Fall. Forget about what the song says. THIS is the most wonderful time of the year as far as I'm concerned. Summer is GONE. Done. Finito. Dead. An ex-season. And for me, that means no more whinging and moaning about the heat and humidity until people want to take me out to sea and throw me overboard with lead weight attached to my ankle. Most importantly though, it means no more baking in a kitchen that feels like a blast furnace. WHEEEEEE!
This certainly hasn't been a typical fall—thanks for nothing, Global Warming! It's mid-October, but the leaves have barely started turning and those that have are just kind of…well, blah. No blaze of color. (Those of you in a no-Fall zone, work with me here.) But the weather has definitely gone from sweltering hot to cool and crisp, and I want something cozy and comforting, something that will give me the warm fuzzies, something that says FALL even if the trees say otherwise. So I'm kicking off the Fall Follies here at the House of Dough with some of the best tastes that fall has to offer—namely, the fruits of the season. This rich, buttery, mock-braided brioche is filled with some of the classics—apple, pears and persimmons—sprinkled with chai spices and topped with a crunchy streusel. You want warm fuzzies? We got 'em right here. So cut yourself a slice or six, make yourself a nice cuppa, curl up on the sofa in your Hello Kitty jammies (not that I have them, no siree), grab a good book and enjoy.
This brioche is my contribution to this month's #BreadBakers, Fall Fruits and Vegetables, hosted by Pavani at Cooks' Hideout. Thanks, Pavani!
Apple, Pear and Persimmon Stuffed Brioche
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup water at 110º F
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1 lb. mixed apples, pears and fuyu persimmons, firm but ripe (about 1 large for each), chopped
- 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp chai spice blend (recipe below)
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour or Instant ClearJel
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp chai spice blend
- pinch of salt
- Place the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top, whisk gently and let sit for about 5 minutes, until it looks active and bubbly.
- Fit the paddle attachment to the mixer, then add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture in the bowl and mix on low speed, scraping down the sides as needed.. The dough will look very dry and shaggy.
- Add the eggs and mix gently. Add the sugar then turn the speed up to medium-low and mix for about 4 minutes, until the dough forms a ball.
- Switch to the dough hook and with the mixer on low speed, add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, making sure each piece is incorporated before adding the next one and stopping to pull the dough from the hook and scrape the sides of the bowl. The dough should be very soft. Once the butter is incorporated. continue mixing for about 10 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a bowl (I love these Cambro containers; no guessing as to when the dough has doubled), cover and set aside to rise at room temperature until it's doubled in size. Punch down the dough, then cover and place in the refrigerator. Check the dough every half hour and punch it down again. After about 2 hours, the dough will stop rising. Refrigerate overnight.
- To make the filling the next day, peel, core and chop the fruits, then place in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and toss the fruits, then add the sugar, chai spice blend, scraped vanilla bean seeds and a pinch of salt and toss to combine.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add the fruit mixture and sauté until the fruit has softened slightly. The juices will have thickened somewhat. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. When cooled, stir in the ClearJel or flour.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper, transfer the dough and roll it out to a 10" x 15" rectangle (don't sweat it if it isn't exact). Transfer the parchment with the dough to a baking sheet.
- Spoon the cooled fruit mixture down the center of the dough, lengthwise. Then cut diagonal strips about 1-1/2" wide down each side of the dough, leaving an uncut border around the filling. (A bench knife works great for making the cuts.)
- Working from alternating sides, fold the strips over the filling in a mock braid. Brush the braid lightly to remove any excess flour, then cover lightly with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until puffy and almost doubled.
- While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- To make the streusel topping, place the flour, sugar, chai spice and salt into a bowl and mix together. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingers until it holds together and crumbs form.
- When the dough is risen, whisk the egg and brush it lightly over the dough. Sprinkle the streusel on top, breaking up the larger pieces if needed.
- Bake until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Adapted from Food52
Chai Spice Blend
- 1 tbsp cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
- 1/2 vanilla bean, cut small pieces
- 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick broken into small pieces (or 2 tsps ground cinnamon)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 4 whole cloves
- 7 allspice berries
- 1 tsp white peppercorns
Place all ingredients into a spice grinder and pulse until you have a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.
You can substitute an equal amount of ground cinnamon for the chai spice if you prefer.
Make sure you use fuyu persimmons, not hachiya. Both are fairly common but fuyus are short and squatty and can be eaten out of hand like apples, while hachiyas are taller and sort of heart shaped and are generally are used to make purees. Trust me, you DON'T want to confuse the two and use hachiyas for something like this, where you need a firm fruit. A firm hachiya is an unripe hachiya and an unripe hachiya is overwhelmingly astringent. Try biting into one and you might never un-pucker. I did it so you don't have to.
#BreadBakers for October: Fall Fruits and Vegetables
For this month's BreadBakers, we're baking breads with fall fruits and vegetables (apples, grapes, pears, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, acorn squash, butternut squash and so on). Thanks to Pavani at Cook's Hideout for hosting!
- Apple & Olive Oil Boulé from Food Above Gold
- Apple Cider Muffins from A Baker's House
- Baked Cauliflower Breadsticks from Sneha's Recipe
- Broccoli Burger Buns from Herbivore Cucina
- Brown Sugar Pumpkin Apple Bread from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Chilli and Cheddar Potato Rolls from Mayuri's Jikoni
- Easy Apple Banana Bread from Food Lust People Love
- Figs Quick Bread from Basic N Delicious
- Harvest Bread with Sweet Potato from Cook's Hideout
- Kartofel Khleb - Russian Potato Bread from Ruchik Randhap
- Potato Bread Rolls from Gayathri's Cook Spot
- Pumpkin Challah from Passion Kneaded
- Sauerkraut-Nut Bread from Palatable Pastime
- Savoury Potato Rose Rolls from Sara's Tasty Buds
- Spiced Apple Star Bread from Hostess At Heart
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.