February 9, 2011
My kitchen has turned into an ocean of brioche. It’s everywhere, on the counter, in the fridge, in the freezer, in my bag to go to work, you can’t escape it. I’m trying to think of different ways to use this sliced brioche that is now a day old when I see a recipe for almond cream and a pastry called bostock. After reading about this treat, the only question I can ask myself is “How have I NEVER heard about this?!”
When you google “bostock”, you come upon the same thing with each result; people tried it in a bakery, or read about it, or heard about it, then asked where it has been their whole life, and then set about making it. I love this, how a pastry can come out of nowhere, surprise the heck out of you, then make itself a part of your life. Not to go off on one of my “beauty is everywhere” tangents, but food is sometimes overlooked when talking about cultures and life and sharing, and that’s a shame because everyone has very unique palates and dishes that feel like home, which can be shared even across language barriers. Okay, done.
In my research I learned that traditional bostock is dipped in almond syrup before being coated with cream and baked. Unfortunately, I found this after putting mine in the oven. Maybe next time.
The end product wasn’t pretty, because I decided to not follow instructions and not leave a border of bread around the cream, but my goodness gracious, it was good. So good, in fact, that I just wanted to stick my face in it, and then make a billion of them to give to everyone I know. Just when you think you could get bored of something, bostock comes along and saves the day.
Before signing off for today, I need to make a confession. Remember, yesterday, when I said that perhaps all the extra effort in brioche dough isn’t worth it? I’m officially eating my words, after sampling the brioche buns made with dough that needs crazy amounts of attention and ingredients. There is definitely a difference, and the extra steps are worth it if you have the time and energy. I’ll be posting that particular recipe on Friday morning! Be excited! And then be excited that I’ll talk about something other than brioche!
(Recipe adapted from Baking, From my Home to Yours)
Yields 1 ½ cups almond cream
¾ stick, or 6 tablespoons, unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup ground almonds (almond meal works as well)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons dark rum)
1. Using a stand mixer or a sturdy spoon, cream butter and sugar until smooth.
2. Add almonds and beat to incorporate them completely.
3. Stir in flour and cornstarch until flour disappears.
4. Add egg and beat mixture until homogenous.
5. Stir in vanilla extract (or rum).
Use immediately or store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.
**Dorie says you can even bake this as a custard in ramekins, and I found that the almond cream spilled over the edges and baked into delightful almond cookies. The possibilities are practically endless, guys!
As many thick slices (up to and including an inch thick) of stale, day-old brioche, or challah, as desired
[Optional step: Toast a handful of slivered almonds on a baking sheet for 5 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.]
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Spread two or three tablespoons almond cream on each slice of bread, making sure to leave an inch thick border of bread. The almond cream spreads. [Sprinkle with toasted almonds.]
3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cream looks set around the edges.
I would not try to store bostock, because it is simple to make as needed and heavenly out of the oven.