Black Bean Burgers with Homemade Brioche Burger Buns


 
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect meatless meal!
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect meatless meal!
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect meatless meal!
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect meatless meal!
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect meatless meal!
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect meatless meal!
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect meatless meal!
Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect meatless meal!

Having people over for dinner is one of my favourite things. I like to think that our house is sort of a hub - it is where people gather. It's where there is always food, and good company. I grew up in a home where there were always loads of extra people, and I loved it. It is always my aim, no matter where in this world that we are living, to create that wherever we go. To me, having a home base is so important. I want to have a space where people can come and treat it like their own space. Where they can relax, and feel comfortable enough to invite themselves over. One of the things that I love about food, is that it almost does this for me. Since we moved over here, I have always been the one who is in charge of organising the meals, whether it be a holiday occasion, or a weekend camping trip. I love how a meal can bring people together - for me, living in a city so far from my home, this is one of the most important things : making myself feel at home. And providing a home base is a great way to do that. It's almost as if I need to do it for me - there's something so comforting about putting a meal on a table for people that you love. And in a city filled with seamless and people cooking for one, it is such a nice thing to do for friends.

 Often we have people over either one, or both weekend nights. Eating out can get expensive quickly in NYC, and to me, sitting at home sharing a meal with friends is so much more appealing than having to compete for a server's attention in a noisy restaurant. Of course there is the huge plus side of not having to leave the house. We are avid Settlers of Catan players, so that often also takes place in the window between dinner and dessert.

 At first, I used to bust ass making intricate dishes that took a long time to make. Individually portioned meals, or multi component dinners. I soon realised that our guests didn't mind what we had for dinner - it was often the same group of friends, who were ok with me trying out new, slightly obscure recipes on them, provided that I made Molly's Mac and cheese semi regularly. 

So the solution was - to start making 'build your own' dinners. I get all the components ready ahead of time, and come dinner, we all make our own! It's the best way to feed a crowd - you don't have to worry about serving someone too much or too little, or something that they don't like. It works with loads of meals - we do it with nachos, pasta, summer rolls, dumplings (which is literally build your own - I sit everyone down at the table and we make them all!), and these Black Bean Burgers. 

Burger night is one of my favourite meals, and I love mixing it up so that the type of burger is slightly different each time around. For this particular burger, we keep things simple. There is a black bean burger patty, which I was totally skeptical about, until I tried it for the first time. After a huge amount of tweaking and research on how to keep the patty to stay intact while cooking (all it took was for me to make a burger from leftovers the next day to realise the mixture needs a little resting), I have come up with something I think you will love. It is 'meaty' enough that it isn't a total burger cop out, it has texture, amazing flavour, and doesn't totally fall to pieces when you go to eat it. 

I have also included a recipe for my new found love: Brioche burger buns. I was working on a recipe for a custard roll situation last week, which involved me trying a bunch of different brioche recipes, not being totally satisfied with any of them, and setting out to make my own. I wanted something versatile - something that could be used for sweet or savoury, loaves, buns, and scrolls, and didn't need an overnight rest. And I got it! These buns are super easy to whip up, don't require a spin in the fridge like most recipes, and are perfect for your burgers. This is the start of a wee series I hope to do on ways to use the one recipe of brioche dough - watch this space! 

A few wee notes:

  • The burger patty mixture definitely benefits from a rest before you shape it - this allows the panko breadcrumbs to soak up a little bit of the moisture, which makes things much easier when it comes to cooking time, because the patty holds together nicely. 
  • I haven't tried making these on the BBQ before but I think it would probably be quite crumbly - if you can, a skillet or frying pan is your best bet! You can always pop them in the oven on a low temp to keep them warm until you are ready.
  • We always have our burgers 'kiwi style' with beetroot and pineapple rings - feel free to add on whatever you like! I also added some home made pickles on the side. 
  • Leftovers are best kept uncooked, and quickly fried up just as you need them! 
  • If you want to make this GF, swap out the panko for GF panko. 
  • Store bought buns are just as awesome! We lightly toast ours before assembling the burgers.
 

 

Black Bean Burgers with Homemade Brioche Burger Buns
- Makes 8 large burger buns, and 6-8 large burger patties -

Brioche Burger Buns
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup (240ml) whole milk, lukewarm
2 Tbsp sugar
3 3/4 cups (565g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
egg wash - 1 egg plus 1 Tbsp water, whisked
sesame seeds to sprinkle, if desired

Black Bean Burger Patties
2 x 15.5oz (440g) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, very finely chopped (if you don't like onion very much, use half an onion)
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a microplane
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to season

Assembly
Salad, condiments, and filling of your choice - I used tomato, lettuce, canned beetroot, canned pineapple slices, mayonnaise, and tomato sauce (Ketchup), and served with home made pickles on the side. 

I also added cheese to the patty once it was cooked, and popped it under the broiler / grill for about a minute to melt the cheese.

- PROCESS -

BRIOCHE BUNS

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth. 

