Poor Knights of Windsor


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By Katrina Meynink

Published 2014

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You will need to begin this recipe one day ahead.


Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 375 ml (13 fl oz/ cups) milk
  • 450 ml (16 fl oz) thin (pouring) cream
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 150 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar


  • 300 g (12 oz/2⅓ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 15 g (½ oz) fresh yeast
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) tepid milk
  • 5 egg yolks, at room temperature, lightly whisked
  • 30 g (1 oz) brown sugar
  • 30 g (1 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 150 g ( oz) butter, cubed, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 25 ml (¾ fl oz) milk, whisked with 1 egg yolk, for egg wash
  • 100 g ( oz) butter, extra, to serve
  • icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting (optional)


  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) milk
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) thin (pouring) cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 150 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar


To make the ice cream, scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans into a saucepan and add the milk and cream. Put the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl before gradually pouring the hot cream mix over, whisking constantly to combine. Strain the mixture into a clean saucepan and cook over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Refrigerate until cool before churning in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze overnight.

To make the brioche, combine the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the yeast, 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of water, the tepid milk, egg yolks, brown sugar and caster sugar until well combined. Set aside until bubbles appear on the surface (up to 10 minutes). Add this to the flour mixture and combine with your hands until the dough is a sticky consistency and just comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured flat surface and knead for 15–20 minutes, adding the butter a few cubes at a time, making sure each piece is fully incorporated before adding more. The dough should appear smooth and shiny. Lightly flour the dough and return to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator, shape it into a loaf approximately 25 × 15 cm (10 × 6 inches) and place it seam side down in a greased and lined 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) loaf (bar) tin. Set aside, covered, to rest for 1 hour or return to the refrigerator to rest for 1 hour, ensuring that it is removed from the refrigerator and rested at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). Brush the dough with egg wash. Turn the oven down to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and bake for 35–40 minutes, being careful not to burn the top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Thickly slice the brioche.

On the day of serving, make the custard. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a saucepan and add the milk and cream. Put the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl and pour in the hot cream mixture while continuing to whisk, then transfer to a clean saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over low–medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain into a deep-sided tray, add the slices of brioche and stand in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning once to ensure the brioche has been properly submerged in the custard.

Heat one-third of the extra butter in a frying pan over medium–high heat until foaming, add 2 soaked brioche slices and cook, turning once, until golden (2–3 minutes each side), then transfer to a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining butter and brioche slices, wiping the frying pan clean between batches. Warm in the oven for 5 minutes, then serve, dusted with icing sugar, if using, with a scoop of the vanilla bean ice cream.