Brioche aux Fruits

Brioche with Candied Fruit

The jewelled look of this brioche, studded with diced candied fruit and shiny with a sugar glaze always catches one’s eye in an Ardéchois boulangerie. Serve with bowls of piping hot café au lait to makes a perfect Christmas breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 15 g(½ oz) fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 225 g(8 oz) strong white flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 85 g(3 oz) melted butter
  • grated zest and juice of an orange

Filling

  • 85 g(3 oz) mixed candied fruit and peel, diced
  • 45 g( oz) angelica, diced
  • 45 g( oz) glacé cherries, natural colour

Method

In a wide mixing bowl, cream the fresh yeast with 2 tablespoons warm water or sprinkle the dried yeast on to the water. Leave the bowl in a warm place for 5–10 minutes until foamy.

Add the flour to one side of the bowl. Pour the eggs, beaten with the salt, into the centre and add half the sugar, the butter and the orange zest to the other side.

Use a wooden spoon to mix everything together. Then beat for 5–10 minutes, stretching the dough as much as possible until it becomes elastic and less sticky. Alternatively, mix the dough in a processor for 1 minute.

Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave at room temperature for 1–2 hours until the dough doubles in bulk.

Meanwhile soak the diced candied fruit, peel, angelica and cherries in the juice of the orange to soften slightly. Pour off the juice and heat in a small pan with the remainder of the sugar until dissolved. Set aside.

Turn the dough on to a floured surface and knead lightly for half a minute. Roll out to make a rectangle about 25 × 20 cm(10 × 8 in). Brush with some of the sweetened orange juice and spread almost all of the diced candied fruit over the dough. Press into the dough slightly with a rolling-pin.

Roll up the dough from the longest side to make a sausage. Cut into seven even slices.

Rub a little butter over the inside of a 15 cm(6 in) cake tin. Arrange six of the slices, cut side down, around the outside with the seventh in the centre. Press the remaining candied fruit on top of each slice of dough. Set the brioche aside in a warm place for 30–45 minutes until the dough is puffed up.

Bake in a moderate oven (Mark 5, 190°C, 375°F) for 25–30 minutes. The top should be golden, not brown.

Meanwhile simmer the orange juice and sugar until thick and syrupy. Remove the brioche from the oven and transfer to a wire tray. Brush the top with the orange syrup. Cool slightly before serving or freeze when completely cold and reheat in a warm oven to bring out the flavour before serving.

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