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into eight equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball, and place four balls on each baking tray, leaving room between. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap, and leave to rise for approximately 30-40 minutes. 

Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash, and sprinkle with seeds if desired. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the buns are a deep golden brown colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

BLACK BEAN BURGER PATTIES

Place one can of drained, rinsed beans in a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash well until smooth. Add the second can of beans, leaving whole, and mix through. Add the onion, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper, and mix well using a spoon or your hands. 

Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour. 

Form the mixture into six to eight patties using slightly wet hands, and place on a plate or parchment paper lined tray. (If you aren't using all the mixture at once, transfer any leftover mix to an airtight container and store in the fridge until ready). 

Heat a cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil. Cook the patties, three or four at a time depending on your pan size, for four to five minutes on each side, adjusting the heat as necessary. They should be lightly golden brown. Transfer to a plate, or onto a paper towel lined tray in the oven to keep warm until serving.

ASSEMBLY

Slice each burger bun in half, and lightly toast under the broiler / grill. Melt cheese over the patties under the grill if desired. 

Assemble burgers. Serve immediately.

Black bean burgers with homemade brioche burger buns - the perfect meatless meal!

Mixed Berry Meringue Stacks with Mascarpone whipped cream


 
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries
Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries

We have zero space for a BBQ, which bums me out on the regular, because having people round for a BBQ is one of my FAVE things ever to do. Granted, I'm not that great at the actual BBQ part, but there's something about having people around, cooking outside, and keeping things simple. I grew up in a house which was somewhat of a railway station - there were always a few extras here and there most of the time, so grew up with communal meals happening almost more frequently than just us sitting around the dinner table. Mum and Dad have a swimming pool at their house, so in the summertime our house becomes a hub for our friends and family, and most evenings end with a bbq meal outside. Having a BBQ is one of the things I look forward to when I finally have a house one day of my own, along with grass, and a washing line. 

My favourite thing about having loads of people around all the time when I was younger, was the desserts. Always an opportunity to make something to be shared. I usually just rotated through the few things I knew how to make, sometimes trying something a little different. Sometimes Mum would make a giant pavlova, topped with cream and berries. 

These meringue stacks are a little nod to summer desserts and the BBQ I wish I had. The meringues themselves are super easy to make, and can be made ahead (they are actually best made ahead so that they have time to fully dry out). That way when it comes to serving, all you have to do is set out some berries, quickly whip some cream, and pop it all on the table for people to build their own desserts. It is quick and easy and relatively fuss free, while still being crazy delicious. It's a great way to use up that jar of egg whites in your fridge (maybe that's just me that always has that - I'm sure not everyone tests a custard recipe requiring 6 yolks, four times in a row), and you can tailor them to however you like, or whatever is on hand - they would be amazing with roasted or fresh stone fruit, or some quickly poached rhubarb. 

A few wee notes:

  • Meringues can be kind of finicky - you want to dry them out rather than baking them, so low and slow is the way to go. I like to bake them the night before I need them, and leave them in the oven with the door cracked a little to let them cool overnight. Once they are done, store them in an airtight container because they will get sticky with moisture.
  • The meringue recipe I have used here is super scaleable - It's just 1 part egg whites to 1.5 parts sugar by weight, so to adjust it accordingly if you have a certain amount of egg whites, simply multiply the amount of egg by 1.5 to give you the sugar quantity!
  • This recipe (it's a swiss meringue) is enough to fill 2 baking trays with meringue - I used an Ateco #828 tip to pipe them, but you could use whatever you have on hand - or even just spoon little mounds onto the baking tray. Because you are just drying them out, rather than baking to a certain stage, you can have a range of different sized meringues on the same tray - I made mainly nests, then piped some kisses too to go alongside.
 

 

Mixed Berry Meringue Stacks with Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- Makes about 12 stacks, depending on your piping size -

Meringue
200g egg whites
300g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Mascarpone whipped cream
1 1/2 cups (360ml) whipping cream
4 oz (110g) Mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

To serve
Berries or fresh fruit of your choice
Powdered sugar to dust

- PROCESS -

MERINGUE

Preheat the oven to 225˚f / 110˚c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure the egg whites and granulated sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer or other heatproof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture, whisking often and watching the edges carefully, until it no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers, and it registers at least 70˚c / 160˚f on a thermometer. 

Carefully transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, approximately 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with the piping tip of your choice.

Pipe 'nests', or round flat circles onto the baking paper, leaving a small amount of space between each. You can pipe whatever shape you would like here - blobs, nests, kisses etc. My circles were approx 2 1/2 inches wide. 

Place the baking sheets into the oven. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until they feel firm and no longer sticky, and peel cleanly off the paper when you lift them up. Turn off the oven, and leave them in there for at least an additional hour to dry out and crisp up.

Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

ASSEMBLY

Place cream in a medium sized bowl. Whisk until soft peaks form. Add Mascarpone and vanilla, and whip just until stiff peaks start to form.

