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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Bun Pull-Aparts**Brioche Effeuiller a la Cannelle**

*ugly, but it sure was yummy!*  Sorry,  I ate quite a bit long before I photographed*

*I overstuffed the pan, that's why mine was ugly.*

It's dough mania at my house these days!  I've been making lots of pastries with brioche.  This particular recipe uses French technique  but with an American twist from a nice cinnamon sticky bun topping.  The result is a cute (not-so-cute in the photo, but cute functionally :)) pull-apart roll stuffed with rum-soaked raisins, cinnamon, brown sugar, and white sugar topped with a perfectly ooey gooey, buttery brown sugar sauce on top.  

Brioche itself is a soft, tender, buttery, sweeter, richly flavored bread.  It is also used as the base of many traditional French pastries, or viennoisserie.  This particular sweet bread, brioche effeuiller, literally "leaves or leaved," since leaf and layer are often communicated with the same word in most romance languages, but it actually means layered brioche.  For this recipe, I took the rum-soaked raisins of pain aux raisins and fused a great American-style sticky bun sauce with this delicious, homey French treat!  I know that you will enjoy as much as I did!

Just a note, be very careful with loading the pan.  I overloaded the pan with dough, forgetting that although the risen dough in the pan still fit, the dough would rise to 1.5 times it's pre-baking size in the oven.  Needless to say, my dough spilled over, and I found myself skimming the browned bread off the top and waiting forever for the interior dough to fully cook.  Long story short, this recipe is for 2 loaf pans.  Yours will be much prettier than mine and they won't spill over this way ;).

Brioche *for 2 loaf pans*

Ingredients *for 2 loaf pans*
160g of raisins, soaked in 7 TB of dark rum
1 stick of butter, softened
1-1/2c packed brown sugar
2 TB cinnamon

1 stick of butter, cut into pieces
1/2c packed brown sugar
1c white sugar
1/4c milk
3 TB cornstarch
2TB corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of cinnamon
1 small pinch of nutmeg

Note: The original recipe uses evaporated milk with 1/4c brown sugar and 3/4c white sugar, but we didn't have any evaporated milk at the time.  I had to increase this and add cinnamon and vanilla to compensate for the milk substitute and the addition of starch, which tends to mask flavor.

Procedure and Technique

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Prepare dough per brioche dough instructions.  Once the dough has risen a second time and been punched down.  Begin rolling dough out on a floured surface.  Roll the dough into a rectangle no more than 1/4" in thickness.

3.  Butter the dough surface evenly with very soft butter.  Once completely buttered, sprinkle evenly with the topping.
4.  Begin cutting the dough lengthwise, as photographed here in the 4th row of photos.  You will lose topping in the process moving the layers on top of one another, but simply replace the topping before moving to the next layer.

5. Once the dough is placed in the pan, allow it to rise for about 15 minutes.  This is the perfect time period to begin making the sauce.

6. Next, place all sauce ingredients, besides the corn starch, into a sauce pot over medium heat.  

7. Once the mixture is homogeneous and hot, but not yet boiling, place the cornstarch into heat-proof mug or small heat-proof bowl and mix in a couple of tablespoons of the liquid from the pot.  Stir rapidly with a spoon until homogeneous and all lumps are out.  Add the cornstarch liquid back into the pot and stir until homogeneous. 

8. Allow mixture to boil gently 2-3 minutes, until thickened.  

9.  Once thickened and cooled slightly, just so that it is no longer boiling. pour generously and evenly on top of dough that has fully risen in the pan, just before baking.  I like to push the sides of the bread in a bit to pour some sauce a long the sides too, it won't hurt to pull the layers themselves apart to a bit to give them some extra love as well.  

10.  Bake at 350 in 2 separate loaf pans *that are placed on top of a baking sheet* for about 25 minutes, or until browned and a quick check between the center layers shows that the bread is done.  The baking sheet part is very important as that topping is very likely to spill over.

11. I actually inverted mine and poured more sauce before flipping over again.  The actual top is where it's easiest to pull the bread apart from.

12.  If you happen to overload your pan and your bread is browning too quickly without cooking enough in the center, simply cover to top loosely with foil, move the oven rack higher up, as the bottom is likely going to burn otherwise, and continue baking.

TIPS: For the brioche, you have to be sure to knead intensively the first time.  If you do not, your dough will be to slack, and once you add the butter there will be no repairing this since the butter will shorten the gluten strands, thus weakening the strength of the dough and causing it to be to slack, soft, and sticky.  After the first kneading, your dough should not leave bits here and there on the counter top.  You should be able to roll the dough and pick up any bits and lift the ball with minimal stickiness and the dough should form a smooth, very soft, yet minimally sticky ball.

Please see the link below for dough shaping process photos


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