The French are geniuses when it comes to pastry. And I don’t mean that they’re technically, traditionally pastry wizards (which they are); I mean that they are wonderfully inventive when it comes to creating spectacular pastries out of foods that less imaginative cooks might deem unusable. Did you know that the French translation of bread pudding, gateau plubelle, is actually “garbage cake”? And that French toast, pain perdu, translates to “lost bread”? And these are both among our most popular offerings at Flour.
Twice-baked brioche, or bostock as it is called in some bakeries, is a pastry that uses up day-old brioche loaves. Slices of rich, eggy brioche are dipped in almond-scented syrup, slathered with almond cream, showered with sliced almonds, and baked till golden. The buttery, crunchy, sweet result is finished off with a flourish of confectioners’ sugar. As with other items on our menu that we’ve created to use up excess bread or pastry, we’ve found this treat so popular that we often end up baking extra loaves of our popular brioche to ensure that we have enough unsold day-old loaves to make these mouthwatering pastries.
- Yield: 6 SLICES
- ¾ cup (150 g) vanilla sugar
- ¾ tsp almond extract
- 1 (9-in/23 cm) Basic Brioche, preferably a day or two old
- 1¾ cups (390 g) Frangipane, at spreadable room temperature
- 2 cups (220 g) sliced blanched almonds
- ¾ cup (35 g) confectioners’ sugar for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan, combine the vanilla sugar and ¾ cup/180 ml water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and add the almond extract. Pour the mixture into a shallow heatproof container and let cool at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is no longer piping hot.
- Trim off the ends of the brioche loaf, then cut the loaf into six slices, each about 1¼ in 3 cm thick. Quickly dip both sides of one slice in the sugar syrup, giving it a slight squeeze as you remove it from the syrup to keep it from getting too soggy. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining slices. Using the offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread about ¼ cup 55 g of the frangipane evenly over each slice and place the slices back on the baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart on the sheet. Sprinkle each slice with an equal amount of the sliced almonds, pressing them slightly into the frangipane so they don’t fall off. (At this point, the brioche can be covered with plastic wrap and stored overnight in the fridge, then baked directly from the fridge.)
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the almonds and frangipane are golden brown on the edges and pale golden brown in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, or until cool enough to remove. Using the sieve, sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar and serve.