Sunday, 5 January 2014

Chocolate Chip Brioche Ring

So Christmas is over, the mince pies have been marked down in Sainsbury's and everyone is in the gym, trying to work off all the food, wearing running gear and self loathing.

But before you have to go back to work and resume your normal life, there is New Year's Eve, the last chance to get absolutely wrecked and eat more than you should.

You may remember that last year I made a chocolate and vanilla chess cake. This year, I flicked through my recipe books and decided to make the Great British Bake Off's Christmas Brioche Wreath.

But this being me, I decided that I didn't like how Mary and Paul had done it because there wasn't any chocolate in it and I don't agree with fundamental aspects of their brioche recipe. So I altered it, and here is the result:

You will need:
an 8" spring form cake tin, greased and lined
2 ½ tsp dried yeast
2 tbsp water
375g strong white flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
5 eggs
15g unsalted butter
175g softened unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

To decorate:
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water
handful chopped pistachios
150g icing sugar
2 tbsp orange juice

1. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl, adding the yeast and salt to different sides of the bowl. 
2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and beat the 5 eggs, then add them, along with the 2 tbsp water. Mix together into a soft, moist dough.
 3. Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead with well floured hands until smooth and elastic. Like so:

4. Melt the 15g butter and use it to grease a clean bowl. Put the dough in and turn it a couple of times to ensure a good covering of butter.
5. Cover in cling film and leave to rise for 1-1½ hours or until doubled in size. Knock back then leave to rest for 10 minutes.
6. Use your hands to squeeze the softened butter into the dough before kneading it in, along with the chocolate, until fully incorporated.
7. Separate the dough into 10 equally sized balls - you may have to weigh them. Put them in the cake tin, with something in the middle to preserve the hole in the centre of the ring. Cover with cling film and leave for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 220C towards the end of rising time.
8. Brush the risen dough with the egg yolk and water glaze, then bake for 10 minutes before lowering the heat to 200C and baking for another 20-30 minutes until a rich golden brown and cooked through. If the brioche browns too quickly in the oven, cover it with foil.
9. Once cooked, leave the brioche to cool in the tin, before mixing the icing sugar and orange juice and drizzling over the cooled ring and scattering with the pistachios.

I think this makes a great centrepiece for a party, or a hangover breakfast the morning after. The fact that it's made of lots of small bits of dough stuck together makes it easy to tear off a portion of the ring.

Bye for now bakelings,