Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Brioche Peach Butts Revisited

That's right, I said peach butts. And if you can look at these and tell me that all you see are pastries or peaches then you have a much cleaner way of thinking then me or any of my friends, and therefore are probably not as fun. I made these a few years ago and kept insisting that they were peaches not butts, but after a while I gave in. It's more fun this way anyways.

But back to the pastry, these consist of fluffy brioche filled with peach schnapps spiked pastry cream, dipped in apricot jam and rolled in sugar. After sitting for a while the pastry cream and the jam work at the brioche from inside and out making it even more tender and flavorful. I got the original recipe from Roland Mesnier's Basic to Beautiful Cakes, but it took me a while to figure out that recipes in books can't always be trusted. I had to adjust the oven temperature by a whole lot in order to not burn these:


I was going to pose these beauties and take glamor shots, but they were ordered during the insanely hectic week before Christmas, and when I finally wrapped them all up all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I did save one for myself as a treat, but if you want to see what they should look like, you should go back to my original post. This was the moment I halfheartedly remembered to take a picture of the end product from this batch. As you can see, even photographers need to be fed.

Hungry Photographer

The recipes for both the peaches and the pastry cream are out there online in the book previews, which is why I didn't feel too badly about putting them here, but I'd still recommend you go and get the book. Even if some of the recipes need adjustments, it's full of great ideas and wonderful inspiration.

Brioche Peaches
adapted from Roland Mesnier's Basic to Beautiful Cakes

1.5 tsp salt
5 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 oz dry yeast (or 1 oz fresh or about 2.5 tsp)
5 large eggs
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2.5 cups pastry cream (recipe below)
2 cup of your favorite apricot jam. Preferably one without too many chunks.
Red food coloring
about 2 cups sugar for coating
If you're feeling fancy you can make stems, leaves, ladybugs, what have you out of marzipan to decorate, but it's not necessary and will not camouflage the fact that they still look like fuzzy butts.

- Combine the salt, sugar and 2 Tablespoons of warm water in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Stir up a bit to dissolve the salt and sugar, but don't worry about it too much. Add the flour and stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 Tablespoons of warm water and yeast and let stand until it dissolves and becomes foamy.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add 4 of the eggs one at a time. Continue to stir for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and very firm.
- With the mixer still on medium, carefully add the last egg and then the yeast mixture. Turn the mixer down to low and mix for 15 minutes. Everything will look sloppy and watery at first, but don't worry, it'll come together.
- With the mixer still on low, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, letting each addition get completely incorporated before you add more. Once it's all in there the dough should be glossy and elastic.
- Cover the bowl loosely with a piece of saran wrap and a clean kitchen towel and let it stand in a warm, draft-free spot for about an hour and a half, until it has doubled in size.
- Make the pastry cream while the dough is rising.
- Deflate the dough by flipping it a few times in the bowl, cover it again with the saran wrap and towel and place in the fridge overnight, or no longer then 24 hours. Don't put the saran wrap on too tight or you'll stop the dough from growing. I added it just to avoid a skin from forming on the dough.
- The next day, line one or two baking sheets with parchment or a silpat, and either roll the dough into walnut sized pieces or use a small scoop to make the dough balls (personally I like the scoop because it keeps the sizes fairly uniform) and place the balls on the baking sheets at least 2 inches apart, squashing them a little bit on top with your palm. Lightly drape the sheets with saran wrap and let stand in a warm spot until they've doubled in size. As the dough rises, it might not do so uniformly, so you may want to take a butter knife and reshape the balls a bit before baking.
- Here is where I GREATLY disagree with the recipe given. The recipe says to bake the balls at 425F for 12-15 min, but that seems wildly wrong and when I tried it, everything burned. After several batches and experimentation, I found that baking them at 350F for 11 - 12 minutes produces perfect results, every time.
- Let the balls cool completely and then using a serrated butter knife gut the suckers. Okay okay, carefully cut out quarter sized holes in the bottoms of the brioche balls, pull out and make a bit of room for the pastry cream. The recipe recommends freezing the brioche and using a melon baller, but I found that to be messy and time consuming.
- Fill each half with pastry cream using a pastry bag or a zippy with the corner cut off, match halves to eachother and squash them together, wiping away any filling that oozes out. You want a bit to ooze out because that means the two halves are nicely sealed together.
- Put about 2 cups of sugar into a shallow bowl and keep it close by.
- Bring the apricot jam to a boil in a small pan with a bit of water if it's too thick and push it though a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.
- Transfer 1/4 cup of the jam into a smaller bowl and add one or two drops of the red food coloring into it.
- With a pastry brush cover each "peach" with the plain jam, dabbing a bit of the colored jam on the sides to give it a slight blush, and immediately roll in the sugar. Attach stem, leaf, ladybug if using.
- You can eat it right away, but I find it to be better after it had a chance to sit for a bit. As long as it's in a tightly covered container and as long as you let it come to room temp before eating, you can even keep these in the fridge for a few days.

Pastry Cream
Also from same book with a few very minor tweaks

7 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp cornstarch
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs, or 4 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
2 Tbsp peach schnapps (or any other liquor you like)

- Stir together the sugar and cornstarch together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the eggs or egg yolks.
- Bring the milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly dribble 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Dribble another 1/2 cup of the milk into the egg mixture, again whisking constantly.
- Whisk the egg mixture back into the milk and return the pan to the heat. Bring to a full boil, whisking constantly until it has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla, salt, butter and liquor. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic is touching the surface of the pastry cream to avoid a skin from forming, and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.


Jessica's Dinner Party said...

I haven't had a chance to buy the book, but your post is tempting me to order it straight away!

Truly Smitten said...

omg! I remember these!!!! I had you make them for my bridal party! Everyone thought they were real peaches! Awww yum! hey, since I'm moving back to Chicago, we should GET TOGETHER! teach me some of your baking skillllllz! let's get together, k?

Anna said...

It's a deal! And congrats on getting back to Chi town :D

Unknown said...

hahaha I love how you call them Peach butts.

Joyti said...

O, those are so pretty.
And I have to thank you for the blackberry wine jam again...I used them for cupcakes, and the jam was perfectly delicious in them :)

Georgia said...


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