Cut a slice from the top of the chosen brioche or loaf and carefully scoop out most of the crumb. Brush the inside and lids of the cases with melted butter and crisp them in the
Shuck the oysters, strain their liquor, and reserve. Heat the remaining butter in a saucepan, add the oysters, and briefly fry in the butter just to stiffen slightly - this should not take more than a minute. Remove the oysters and cut in two. Add the oyster liquor to the pan and boil for a few minutes to reduce. Add the cream, the cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper to taste, and simmer gently.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then add a little grated lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add the oysters to the sauce and reheat for a few seconds before dividing among the bread cases.
Replace the lids and serve.
© 1999 Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright estate. All rights reserved.