You know how it is, you read blog post after blog post and something pops into your head and then bothers you until you actually make it. Fester, fester, fester hahaha Whether it is a recipe you found, whether something gave you an idea for something or someone mentioned something quite a few times that you kept running into it and there was just not avoiding it. Such said thing was/is the bostock. Our dear David Lebovitz had mentioned it a few times and it sounded just way to delicious to not try! He does not give a recipe, but that is because you don’t need one. You need to have two and combine them! haha Don’t run away, it’s not complicated! He lives in Paris, where one can literally find everything one desires from the entire world. I, on the other hand, got laughed at when I asked for such bostock in a boulangerie here…. They asked me where have I seen this and what is it? The moment I said “Paris”, I was told that we’re not in the North and we don’t do things like that here…. ok, I am sorry….. ?! Frankly, it wasn’t the best boulangerie in town, so maybe I should’ve lowered my expectations. It is just funny to see as an outsider the socio-political sentiments in the country expressed over a small slice of brioche…. (the endless debate over ‘pain au chocolat’ and ‘chocolatine’, anyone?! That always ends in “we agree to disagree”?) LOL
So, if Dorothy is not in Kansas any more, she can make Kansas come to her. The bostock is a simple slice of brioche, topped with almond paste, sprinkled with sliced almonds and baked/toasted in the oven. Simple delicacy. C’est tout! And yes, something so simple has been bothering me until now. I’ve been debating even buying some ready-made brioche from a bakery and just top it with my own almond paste, and as much as the brioches are amazing here, something is nagging me if I don’t make it myself! Gah, what is wrong with me?
I actually made brioche from scratch, brand new, again and then another fresh batch of almond paste just so I can have a slice of this. Who’s laughing now? Ha!
I have a recipe for brioche and for almond paste, but I will give them to you again here, because there are slight changes and I don’t want you to go running back and forth between 2-3 recipes….Also, this is half of my previous two recipes, so I did the math for you 🙂 The other change is that I proofed the brioche 3 times. Yes, it rose 3 times. So what I learnt is patience patience patience…. Maybe it took so long because my kitchen even besides the radiator is not the warmest place, but still….
I can say that I quite liked it, but it dried a bit by the second day. Duh. So, you can either dunk it in your tea or coffee and it will be like an almond biscotti, OR keep the brioche and toast a slice with the almond paste right before you need to serve it. It takes so little time to toast it once you have the brioche and the almond paste all done, that you can have this fresh every time.
*Note: Do not freak out that the amounts of milk and oil are not specified. That is because I did’t measure. Since I’m making half of the recipes here, half of the amounts would be 75 ml milk and 50 ml oil. I can tell you right now you won’t use all of it. It will depend on your flours, what type they are and what amount of each you’re adding. I added so little of each here, that I don’t know how I could’ve measured, it would’ve been confusing for me. Plus, I am sure you must understand it is very difficult to have your hands covered in sticky dough, trying to work it, adding bit by bit of milk/oil, plus measuring, plus remembering how much it all was in the end…. *sigh* I wish I had someone next to me taking those notes and measuring for me 😦 You just need the dough to come together…. it shouldn’t be too oily or too runny, of course… And as long as you reach that stage, it doesn’t matter whether you had more or less milk/oil than I or the next person did.
Ingredients for brioche:
50 gr quinoa flour
100 gr wholewheat flour (T110)
150 gr white flour (T65)
1 tsp instant dry yeast
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
1 pack vanilla sugar
2 small handfuls granulated sugar
1/8-1/4 tsp almond extract
some olive oil
some warm milk
1 egg, beaten for glaze
some sliced almonds for sprinkling on top
1. Mix the dry ingredients together and start adding the milk and oil a little bit at a time and kneading the dough to come together.
2. Just before it is perfectly together, transfer it to your floured work space and knead it until it comes to the ball shape. This moment is when you can add the almond extract and see whether it needs maybe more milk/oil because it accepted some of that flour on the work surface.
3. Transfer to a clean bowl and let it rise for 3h in a warm area. Cover directly with an oiled plastic wrap and cover with a tea towel.
4. When nicely doubled, take it out of the bowl, punch it down, fold it once or twice over, place it back in the bowl, cover it with the oiled plastic wrap, cover it over the bowl with another plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to rise over night.
5. In the morning, take it out of the fridge, let it come to something close to room temperature.
6. Take it out of the bowl, punch it down, fold over once and cut in 4 equal pieces.
7. Roll each piece to a stick the width of your index finger and make two rings of two pleated sticks together.
8. Place on a baking sheet, which you covered with parchment paper and let the brioche rise for another hour.
9. Preheat the oven to 200C/~400F.
10. After 1h, they should have risen and puffed up nicely, glaze them with the egg and sprinkle with shaved almonds. Bake for 20 odd minutes.
11. When nicely browned, take it out and let it cool.
Now, before you start laughing for the half egg in the almond paste, that is because I am making half a recipe! I am making here Dorie Greenspan’s almond paste. I don’t know if you remember when I was making it the last time for my Pear Tarte, I made the version from Smitten Kitchen. Deb’s used sliced almonds. Dorie uses ground almonds. Apparently my almonds were not as finely ground, as store bought, and as such and the almond paste is more chunky than the one when I’d grind the sliced almonds myself. So, Dorie’s uses one whole egg for the whole amount. Well, clearly I won’t need a whole egg. And since I never want to see a carton of beaten eggs ever in my life ever! (thank god Europe is spared of pasteurized eggs, thank you very much!), I can’t measure half an egg. They are all different. So, what did I do? The tried and true method of… you guessed it, eye balling it! haha I know you love me now! OK, beat the egg, and add slowly, bit by bit, and see how much you will need for it to come to a paste. The paste should be the consistency of soft beaten butter. Not runny by any means. It should be spreadable. It will set in the fridge, since it is butter, but just trying to paint you a picture what you’re aiming for. (hint hint: use the other half of the egg to glaze the brioches! It’s enough!)
Ingredients for almond paste:
60 gr ground almonds
40 gr unsalted butter, softer than room temperature
30 odd grams granulated sugar (the 1 pack of vanilla sugar is included)
2 tsp flour
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp white rum
1/2 of a beaten egg
1. Beat the butter with the sugar, till it’s creamy.
2. Add the almonds and whirr again, until they’re all incorporated.
3. Add the flour and whirr. It might get thick, so add the almond extract and the rum.
4. Slowly start adding the egg and beat after each addition.
5. Once the desired consistency is reached, transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Assembly of bostock:
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (feel free to use the same one you used for the brioche in the first place)
2. Once the brioche is cool and the almond paste is set, cut slices from the brioches, spread with the almond paste, and sprinkle with some sliced almonds. If you ran out of them, it’s not the end of the world.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly browned on top. You’re basically doing this to ‘cook’ the half egg inside hahaha whereas you can totally eat the almond paste by itself. (Oh come on, as if you haven’t done it so far!)
Enjoy with your morning coffee! Almond bliss! 😀