October 2, 2010

Chocolate Prune Brioche and Apple Coffee Cake

It has been a while since I baked bread with the HBin5/ ABin5 group, and I wouldn't be surprised if they wonder who I am when they see this post. Most of the group members have been consistently baking from the schedule and posting about, but I fell behind and I won’t go into all the reasons for it.
Last weekend, I was going through the baking schedule and realized the next set of breads on the baking schedule was brioche.

Of all the breads I have baked from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, the brioche and the buttermilk bread are my absolute favourites. Both these recipes are in a section of the book which I know I’m going to explore thoroughly. Even though I didn’t have too much time to spare, I decided I just had to bake along this time. After all, all one needs to bake these breads is 5 minutes (well, more or less)!

Since I had already made the Brioche à Tête and the Brioche With Chocolate Ganache, I thought I’d try the Prune And Chocolate Bread and the Apple Brioche Cake this time.
I often do two different types of bread at a time, at least the first time I bake them. This is because halving the recipes from ABin5 means there’s usually enough dough to make two smallish loaves of bread, so I experiment as I don’t have to worry about wasting too much in case no one likes the bread.

The Chocolate Prune Bread (page 219) got chosen because I had prunes in the fridge that needed to be used up, and I never need an excuse to use chocolate.

As for the Brioche Cake, I have been meaning to try that for some time. The recipe in the ABin5 book actually is for an Apple And Pear Coffee Cake (page 223) and apple and pear together do make a very good combination in may bakes.
Of course, I adapted the recipes to adjust to our tastes ingredients available in my kitchen.

In today’s post this means that I used my previously adapted brioche recipe. I also substituted 2 3/4 cup of all purpose flour with whole wheat flour and increased the dry active yeast by 1/2 tbsp.
This does make the brioche a bit heavier than if one would use only all purpose flour, but I still found the brioche very good with that brioche-like texture.

Chocolate Prune Brioche
(Adapted from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes, page 219)

As mentioned above I did use whole wheat flour in this brioche. Normally, I use 1: 3 ratio of whole wheat flour to all purpose flour, but this time I tried using 2 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all purpose flour to make the brioche dough.

I used half of this dough which equals about 1 pound of dough (against the advised 1 1/2 pounds), and so used 1/2 cup chopped prunes and 1/2 cup of chopped chocolate. I used milk instead of eggwash to glaze my brioche.

I did use milk chocolate as I wanted to save my dwindling stock of semi-sweet chocolate for a rainy day, or least till I could stock up. If you have young children milk chocolate is good, but I think older children and adults would prefer semi-sweet chocolate.

The book suggests baking this dough as a loaf, but I chose to bake them in smaller brioche moulds. This recipe gave enough dough to make 3 brioches which baked in about 30 minutes at 180C (350F).
Each of my brioches can be comfortably shared between two people.
You can find the original recipe here.


I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed with this brioche recipe and the substitution of whole wheat flour worked very well. Of course, I must admit that the brioche made without whole wheat flour has a much better texture and taste, but it really is a matter of taste and preference.
The prunes and chocolate made for interesting flavour additions to the brioche, though I still prefer my brioche plain. Again, it is a matter of preference.

I would certainly recommend trying out the recipe because it is good. You could leave out the prunes or chocolate or try other substitutions of choice.

Apple Coffee Cake
(Adapted from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes, page 223)

This coffee cake is adapted from the Apple And Pear Coffee Cake in the book. I had planned on using both apples and pears, but when I cut open the one pear I had on hand it was rotten in the middle. So I just went ahead and made it with apples.

I used the remaining 1 pound of brioche dough and I added lemon zest (instead of orange) and cinnamon to the sliced apples for apple pie-like flavour. I coarsely powdered my rolled oats and used chopped cashewnuts in the streusel.
You can find the recipe with a detailed pictorial tutorial to make this cake on the ABin5 site.

I would definitely recommend using a cake tin with a removable bottom while making this cake. Zoe has used the kind of cake tin I used, and she turns over her cake tin to unmould the cake. My streusel topping was a bit crumbly and if I had tried that, I would have had to serve my apple coffee cake with the streusel topping on the side!
I managed to juggle and coax my cake out of the tin without accident in the end.

