December 17th, 2008

almond brioche bostock

brioche bostock 5

sometimes the payoff for a recipe truly is worth all the trouble.

whisking eggs

there i was, saturday morning, 8 am, ready for a full day of baking. it’s been harder and harder to bake during the week, so i’ve taken to making 4 or 5 things on saturday and sunday to keep up. i had gone grocery shopping the night before so i wouldn’t have to run back out into the freezing cold for supplies and had even prepared the brioche dough the night before so it would be ready to work with in the morning. with a fresh cup of instant coffee (i know, i know, instant, ew) in hand, i set to work on the almond cream. and that’s when things went south.

brioche bostock in pan 1

almond paste can be really tough to work with – one second it’s rock solid, the next second it’s oily and crumbling apart in your hands. so after putting all the ingredients in a mixer, i ended up with a beautiful almond cream, full of small shards of rock-solid almond paste that just wouldn’t break up. i tossed that batch to gave it another shot, but had the bright idea of microwaving the almond paste for 30 seconds so it would break apart more easily. the result? burned funky smelling almond paste. i thought maybe i could salvage it, so i added the other ingredients, but adding cold ingredients to warm almond paste just made the almond paste’s resolve stronger. it became a burned mass of almond rock at the bottom of the mixer. failure.

brioche bostock in pan 4

at that point i had run out of almond paste and the thought of going out into the cold for an $8 tube of the stuff made me want to scratch the whole thing. but i bundled up, got to safeway, and after 20 minutes of searching (why do they keep rearranging the aisles?) found the almond paste, got back home and proceeded to make a wonderfully smooth delicious cream that worked perfectly. good thing too, i was ready to toss my mixer out the window.

brioche bostock 4

then i realized i didn’t have enough flour to make all the other things i wanted to make that day and had to go back to the store AGAIN. but that’s another story.

brioche bostock 6

the brioche was completely amazing and tasted better than i could have imagined. the combination of almond and orange gives it incredibly bright flavors and the bread itself is rich enough that it could be dessert. the instructions said to invert the brioche onto a plate after it came out of the oven but didn’t specify whether it should be served that way. in retrospect, it should have been pretty obvious to just flip it again onto another plate so the topping was, you know, on top, but the golden caramelized sugar coated bottom made me think twice.

brioche bostock 7

one more thing: this is my 50th post! i know that’s hardly a milestone compared to the work so many other bloggers have accomplished, but as i began writing this post, i kept thinking about why i started pete bakes in the first place. when i launched the blog in april, it was a sort of test for myself to see if i could keep baking and writing on a regular basis. i wanted the experience to push me to try new techniques and recipes and still have it be fun. i never expected to get comments or responses aside from the friends and family who followed it.

i also could not have expected the level of talent, creativity and generosity of the food blogging community. if you’re reading this, you are the reason this blog exists – because what would all of these experiences mean without someone to share them with?

so if you’ve ever left a comment, or written an email (i try to respond to all!) or just tried a recipe, THANK YOU! it humbles me to find out that after being inspired by all of you who cook and bake and share it with the world that i could have some small impact as well. THANKS!

brioche bostock 10

almond brioche bostock
from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

3/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 Tbsp yeast
3/4 Tbsp salt
4 eggs
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
3 3/4 cups flour

almond cream
1/2 cup almond paste
4 Tbsp butter (at room temperature)
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1/4 tsp almond extract

1/4 cup sugar
zest from half an orange
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1. make the brioche: mix the salt, yeast, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water in a large bowl. mix in the flour without kneading. the dough will be loose but will firm up when chilled. cover the dough and allow to rest a room temperature for 2 hours. cover the dough bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge before trying to work with it.

2. make the almond cream: cream together the butter, almond paste, flour, egg and almond extract in a food processor (or by hand if you are brave) until smooth and set aside.

3. dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 lbs (about the size of a cantaloupe). dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape into a ball. roll the dough out into a long rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick), using enough flour to prevent it from sticking to the counter. spread the almond cream evenly over the rectangle and roll the dough up like a jelly roll, starting at the long end. chill the log in the freezer for about 15 minutes. meanwhile,  grease an 8 inch round cake pan with butter and sprinkle liberally with sugar.

4. cut the chilled dough into 8 equal pieces. place them evenly in the cake pan so the swirled edge is facing upward. allow the dough to rest in the pan for an hour. twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350 F. just before baking, combine the sugar, orange zest and almonds and sprinkle over the brioche. bake for about 40 minutes or until golden and well set in the center.

