Saturday, 16 March 2013

Gâteau à la Crème

Good morning!

You can never have too much eggs and butter and this bread, or Gâteau à la Crème, is proof positive that more is better!

A delicious brioche bread crust holding a lemony custard - what could be better than that?

Bread Baking Babe Lien holds court as kitchen hostess this month and challenged us all to make this sweet breadie treat. Check out her post to see how you can participate!

My experience with the bread: I made the dough the night before in the food processor. I used a touch more flour as I was subbing AP for bread flour, then put the sticky dough into a bowl, let it stand on the counter for an hour (covered with plastic wrap) and then spend the night in the fridge. 
The next day I decided to hedge my bets and bake the breads in shallow tart pans (about 8 inches). 
For the creme fraiche, I used half yogurt and half cream cheese (room temp for easier blending). 
I glazed the rims with the leftover egg half from the dough and sprinkled with turbinado sugar. 
Most of the rise I got was in the oven, and I needed a little more time for the centres to set. These are breads that you have to keep an eye on, as every oven is different.

They are so totally delicious! My husband fell immediately in love with them. A slice of the gateau with a coffee makes the perfect breakfast. Yum! 

Gâteau à la crème
Serves 4-6 per small gateau
adapted from: Raymond Blanc "From Raymond Blanc's Kitchen Secrets".
over 2 hours preparation time, 10 to 30 mins cooking time
(overnight retarding of the dough is optional)

For the brioche dough
250 g. untreated strong plain flour
3.5 g sea salt
2 TBsp caster sugar
1 TBsp fresh yeast or 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3.5 free-range eggs, preferable organic (the other half egg will be used for the glaze)
150 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (cool room temperature)

For the crème filling (for two small gateaux, if you want to make 1 small gateau and 1 plain loaf, half it)
6 free-range egg yolks, preferably organic
60 g caster sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest
250 ml crème fraîche

For the glaze
1/2 egg, preferably organic
1/2 TBsp caster sugar
10 g (¾ oz) butter, cut into cubes (optional)
1/2 - 1 TBsp nibbed sugar, to decorate

Preparation method

1. For the brioche dough, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (keeping the yeast away from the salt as it will attack it and damage its ability to ferment), in an electric mixer bowl. Add the eggs and mix with a dough hook attachment for 5 minutes on low power until the eggs are completely incorporated (alternatively, place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together for 5 minutes).

2. Increase the speed of the machine or your stirring and mix for another 5 minutes until the dough comes away from the edge of the bowl. Then add the cubes of butter and continue to mix for 2-3 minutes until completely incorporated.

3. Remove the bowl from the machine, if using, then cover with clingfilm and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to prove, then chill the dough for a further hour (it will be easier to work with).

4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/360ºF.

5. Lightly flour a work surface and your hands. Take half of the brioche dough and bring it together with the palms of your hands to form a ball, then place it on a baking tray and flatten it slightly. Starting from the middle of the dough, gently press the dough flat and spread it out to form a circle to approx 24 cm ( 9,5 in) in diameter, but leave a 2 cm (1 in) gap from the edge as this will create the rim of the tart. Be careful not to stretch the dough and try to keep the base even in thickness. Use the second half of the dough for another gateau or make a small loaf from it.

6. Cover with lightly greased plastic and a clean tea towel and place the dough in the warm area for 25 minutes.

7. For the crème filling, mix the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice together in a large mixing bowl and gradually mix in the crème fraîche. Set aside.

8. For the glaze, brush the rim of the gateau with the egg yolk and sprinkle with the nibbed sugar and prick the base of the dough evenly with a fork to help the even cooking and rising of the dough. Pour 1/4 the crème mixture inside the rim of the dough of one gateau, sprinkle with the caster sugar and dot with the butter. Pour in the other 1/4 when the baking sheet is already in the oven, so you won't spill. (make the second one the same way)  and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the brioche has risen and the filling is set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool, then serve.

NB: For this recipe you will need a food processor with a dough hook attachment.

 The Bread Baking Babes