As March turns into April and we turn our clocks forward to “save time” I was surprised to look at the calendar and see that another holiday is upon us. Time is flying and there seems to be no saving it. Easter is but a few days away and this year Easter Sunday also chimes in Tom’s birthday.
This time last year we were celebrating Tom’s 40th with such a bang and had big plans for new adventures in a new country. As I waited for the lights to turn green, turning the music up a notch, I could not help but think it all seems so far away now. Was it only last year?
I looked out of the window of my Golf. Grey skies and an early morning Spring mist floated across the green fields, playing hide and seek with the blooming trees.
This time last year I wasn’t expecting to experience my beloved German Spring. But here I am and getting very excited to see the first of the crocuses, tulips and forsythia blooming into their glorious burst of colors.
I wasn’t expecting to flavor the juicy fresh Spring produce as it comes into season – because where I was going it was available throughout the year. It’s actually the experience of eagerly waiting for something to come into season and then savoring it with honest pleasure, which I was going to miss the most. But here I am and my Farmer’s Market is slowly bringing the first asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries and a variety of other delicious produce. I feel like a little girl who can hardly wait to open her birthday presents.
As the lights turned green again, I smiled – things change so fast, time is transient and not meant to be saved. Memories on the other hand can be and filed away to be used at a another time.
One can feel that it’s Easter break in Weimar. There is a slight tranquility on the streets and as schools and the university take a break, the pressure to get anywhere quickly has disappeared. Soeren is at his grandparents, Tom is in Vienna and I am feeling guilty that I am liking the serenity of it all.
There is enough time to plan a lovely birthday and Easter day on Sunday. It’ll have to start with a nice, long and luxurious brunch, which means these brioches will have to be on the list. Of course these sweet red current and marzipan swirls and maybe even these quark cheesecake squares topped with lemon curd will have to be on part of the sweet buffet. Classic are the hot cross buns and wonderfully piquant these wasabi salmon egg rolls. Some of these mustard eggs will make a great Easter lunch or maybe even theses creamy veal and mushroom pie with potato crust. A tangy lemon meringue pie for dessert maybe!
These brioches are totally buttery and utterly delicious, with an addition of quark into the dough to intensify the flavor of butter. Make sure that the ingredients and chilled so that butter is integrated into the dough without melting and separating. Saffron adds an incredible highlight to the brioche making it aromatic and silky.
Printable version of recipe here
425g strong white flour, place in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes
330g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 envelope active dry yeast
good pinch of saffron strands
60ml warm water approx 30 degrees C
5 eggs, cold
1 tablespoon quark
pinch of salt
- Place the cold butter cubes in a bowl and with an electric beater, beat until the butter is smooth and creamy, with no lumps. Scrape the butter into a smaller bowl and set aside in the refrigerator until required.
- Dissolve yeast in a clean bowl, with 1 teaspoon sugar and the saffron water. Using the kneading hooks of your electric beater add the remaining sugar, quark, eggs, salt and flour. Mix all the ingredients on low speed until everything is nicely blended. Scrape the bowl as you go along.
- Turn up the speed of the beaters to medium and continue beating for another 5-7 minutes. The dough should be very sticky, soft and supple. You’ll have to keep stopping and scrapping it from the sides and from the hooks.
- Add the cold creamed butter in several portions into the dough. Push the pieces right into the dough and beat well to integrate it without and lumps into the saffron dough. You’ll have to keep stopping and scrapping it from the sides and from the hooks.
- Scrape the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a cloth and refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavors to really intermingle well.
- Butter your brioche, muffin or loaf pans generously.
- Scrape the dough out onto a nicely floured surface and punch it down with your hands. It will still be slightly sticky. Divide it into about equal 10-12 portions for brioche/muffin pans or shape into 2-3 loaves for the loaf pans.
- For individual brioches, pinch off a smaller piece of each portion. Taking the larger portion and in the cup of your hand tightly roll the dough into a tight ball. Do the same with the smaller portion. Place the larger dough ball into the brioche or muffin form and then put the smaller portion on top. Gently pinch the sides to secure it. Repeat this procedure until all of the portions are formed.
- For the loaf pans, shape the portions into a loaf and place into the loaf forms.
- Place the forms on a baking tray, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let the brioches rise for 2 hours in a warm and dry place.
- In the meantime, prepare the egg wash by beating the egg with a 1 teaspoon of water.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Brush the egg wash gently over each brioche. Be careful not to get any on the forms.
- Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until the tops are golden. Cool on a rack.
- You can enjoy the brioche warm or at room temperature.
- I love it fresh with butter with a variety of jams, jellies and preserves or with a drizzle of honey. A day or two later it’s perfect toasted.
- Stale brioche make awesome French toast or a brioche pudding like this banana brioche pudding with baileys caramel cream.
Taste-wise this is a wonderfully rich brioche with a fluffy and light texture. The saffron not only lends its vivid sunny yellow color but provides an aromatic and subtle flavor to the brioche. It is the perfect option for your Easter brunch and will leave all your guests in awe.A few of these golden delicious brioches are on it's way to Rachel at Tangerine's Kitchen, who is hosting this month's Bread Baking Day - BBD #28. Rachel has chosen the theme Buns and I think these would be a great addition.
So what are you cooking up for Easter?
Later this week I will be presenting a lovely decadent but light dessert to highlight your Easter meal. Chocolate of course, because chocolate cannot be missed at Easter.
You might like these ideas from WFLH:
|Sour Cream Cherry Cake||Matcha White Chocolate Pralines with Pistachios||Hot Cross Buns|
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