6. when you remove the brioche from the oven the run a knife around the inside of the pan to release the bread from the sides and invert it onto a large plate (it could stick to the pan otherwise). eat while warm.

58 Comments for almond brioche bostock - why not leave some love?

  1. Jeri says:

    Pete, it looks delicious HOWEVER, if you had problems with the paste, I don’t even want to attempt it yet.

  2. allison says:

    Thank you!! Starbuck has a version that is good but it’s mostly the almond cream spread over sliced brioche and toasted. I can’t wait to try this! As far as hard almond paste, in my experience, it’s usually old and the oils are almost rancid.

  3. Kristen says:

    Hi Pete, and happy 50th. I’m a new visitor to your site, but I just wanted to let you know, I like you. Your recipes look wonderful, your tips appear useful, and your sense of humor makes you a great addition to my google feed reader. Thanks for blogging. 🙂

  4. landabee says:

    Score another one for Pete!!!

    You seem to stay one step ahead of me in this book. I haven’t tried the brioche dough.

    For the moment, the family is stuck on the Challah Raisin Swirl Bread that comes out so tasty that your tongue wants to slap your brains out!

    I cannot begin to fathom how tasty this enriched dough is. The Challah with just 1/2 cup honey and four eggs, one stick of butter is more than rich and yummy!

    But that won’t stop me from trying it over the holiday break.

    I plan to make french toast out of some of the challah bread.


  5. Christina says:

    Congrats on 50, Pete!

    Funny, one weekend all I had access to was instant coffee, and I remember thinking that at least it was better than SBUX’ coffee!

    Those look really good, despite the troubles you had with the almond paste. It was smart of you to make the dough the day before, especially since you ended up making last-minute shopping trips (I hate it when that happens to me!). I like this as a change from cinnamon rolls.

  6. Y says:

    Congrats! I really enjoy reading about your baking adventures, so hope you keep it going for a long time to come 🙂 That brioche looks divine, especially the topping, and the caramelised bits on the bottom!

  7. Mike says:

    Hey, Pete. Congratulations on the blog milestone. Now get your YouTube channel up and start making some money doing what you love…;)

  8. Paula J Countryman says:

    Hey Pete, I came upon your site a couple months ago and wow are you a great baker. I’m so impressed with you. Do you have anything on youtube because you should. Congrats also on your 50th post. I love all your recipes and have tried three fourths of them already!
    Don’t give up on have talent.

  9. Kris says:

    I really like your blog sir, you manage to put personality into it which a lot of people fail at. *commences lurking*

  10. Evan says:

    I wanted to make this – quick question though: how much butter do you use for the almond cream?

  11. petebakes says:

    @Evan – 4 Tbsp butter. i totally missed that when i was writing up the recipe. i’ve fixed it above. thanks!

  12. Trucy says:

    Congratulations! This looks delicious and I will have to try it sometime. Have you ever mixed it with chocolate? My favorite bakery in Berkeley swirls bits and shards of dark chocolate into its brioche rolls and the result is amazing.

  13. dawn says:

    50 posts! Yay! Congrats to you. I know how hard it can be to get to 50…I don’t even know what I’m at.
    I love this brioche. I love how you pick some really challenging creations here.

  14. Jess says:

    I tried another brioche that you had posted, and I loved it. I’m a little scared away by the almond paste, but I think I’ll give this a go. Thanks for the blogs. I have loved every one of them! You’ve got MAD talent, so keep up the good work! Love it!

  15. Diana says:

    Oh my gosh. That looks amazing!

    Way to go on getting to 50 posts.

  16. jo says:

    hi pete, i know exactly what’s like to have a batch of dough or cake batter go wrong and have to start again. it’s a bummer but your end result is fantastic. looks absolutely delicious.

  17. radish says:

    I definitely know what you mean by tough to cook during the week and making things over the weekend – I pretty much wind up doing the same. Congratulations on your 50 posts!!

  18. Andrea says:

    Congrats on your 50th post and on beating that almond paste into submission. I HATE running back out to the grocery store, but the worst here is running around to 5 different stores for basic things. It took me two tries just to find all purpose flour yesterday! But good think you persevered, because this looks delicious!

  19. Stacy says:

    That looks so delicious! I love challenging recipes, too, so it’s tempting to make AND eat. It may have to be a January project for me – my husband already thinks I’m crazy enough with all the baking I’ve been doing!

  20. rach says:

    pete. just a question. is almond paste marzipan?i’m assuming it is but i’m never too sure of some american terms. just wanted to check before i baked the brioche. your pics of it look fab.

