Blueberry Brioche


 

I just realised that the last three recipes on here have either been blueberry or brioche based, so it seems fairly fitting to do a blueberry brioche, right? Thought so. This is the next recipe on mine and Stacy's Distant Kitchens adventure! If you want to learn a little more about Distant Kitchens, I explain it in more detail here.  The recipe is from 'Huckleberry' By Zoe Nathan.

While neither of our versions of these turned out exactly like the book, they were by no means a pinterest fail. I found out that although I followed the recipe to the letter, I did not end up with a nicely distributed blueberry swirl, and neither did Stacy. Lots of the berries huddled toward one end, which resulted in an awesome surprise where the swirl got more pronounced with every slice. However this can be easily remedied by ensuring that the berries are spread along about half of the dough before rolling as opposed to "along the top edge" as the recipe suggests. Aside from that it turned out beautifully. The dough was tender and the berries complimented the butteriness of the dough nicely.

A few notes - make sure that you use fresh blueberries in this, as frozen will be too watery and the colour will run. Avoid adding more flour during the mixing process - although it looks really really sticky and far too wet to begin with, it will come together! I added more the first time that I made it and it dried the dough out too much and made it too tough. Also feel free to adjust the sugar in with the blueberries - I used a little more to counteract the tartness. It also works best, as with most brioche, to do the first rise overnight.

We would love it if you played along with us! If you do try a distant kitchens recipe, please use the hashtag #distantkitchens so that we can see it on Instagram, and upload it to our website! The idea is that different cooks, in different kitchens, far apart, can be brought together by putting their own spin on the same recipe. 

To see Stacy's interpretation of this recipe, head on over to her blog! 

 

 

 

Blueberry Brioche
- makes one loaf -

Adapted from 'Huckleberry'

Brioche
1 1/2 cups (125g) fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp (30ml) whole milk
1 Tbsp (9g) dried yeast
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp (140g) all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp (140g) Bread flour - or 1 cup flour, 2 Tbsp gluten
1/2 cup (100g) sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp (140g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Egg wash
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp (15ml) cream
pinch salt

 

- PROCESS -

Place the fresh blueberries on a single layer on a plate, and place into the freezer until needed.

Slightly warm the milk and add to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 2 1/2 tbsp (30g) of sugar and the yeast, and stir lightly. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes. Add both flours, salt, egg and egg yolk. Mix on low until the dough becomes cohesive. At this stage it will look very sticky and wet, but refrain from adding more flour. 

Increase the mixer speed to medium, and continue to knead the dough for 6-7 minutes, stopping periodically to scrape down the bowl and dough hook to help with even mixing. The dough will begin to become smoother and stronger. 

Slowly the butter a small piece at a time. The butter will look like it is not incorporating at first, but will eventually blend in. Once it begins to blend, scrape down the bowl and hook, and knead the dough with the mixer for a further 8 minutes. 

Line a baking tray with lightly greased parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and press into a rectangle that is approximately 16" x 10" or 40cm x 25cm. Position the dough so that the short edge is facing you. Sprinkle the top half of the rectangle with the remaining 5 1/2 (70g) sugar, and cover with the blueberries. 

Starting at the top edge furthest from you, roll the dough downwards into a loose roll. Place the roll seam side down onto the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

Prepare a well greased loaf pan. Remove dough from the fridge and turn onto a lightly floured surface, aligning the roll vertically. lightly press the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 12" x 6" or 30cm x 15cm. Take care not to puncture the dough to ensure that no blueberries escape.

Starting at the top end, roll the dough tightly into a log. Place the roll seam side down into the prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size, approximately 3 hours - begin checking the rise after two. When lightly pressed the dough should spring back, and your finger should leave a small indentation. As the dough is nearing readiness, preheat the oven to 350f/180c, and whisk together the egg wash ingredients. 

Brush the top of the dough lightly with the egg wash, avoiding putting too much near the edges so that it doesn't pool. Sprinkle the top liberally with sugar. 

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown on the top. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack and allowing to cool completely 

 

Bruléed lemon and rhubarb tart


 

Round three of distant kitchens! If you are new to the concept, I explain it a little more here. This time Stacy and I went with something that wasn't so component heavy. Nice and simple. Something nice and simple, that I nearly bailed on as I was convinced mine were a total flop. They tasted amazing, I just couldn't photograph them in a way that I was happy with. I tried a zillion different ways. It took putting everything down, doing something for a few hours, and then coming back with the acceptance that it wasn't going to look how I had in my head, until I got some content I liked. These things happen! Thanks to Stacy for putting up with my minor tantrum over text! We got there in the end.

We went with Bruléed Lemon and rhubarb tart. Rhubarb season is just coming to an end here in NYC, and Stacy managed to sweet talk her local store into ordering in some frozen for her! I think this is a nice way to farewell it until next year, although the plants I have on my balcony clearly either are drunk or didn't get the memo as they are only just starting to grow now? Naughty. Guess I'll be having autumn rhubarb!

