Coulibiac of Sweetbreads


Coulibiac is a lot of work, but once done, it is a dream for dinner parties, even large ones, since timing is not terribly crucial and it will hold admirably for up to half an hour. The brioche, crêpes, and sweetbread preparation can be done the day before.


  • 4 pounds braised sweetbreads
  • 1 cup sweetbread braising juices
  • ½ cup dry Madeira
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 recipe brioche
  • 8 to 10 crêpes
  • 8 slices ham or prosciutto, very thinly cut
  • 4 eggs, hard-cooked, peeled, halved
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 carrots, peeled, finely diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced


Braise the sweetbreads according to the recipe.

Heat the oven to 325°F.

Reduce the juices by half in a sauté pan. Add the sweetbreads and the Madeira and cook over high heat, tossing the sweetbreads, until the liquid has just evaporated. Season and cover them off the heat and refrigerate until assembling the coulibiac.

Cook the chopped mushrooms over medium heat with 2 tablespoons butter, tossing constantly, for 10 minutes. Season and set aside in a sieve over a bowl.

Divide the brioche dough into two parts, one about 6 ounces heavier than the other. Roll out both pieces into rectangles, the larger one about 14 inches by 8 inches, and chill until you assemble the coulibiac.

Put the smaller rectangle of dough on a sheetpan. Down the center of the pastry, leaving about inches of border all around, place 4 or 5 crêpes. On top of the crêpes put half the ham slices, then half the mushrooms, then all the sweetbreads, then the eggs stacked against each other like fallen dominoes, then the remaining mushrooms, ham, and crêpes. Brush the egg wash around the edge of the pastry. Place the other piece of brioche pastry on top and press down around the edges. Fold the edges over and trim. Decorate the top as desired. Put the coulibiac aside to rise for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Mix the carrots, onion, and celery together and cook, covered, in the remaining butter for 10 minutes. Season and add any collected mushroom juices. Keep warm.

Brush the coulibiac with the remaining egg wash and bake for about 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, slice and serve with the vegetable mixture.