Little brioche à tête are a mark of the French breakfast table, but few French people in their right mind would make them when there’s always a good neighbourhood boulangerie within walking distance. Given that many of us aren’t quite so lucky, here’s a slightly simpler breakfast bun that’s easy to make at home.
- Yield: 18 small buns
- 1 quantity brioche dough, at the end of its second rise in the fridge
- egg wash
- demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- 130 ml maple syrup, clear
- honey, or house syrup
- Take the brioche dough out of the fridge and shape it into 18 little buns. Place on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper, leaving 5 cm gaps between each one. Or, if you’d prefer your finished buns to have a flatter base and a more muffin-like top, you can drop them into the cups of a muffin tin, well-greased with butter.
- Put the sheet of buns inside a large plastic bag, well-inflated with air so that the bag doesn’t come into contact with the dough, and leave on the worktop to rise again for between 1½ and 2 hours until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.
- Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash without applying any pressure – otherwise you’ll knock the air out of them. Take a sharp pair of scissors and make two snips in the top of each bun to form a deep cross that cuts almost halfway down through the dough. Sprinkle over a little demerara sugar and bake for 13–15 minutes. They’ll open up like tulips as they bake. Test them by lifting one very gently and taking a good look at its base. If it’s an even golden brown, your buns are ready.
- Take the buns out of the oven and, while still hot, use a pastry brush to coat them with maple syrup. It might seem excessive but use all the syrup. Cool for a few minutes before serving. Our Winter Fruit Compôte is to die for with these or serve with butter, jam, preserves and/ or thick yoghurt.