We only make a few of these each morning, and as soon as they come out of the oven, they are snatched up by waiting customers. When the first Flour book came out, there was an outcry from these loyal cinnamon-cream devotees because the recipe was not included. It wasn’t an intentional omission; in my mind, this pastry was something we kind of threw together each morning and thus it didn’t really need a recipe. Clearly I was wrong.
We were inspired by a recipe for a similar pastry in Nancy Silverton’s book, Pastries from the La Brea Bakery, called Viennese Cream Brioche, which she describes as being so sublime that it made Julia Child cry. With that description, how could we resist trying our hand at making them? The recipe uses ingredients that we always have in our fridge—brioche dough, pastry cream, crème fraîche—and puts them together in a way that makes quite an addictive treat. Be generous with the cinnamon-sugar that is showered on top; it’s what makes these so crunchy and irresistible.
- Yield: 8 PASTRIES
- ½ batch Basic Brioche dough
- 1 cup (240 ml) Pastry Cream
- 1½ cups (360 ml) crème fraîche
- 1¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, and place one rack in the center and one rack in the top third of the oven. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Shape the brioche dough into a rectangle about 8 in/20 cm long, 4 in/10 cm wide, and 1 in/2.5 cm thick. Using a ruler and a knife, cut the rectangle into eight 2-in/5-cm squares by first dividing it in half horizontally and then dividing it vertically into strips 2 in/5 cm wide. Each square of dough should weigh about 31⁄2 oz/100 g.
- Stretch each dough square into a circle about 5 in/12 cm in diameter as if you are making a small pizza. Stretch the inner part of the circle so that it is quite thin and shape the edge of the circle to create a rim. The center should be almost paperthin and the finished circle should look like you are making the crust for a mini deep-dish pizza. Place the brioche circle on one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat with the remaining dough squares, spacing them 2 to 3 in/5 to 7.5 cm apart and using both baking sheets.
- Using the back of a spoon, spread 2 tbsp of the pastry cream over the base of each brioche circle, spreading it evenly and leaving the rim bare. Place about 3 tbsp of the crème fraîche in the center of each brioche circle and gently spread it, again covering the base of the circle and leaving the rim untouched. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle the mixture evenly over both the crème fraîche center and the rim of each circle.
- Bake the pastries, switching the baking sheets between the racks and rotating them back to front about halfway during baking, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are medium golden brown along the edge. (Sometimes the crème fraîche spills out over the edge of the circle. Don’t fret; when the pastries come out of the oven and cool a bit, you can scoop spillover back into the center.) Let the crème fraîche set and the brioche cool on the baking sheets for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Cinnamon-creams should be served the day they are made; they don’t hold very well overnight because of their creamy centers.