Dear Fellow Foodies:
Fall has shown up quickly and squash, pears, apples and root vegetables are starting to become available at the markets. I had a great visit to Seattle (including a trip to Pike Place Market) a few weeks back and was completely inspired. One of the most delicious pastries I had was at Macrina Bakery in Seattle. It was a velvety brioche ring filled with fresh sautéed spinach, fromage blanc, goat cheese, garlic and Parmesan sprinkled over the top. Served warm with a great dark roast coffee it was the ultimate treat on a rainy afternoon. The following is a brioche recipe I use quite often. To make the rolls you will roll into balls, flatten slightly and top with the cheese mixture prior to baking. This would be great to make for the day after Thanksgiving to give as a gift to your departing guests or just serve the next morning as breakfast with your favorite coffee or tea.
Cheese Filled Brioche Rolls
1/3 Cup Warm Water
1/3 Cup Warm Whole Milk
5 teaspoons (2 envelopes) dry yeast
3 3/4 cup All Purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar
12 ounces Unsalted Butter – room temperature
1/2 cup fromage blanc
1/2 cup fresh chevre goat cheese (soft) I like Mamma Terra
2 Tablespoons fresh garlic – mashed
2 Cups Fresh spinach – washed, stemmed, wilted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Mix the fromage blanc, goat cheese, garlic with cooked and cooled spinach. Reserve (you can make this up to 3 days ahead). The Parmesan is used right before baking.
To make the Brioche: Place the warm milk and water in a bowl. Add the yeast to the milk and water mixture. Wait for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom. Add the flour, salt and mix. Add the eggs, one at a time allowing the egg to incorporate before adding the next egg. Add the sugar and mix. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time and allow to incorporate into the dough before adding the rest of the butter. The dough will look loose, that is OK. Cover the bowl and allow to rise one hour at room temperature. Punch down the dough, cover and allow to rise one more hour at room temperature. Punch down dough again then cover and put into refrigerator overnight to allow the dough to retard and flavor to develop. When you are ready to make the rolls, remove from the refrigerator and form the dough into balls the size of a golf ball. Place onto a floured surface and flatten slightly; pressing with the back of a large spoon, place the cheese mixture into the center, sprinkle with an herb salt and allow to rise 2 hours. Sprinkle with a small amount of Parmesan cheese just before putting into the oven. Bake in a 400F pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes. Check rolls after 20 minutes. You want these brown but not extremely dark.