Brioche + Pastry Cream + Chocolate. Do I need to say anything else? This is the stuff that dreams are made of. And we all need good dreams at the moment. Rich, decadent, but pretty straightforward to bake, I promise you. My recipe is a slight modification of the one from a book I adore: Duchess Bake Shop. Make the dough and the pastry cream the evening before you want to bake them, for a super easy baking day, with almost no work involved.

(slightly modified from Duchess Bake Shop)

for the brioche dough:
9g osmo-tolerant yeast (or regular yeast)
30g whole milk, slightly warm
280g all-purpose flour
30g sugar
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
140g unsalted butter at room temperature

for pastry cream:
370g whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
80g sugar
80g egg yolks
15g cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
30g unsalted butter

to finish:
1 cup mini-chocolate chips
1 egg yolk

The day before… Make the brioche dough. Dissolve the yeast in warm milk. Add all ingredients except butter to the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer, and knead with the dough hook for about 4 minutes, until smooth. Add the butter in small pieces, kneading in low-speed, and waiting until each added piece is incorporated before adding more. Once all butter is added, knead until very elastic and smooth, about 15 minutes, always at low-speed.  Place the dough in a bowl coated with oil, leave at room temperature for 90 minutes, then transfer to the fridge overnight.

Make the pastry cream. Heat the milk and vanilla paste in a saucepan until small bubbles form around the edge of the liquid. As the  milk heats, vigorously whisk the egg yolks with sugar in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and salt and continue whisking until there are no lumps.  Slowly add the hot milk/vanilla mixture, tempering the yolks. Once all the liquid is added, transfer it back to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes, in low-heat, whisking constantly and removing the pan from the heat if it starts to thicken and bubble too furiously. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve, add the butter, and place a plastic film on the surface. Refrigerate overnight.

On the following day. Roll out the dough. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle measuring about 20 x 10 inches. Add the whole amount of pastry cream on the surface of the dough, spreading it uniformly. Sprinkle chocolate chips all over. Fold both long sides of the rectangle to meet in the center (see composite photo of my post). Cut the dough in half lengthwise exactly where the edges meet. You will end up with two long and thin rectangles about 20 x 5 inches.  Cut each of those in 8 pieces, so that you have a total of 16 small pieces.  Place them over parchment paper and cover with a light cloth. Proof at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 380F. Brush each brioche with egg yolk and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Some filling might spill to the sides, just clean it up after baking.

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I was inspired by my friend Nancy (the one who gave me the pyramid shaped mold) to make these babies. She baked a batch last week and raved about them. I can see why. Truly delicious, although I must confess we just shared a very small one for quality control. The whole batch went to the project Common Table (meals for homeless). They are having a tough time now, instead of a sit-down dinner it is take-out. Everything has to be individually wrapped and a volunteer comes to our door and picks up the stuff I bake, so we have no direct contact. Odd times. Scary times.

Anyway, this was a fun bake. I wanted to make as many as possible from a single batch, so I changed the way the dough is shaped and cut. I managed to have 16 little brioches instead of only 8 bigger ones. To that I added two batches of a Chai Tea cake, and hopefully they had enough to share.

Brioche is a dough I would not attempt without a KitchenAid, because you must knead it extensively. I like to add all ingredients except the butter, work the dough until it starts to get smooth, then add the butter little by little. Once all the butter is in, take your time and let the machine work its magic at low-speed, until the dough is smooth, and if you pull it, it does not rip apart, instead it stretches beautifully. If you pay attention to this simple rule, you will have perfect brioche buns.

As the brioche baked, some filling oozed out from most of them. The same happened to Nancy, and I am not sure you can avoid it, although if some of my reader have experience with it, please leave me a comment. When leakage takes place, that stuff can be scraped gently and placed on a spoon. I advise waiting a few minutes to avoid burning your mouth. And pups cannot have it, no matter how pretty they stay sitting, like angels, because… chocolate.

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