The recipe that we used is from an amazing book that I have called The Cook and Baker. It is written by two New Zealanders who run a cafe in Sydney. It is filled with the recipes of my childhood. I highly recommend it if you want great, simple recipes!

For the first time since we began distant kitchens, our final product turned out fairly similar, which is what I was kind of expecting - neither of us pulled the 'make it mini/make it bigger trick' this time! I opted for a slightly shallower tart whereas Stacy's were a little deeper, but aside from that they looked fairly similar! They taste amazing - the lemon curd is sweet enough to compliment the tartness of the rhubarb, and the pastry is buttery and pulls everything together really nicely. They would be great to take to a party or assemble in front of your guests - the brulée part is pretty impressive. They are definitely best eaten just after they are assembled, so if you are planning on pre-preparing, I highly recommend keeping all the components separate until you are ready to eat. 

Then comes the fun part - the bruléeing! You can skip this if you don't have a torch, but cracking through the caramelised sugar layer to the lemon curd makes everything taste so so good! Plus I love using my blow torch. And also the word brulée. So so much. The sugar dissolves quickly so make sure that you sift on a fairly thick layer, and then blow torch it immediately after using a sweeping motion. The sugar will melt and look like it has disappeared - keep burning! It will bubble and caramelise after this and be all golden brown and delicious. 

I prepared the dough and then while it was resting, used this time to prep the lemon curd and rhubarb, so by the time the cooked cases were cooled, everything was ready to go!

As usual if you try this recipe we would love to see your attempts - please use the hashtag #distantkitchens on instagram so that you can add to both mine and Stacy's version! 

 

 

Bruléed Lemon and Rhubarb tart
-Makes Eight 10 cm/4 inch tarts-

Adapted from The Cook and Baker 

Pastry Cases
250g (2 cups) All-purpose flour
55g (1/4 cup) sugar
pinch of salt
200g (7oz) cold butter, cubed
50ml (1 3/4 fl oz) water

Lemon Curd
150ml (2/3 cup) Lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
125g (2/3 cup) sugar
pinch of salt
225g (2 sticks, or 1 cup) butter, at room temperature

Rhubarb
3 stalks of rhubarb, trimmed
3 Tbsp sugar
 

- PROCESS -

PASTRY

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sifted flour, sugar and salt. Add the cubes of butter one at a time, and mix until it is the consistency of sand. Add the water a small amount at a time, and mix until it forms a cohesive dough. 

Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly until the mixture comes together. Flatten into a rectangle, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and rest in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, or overnight. Use this time to prepare the lemon curd and rhubarb.

Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Lightly grease your tart tins - I prefer fluted tart tins with removable bottoms. 

On a floured surface, roll out the rested pastry to approximately 4mm (1/8 inch) thick. Line the tart tins. Cover and rest in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. 

Line each tart tin with crumpled baking paper and a blind baking material such as rice or beans. Bake the tart shells for 15 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to colour. Remove the paper and beans, and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. 

RHUBARB

Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the rhubarb into 5cm (2 inch) lengths. Place on the prepared tray, and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pieces are just tender enough to yield to a knife. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack covered with a paper towel to drain and cool.

LEMON CURD

In a large glass bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the butter. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk frequently for 10-15 minutes until the curd is very thick, and reads 82c/180f on a sugar thermometer. Another test for thickness is if it coats the back of the spoon to the extent that if you run your finger down the back of the spoon, it leaves a very well defined trail. 

Remove from the heat, and whisk in the butter a cube at a time, until fully incorporated. Store in a sterile glass jar until cool/you are ready to use it. Will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks if you wanted to make it in advance. 

ASSEMBLY

Slice the cooled rhubarb lengthways. Fill the bottom of each tart case with the sliced rhubarb. Spoon over the lemon curd, and smooth with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. 

Prepare blow torch. Sift a layer of icing sugar over the surface of a tart, then using the blow torch in slow sweeping motions, torch until the sugar melts, then caramelises. Repeat with each tart until done. Serve immediately. 

If you were wanting to prepare these ahead of time, prepare each component individually, then assemble just before serving. 

Head over to 27th and Olive to see Stacy's version of this tart! 

Orange Thyme Cake


 

Another episode of distant kitchens! We decided to go with cake this time! I'm so, so excited to continue on with this wee collab with Stacy and see what it brings us. Yet again we managed to come up with totally different things to each other - I had one big cake whereas Stacy had an entire entourage of baby ones! 

What better place to get a cake recipe than Tessa Huff's book 'Layered'. I have had the book for a while, and was so excited to finally make something from it! It is the most incredible book, and Tessa is not only super lovely, but INSANELY talented! If you haven't checked the book out already I really can't recommend it enough, it has one of everything - you will always be able to find a cake for every occasion in there! 

We chose an Orange and Thyme cake. And we chose well! I would never have thought to put thyme in a cake, but it just goes so well with the orange. The cake is comprised of a brown sugar buttermilk cake, brushed with orange and thyme syrup, filled with a raspberry buttercream, and finished with an orange glaze. The original recipe called for blood oranges but as they are not in season at the moment, both Stacy and I subbed regular oranges. I also added a little raspberry juice to the glaze to give it the lovely pink colour. 