  21. petebakes says:

    @rach – it’s actually just plain old almond paste. you can make marzipan by adding almond paste and confectioner’s sugar, but for this recipe you just need almond paste.

  22. Kevin says:

    That looks really good!

  23. Cakespy says:

    This is wonderful. What a great brunch idea!

  24. Shaw Girl says:

    Congratulations on your 50th post! This looks delicious and I adore the brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day!

  25. Adrian says:

    Hi Pete! Just stumbled across your blog and I love it! You have a new subscriber. 😉

    I’m a newbie when it comes to food blogging, although I’ve been reading food blogs and blogging on other topics for a few years now. But I love food and I love photography as well, so I have a feeling I’ll learn pretty quick. Also congrats on the photos! I never would have guessed you use a point and shoot. Keep those beautiful food pictures coming! 😉

  26. Carmen says:

    I’m making this right now .. just mixed the brioche dough up … but question – maybe I am crazy and just not seeing it, but where does the egg wash come into play? I’m guessing right before putting the topping on, but I don’t see it in the recipe. Thanks!

  27. petebakes says:

    @Carmen – actually, i just realized you don’t need the egg wash – if you were making the brioche without the almond and orange zest topping, you would brush it with egg wash before baking (but it wouldn’t hurt if you’ve already done this).

  28. Carmen says:

    Got it – thanks, pete! 🙂

  29. Michelle says:

    I just finished making my brioche dough and was re-reading the instructions, because I was confused on what it was supposed to look like in the pan. The only shortcoming of that fantastic book is the limited photos. I was hoping to google and find a photo of it and even better… I came to your site. Thanks so much for the great photos of your Brioche at each stage. As I can see, the assembly is much like the pecan cinnamon roll recipe (same book) that I made last night.

  30. Karen Stugelmeyer says:

    Hi Pete:

    I loved your post. I was searching for a Bostock recipe when I found this. It is refreshing to read ‘real’ encounters with making cream, ect. that it is a heads up to all who read. It did not make me want to quit, but to try this – ans I will, on Saturday (LOL).

    Keep up the great work! I will visit your site often.

  31. Karen Stugelmeyer says:

    PS Your photos are AMAZING. Nice work!

  32. Kymberlee says:

    This is fabulous! I found your recipe and made this for Christmas breakfast. It turned out perfect and was a huge hit with my girls.

    I really love your pictures and how you told of your trials and errors. Thanks so much!

    Happy baking!

  33. meghan says:

    Crazy. Just bostak at a local bakery in mpls mn. Thought I should go look for the recipe and ran across your blog. Come to find out, I have the cook book you mentioned, however didn’t know this recipe was in it. The author of the cookbook is from mpls too. It’s a great cookbook. I believe she’s coming out with one that more whole wheat based recipes.

  34. Sharon says:

    This looks and sounds delicious. I almost feel like I can smell the delicious scents!!!!

  35. maria says:

    I am so happy I stumbled on this website. Pete you are a talented guy.

  36. sarah says:

    My mom made this for me one day when we met for coffee. Best coffee date I’ve ever had. This recipe is worth every step!

  37. norah says:

    Hey Pete, i’m VERY new at this.

    i’ve never had trouble with the almond paste, but i’m having a real tough time with the dough. I’ve made it more than once, and each time the dough comes out very very soft and loose that i cant handle well, even after chilling over night.

    what do you think i’m doing wrong?


  38. Daniela says:

    What kind of yeast is it? Fresh or dry?

  39. Shannon says:

    Love bostock, in working with almond paste I have had a lot of success using a food processor, a blender just doesn’t work! Also you can warm it in hot water.

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  47. Sahar says:

    I love Bostok and always buy it as a treat for me and family ,but now with this recipe i feel happy when i eat it because am proud that i can make it,Thank you so much

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  50. Julie says:

    I’ve made this recipe before (I bought the book years ago) and its one of my favorite recipes in the book. The problem you had with the almond paste refusing to incorporate into the almond cream…kinda looking like bits of play dough in the cream…I’ve had that problem before and it still made a delish bostock. I just tried to make Brian Boitano’s pear almond crostata and burned the almond paste crust beyond saving. Needless to say, I’m not a happy camper right now. At $7 per tube and the recipe required 2 tubes of almond paste, plus a special trip to the store to buy it inthe first place…grrrr! Not sure why it burned this time but turned out perfectly when I made it a year ago. Oh well. I guess they can’t all be winners.

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