Easy Braided Apple Caramel Brioche
I hear you. Brioche terror is rising. Brided brioche, not even to mention. Well frankly I have been so intmidated by these braided whatevers that I thought would require me a month of trials to learn how to make one.
Instead I picked up a cinnamon roll recipe, twisted it and tried to make the braided shape without expecting anything special out of it, maybe a sort of sweet bread. I even twisted it in various way to experiment the looks. Turned out this is the best brioche I had in years, beating some non vegan.
Brioche is my personal love and knowing how tedious is the process I always dismissed the iedea of making it at home.
All I wanted was a recipe that could be done randomly without that 48 hours for the kneeding-prooving sequence of the proper brioche.
And here is a quick solution with a single proving and not too much fuss considering the result. And if you are not keen on making your own compote ( I had many windfalls to use so I made my own) you can use a store bough. I prefer the compote over the jam because the natural flavour and the moderate sweetness work much better with the lightness of the brioche.
For me a good recipe is one that stands without too many ingredients. I love complicated cakes as you have noticed ;). But the everyday recipes have a much more linear layout in our home. And this brioches is that perfect combination simple tastes in a fluffy spongy brioche.
For the brioche
300 gr unbleached white flour
100 gr self raising brown or white flour
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp flax seed meal
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dry yeast ( I use Doves farm and this is a bigger dose of what is usually suggested)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
200ml circa of warm water or enough to have soft stichy dough
for the “egg wash” mix together:
1 Tbsp cashew milk
2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
3 Tbsp raw or brown sugar
More sugar to dust
Sliced pistachos or hazelnuts
For the apple caramel ( you can use a store bought apple compote or your favourite jam)
4-5 old apples (the dryer the better)
5-7 Tbsp raw or brown sugar
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp arrowroots ( or other starch to thicken up the sauce)
pinch of salt
For the compote
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan dissolve the sugar into the coconut oil over a medioum flame. Leave it to caramelise for few seconds.
Wash and core the apples. Dice roughly into a powerful food processor with the sugar and all the ingredients, make into a puree.
Transfer the puree into a wide saucepan, bring to boil and cook on a low flame until reduces into a compote, about 15-20 min. The amount of arrowroot you will need depends on how much water the apples have, so this sauce work best with old apples or windfall.
You can store the compote in the fridge for 4 days.
You can use any kind of apple for this compote, but personally I prefer sweet apples for this recipes. I used a mixture of pink lady and other wind-fall that I had left.
For the brioche
Mix well all the dry ingredients. Add little by little the warm water until you have a very soft and smooth (+a bit sticky) dough.
When the dough is ready remove it from the bowl on a large piece of baking paper.
Dust the dough and a pin with little flour and roll the dough out directly on the baking paper. Shape into a rectangle and thick about 1 cm or less.
Cut the rectangle into 3 long strings. Spread on each a thin layer of compote, leaving a bit of empty space on the 2 long sides. Close each piece lenghtwise to form 3 long cords filled with the compote.
With a sharp kife slightly cut the lenght of the cord to reveal the filling.
Proceed to make a braid or just wrap the 3 cords around each other.
Mix together the oil, milk and sugar until the sugar is almost dissolved then brush the whole brioche. Personally I also drizzle it a bit with rice syrup, makes it even more shiny.
Leave the braided brioche to rise in the oven with the light on. This for 2-3 hours (the time suggested is usually 45 minutes). The secret of this recipe is to make it over-rised so it will start make nice big bubbles inside. For that reason the only trick is to don’t open the oven or give the dough a temperature shock. Last time I have I leaved the brioche in the fridge overnight and then baked after 15 minutes of prooving with only the light on.
The proving time can drammatically change depending on the weather so be patient and don’t get demoralise if the brioche seems to don’t rise so well at first, it will eventyally.
(*As extra help on very cold days, I switch on the oven at 50°C. When it reaches the temperature I switch off it again and leave the brioche to raise with this slightly warmer oven, this cut down the proving time. But I should say, the slower is rising the better and more bubbly the consistency becomes).
When the brioche is about the double, switch on the oven at 180°C (without opening the oven or taking out your braid) and let the broche cook for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown**. Dust with extra sugar and chopped pistacho.
**if you cook the broche into a narrow loaf tin it might take longer to cook to the core as the braid will be probably thicker.