The original recipe called for a swiss meringue buttercream, but I just so happened to have a batch of German buttercream (which is based on a pastry cream and is a little less common than our friend swiss buttercream) in the fridge, so I used that instead, and it seemed to work beautifully! I am a huge fan of German buttercream, as it isn't too intensely buttery, and it stands up super well to heat! We used it for our wedding cake and I am so glad we did! Zero meltage. I added raspberry puree to most of the buttercream and used that to fill the cake, then reserved some unflavoured white buttercream to use on the outside of the cake. If you prefer to use a swiss buttercream, you can find Tessa's recipe here, or the one that Stacy used on her blog.

A quick tip - when making the glaze for the top of the cake, make sure that you make it a lot thicker than you think you will need! It runs a lot further than you would think, particularly if it is a warm day. 

The buttercream recipe makes a fair amount so you will likely have a little left over depending on how thickly you frost your cake (I had about a cup and a half) - however it freezes amazingly so I always like to keep some in the freezer for another time. I like to make the pastry cream for the buttercream while the cake is cooking so that they both have time to cool.

A wee note about leftovers - the syrup is AMAZING as a drink in a little soda water. 

Enjoy! And please don't forget, if you give this a go to use the hashtag #distantkitchens when you share your creation! 

 

 

 

Orange and Thyme cake
- Makes one three layer six inch cake-

Adapted from 'layered'

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Cake
2 1/4 (295g) Cake Flour (I made my own using this)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cups (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (190g) Packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (210ml) buttermilk (I made my own with milk and 3/4 tsp lemon juice)

Thyme Syrup
1/2 cup (120ml) Freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
Small handful of fresh thyme

Raspberry German buttercream
3/4 cup (90g) fresh raspberries
2 tsp sugar
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
2 Tbsp Corn starch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
2 cups (450g) butter, cubed, at room temperature

Orange Glaze
1 1/4 cup (155g) sifted powdered sugar, plus more as needed to thicken the glaze
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp (20ml) fresh orange juice
Small amount of raspberry juice, or a few drops of pink food colouring

To Garnish
1/2 a pint/6 oz/170g Raspberries
Thyme Sprigs

- PROCESS -

BROWN SUGAR BUTTERMILK CAKE

Preheat oven to 350f/180c. Grease and flour three six inch cake tins. If making your own buttermilk, add the acid to the milk and set aside

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Add the orange zest and vanilla and beat until incorporated. 

While the butter is creaming, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Scrape down the bowl of the mixer. Add the eggs and yolk one at a time, mixing well after each addition. 

With the mixer running on low, add a third of the flour, alternating with half of the buttermilk. Ensure that you begin and end with the flour. Mix until just combined. 

Divide the batter between three cake tins. Place a small ramekin of water in the oven to help reduce doming. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or skewer inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in their tins before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. 

RASPBERRY GERMAN BUTTERCREAM

In a bowl, whisk together the 3/4 cup sugar, corn starch, egg, egg yolk and salt. In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the milk to just shy of a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan. 

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow dish or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold. If you are in a hurry, you can speed up this process by placing the custard mixture into a bowl, and placing the bowl into an ice bath, stirring frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip the custard mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat for a few minutes until smooth and silky. 

In a food processor or blender, combine the raspberries and 2 tsp sugar into a puree. If you would like it smooth, press it through a sieve over a bowl and discard the seeds. I chose to keep the seeds in as it looks more rustic. 

Reserve about a cup of the buttercream for the white outside of the cake. Combine the rest of the buttercream with the raspberry mixture.

ORANGE THYME SYRUP

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and orange juice. Add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for approx 6-8 minutes. Allow to cool, then strain to remove the thyme

ASSEMBLY

If you are wanting to use a turn table to help assemble the cakes, remember that for the final glaze, you will need to transfer the cake to the dish that you will be serving it on, as the glaze will drip down onto the plate, so ice the cake, then transfer it if needed before glazing.

Level off the cakes. Place the bottom layer on a turntable or cake plate, and brush liberally with the thyme syrup. Using an offset spatula, spread on approx. 3/4 cup of the raspberry german buttercream. Smooth down, and place the second layer on top. Repeat the process, brushing syrup on every layer, until the cake is stacked. Use your offset spatula to fill in the gaps between the layers with extra buttercream. Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Remove and roughly coat the outside of the cake with the white buttercream, either using a cake scraper or an offset spatula to smooth. 

Transfer the cake to the plate that you will be serving it on. To make the glaze, mix the orange juice and powdered sugar together to form a runny paste. If you would like the glaze to be pink, add either a drop of pink food colouring, or push a few raspberries through a sieve, adding the juice to the glaze. Add more icing sugar if necessary, to reach the desired consistency. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, coaxing it to drip down the sides a little. Decorate the top of the cake with Raspberries, and additional Thyme.

Head over to Stacys blog to see her finished product and process!