Layer a meringue with berries and cream, followed by a second meringue, more berries, and more cream. Finish with a dust of powdered sugar. 

Keep components separate until ready to serve. 

Meringue stacks with vanilla bean mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries

Thank you to Elsie Green for the beautiful jars!

Scones with Roasted Peaches and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream


 
Scones with Roasted Peaches and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream - the perfect summer morning or afternoon tea treat
Scones with Roasted Peaches and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream - the perfect summer morning or afternoon tea treat
Scones with Roasted Peaches and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream - the perfect summer morning or afternoon tea treat
Scones with Roasted Peaches and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream - the perfect summer morning or afternoon tea treat
Scones with Roasted Peaches and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream - the perfect summer morning or afternoon tea treat
Scones with Roasted Peaches and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream - the perfect summer morning or afternoon tea treat
Scones with Roasted Peaches and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream - the perfect summer morning or afternoon tea treat
Scones with Roasted Peaches and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream - the perfect summer morning or afternoon tea treat

I have a wee list in the back of my head that I keep adding to - the list of 'New Zealand things that have the same name, as something American, but are definitely not the same thing'. Scones are the latest thing to land squarely upon this list. When I think of a scone, I think of buttery, flaky layers, and something that isn't too sweet. (I can't use the words 'buttery flaky' together without thinking of this video) 

I was surprised, on arriving in America, that scones here were, in fact, nothing like what I had grown up on. They tend to have a crumbly texture, much less tender than what I would expect, and are often intensely sweet. Similar, but not really. Still yum, but just different. What we refer to as a scone probably draws more similarity to an American 'biscuit' in that the insides are tender and flaky, the result of butter being rubbed into flour until it is just combined, which produces lovely layers when baked. I am actually yet to try an American scone recipe myself (I've been eyeing up some of Rebecca's for a while now), but for now, here's my version. 

Mum makes the best scones. Hands down. They are yet another thing that she can somehow pull out of thin air to feed a crowd. This recipe is based on hers, which is very much a guideline of ingredient quantities. Hers are always super consistent, but I figured for my own sake I would put some numbers next to the ingredients so mine bear a resemblance to the batch before them. 

Seeing as we are smack bang in the middle of stone fruit season, I topped these with some of my favourite things - roasted fruit, and vanilla bean whipped cream. Roasting fruit, particularly when it is at it's peak, brings out the most amazing flavour, and really allows the fruit to shine. I love to do a big batch after a visit to the farmer's market, and use it on lots of things throughout the week - over yoghurt with granola, in smoothies, and straight off the spoon. The roast peaches pair perfectly with the pillowy vanilla bean whipped cream, and stand up perfectly against the fairly savoury scone. This is a perfect morning or afternoon tea treat if you have guests - or if you like, the scones are just as amazing with some butter and good quality jam.

A few wee notes:

  • Roast the peaches slightly ahead of time to give them time to cool. 
  • I peel my peaches by cutting a cross in the bottoms, then putting them in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transferring to an ice bath - the skins should slip right off! Alternatively you can use a veggie peeler.
  • This recipe makes 8 large scones - feel free to cut them smaller if you would like, just make sure that you adjust the baking time accordingly.
 

 

Roasted Peach Scones with Vanilla Bean Whipped cream
- Makes 8 large scones -

 

Roasted Peaches
6 large peaches, peeled, and cut into segments
1/2 cup (100g) raw sugar (adjust this amount if necessary depending on the sweetness of your peaches)
1 tsp vanilla paste

Scones
4 cups (600g) flour
5 tsp baking powder
2 sticks (225g) unsalted butter, diced into cubes and frozen
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (210ml) whole milk
Cream to brush tops

Vanilla Bean whipped cream
2 cups (480ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

- PROCESS -

ROASTED PEACHES

Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 200˚c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a medium bowl, toss together the peach segments, sugar, vanilla paste, and salt. Spread evenly on the baking sheet. 

Bake the peaches for 20 minutes, or until bubbling and tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet. 

These can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge.

SCONES

Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 200˚c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Rub the frozen butter in using your fingertips until well combined, with a few lumps remaining. Add the milk, and mix with your hands until it forms a cohesive dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat into a rectangle using your hands. Fold the top third of the dough down to two thirds of the way down, and then fold the bottom third on top of it - as if you were folding a letter. Pat the dough out into a rectangle again, turn the dough 90 degrees, and repeat the letter fold again. Repeat one more time, before patting out into a rectangle once more. 

Cut the dough into 8-10 even pieces, dusting the bottom lightly with flour before placing on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a little heavy cream.

Bake the scones for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and no longer doughy. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

ASSEMBLY

Place the whipping cream and vanilla bean paste in a bowl. Whip until soft peaks form, either using an electric mixer, or a whisk. 

Slice each scone in half using a bread knife, apply a generous layer of cream, and top with peach slices. Serve immediately. 

Store leftovers separately, and assemble as you are ready to eat.

 

Scones with Roasted Peaches and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream - the perfect summer morning or afternoon tea treat