it. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and the filling is set. Cool completely, or serve slightly warm. Enjoy!


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