The other thing to do for a really good cake would be to use a mixture of apple varieties for the filling. An apple that cooks and becomes soft with apple that retains its shape after baking would be ideal. Too much apple mushiness can cause the brioche to become wet and pasty leaving a feeling of uncooked brioche in the mouth.
Oh, and do use pears if you have them.


We liked this coffee cake-like bread. I love apple pie and just loved that flavour and taste in this bread/ cake. Of course, one great thing about apple pie is its crust and I’m not saying that this bread is anything like that, but the combination of apple pie filling and this lovely brioche is worth trying out, more so as it involves very little effort.

If you would rather not use whole wheat, you will find that your coffee cake will have a lovely cake-like texture to it.
This coffeecake is excellent for brunch, an after school snack with milk or with coffee or tea. Serve it slightly warm.

Both these breads are being YeastSpotted!

On an aside, my apologies to all of you who have sent in submissions for Sugar High Fridays: Bite Size Dessert which I hosted. I had promised the round-up would be up on the 27th of September, but I was unable to do so.
I shall have the round-up posted later this week for sure.

There was one submission that landed in my Spam folder, which I deleted before I realized it was a SHF submission. I have replied to all the SHF e-mails I have received. So if you have sent me something for SHF and not yet heard from me so far, then please resend me your submission as it must have been your mail that landed in my Spam folder.
Thank you.


healy said...

Sounds like a perfect fall flavor combination!

sklitebite@yahoo.in said...

The Brioche look cute and sounds healthy with the wholewheat flour in it.
Love the Apple Coffee cake, with lemon zest and cinnamon the flavors must be heady. Must try for me. thanks Aparna for sharing this wonderful post.

Carolyn™ said...

Looks good, another I will have to make :)

Cathy (breadexperience) said...

Very creative flavor combinations. I agree that no excuse is ever needed to use chocolate.

Beautiful photos. So glad you're baking with us again.

Rev said...

Ma'am, I simply love all your recipes. There is not even 1 that I haven't liked and your pictures are outstanding & very inspiring. I am not sure if I will be able to do even 10% of what you do but I will be very happy if you visit my blog http://www.relishdelish.blogspot.com
I started it only a couple of days back so please do suggest for betterment. We are also from palakkad & I told my mother how perfectly described your recipes are.

Regards, Revathy

Hari Chandana said...

Wowww.. yummyyyy :)

anubhavati said...

Yeah I know how it feels when you havent baked in some time...Your broiche looks awesome and fluffy almost feel I can put my hands and pick it up and bite in to it,..and so does your Apple Coffee Cake...YUm...must have smelt like heaven in your entire home!!!


Foodie Ann said...

Loved the apple crumb cake...You have done it beautifully...:)

Elwood said...

Prunes and chocolate, sounds yummy. Both of your breads looked great too.

Michelle said...

We love prunes and I have made Prune Muffins for my husband. But you right WW flour does make baked goods a bit on the heavy side. However, I've not noticed a different in texture with using White Whole Wheat Flour.

The Apple Coffee Cake looks incredible! Love the topping used and anything apple is always one of my favorites!

Tamanna said...

wow what a great combination i never tried. that cake looks scrumptious Aparna! thnks for recipe

Sweet Artichoke said...

Yum, both recipe look delicious! I love your apple cake, it looks crunchy on the top and moist inside!

Priya said...

Brioche and cake looks gorgeous and stunning..

Guff said...

Nice to have you posting again. I always enjoy your variations. We have chocolate covered prunes bits (there is a marketing movement afoot to refer to them as dried plums rather than prunes, to avoid the connection to costive elderly folks) which might be good.

Zita said...

That Apple cake is looking sooo strusel-ly delicious ;)

Junglefrog said...

That looks so beautiful! I've got to seriously make more bread myself... It's been too long!

Tweety's kitchen said...

I really like your blog. I'm now aware of some great recipes in the ABin5 book. I've never had prunes & chocolate in a bread. Sounds yummy! Your pictures look so professional. I love your little brioche molds. They'd be perfect for my husband and I. Looking forward to future posts!!

Judy's Bakery & Test Kitchen said...

Wow, that looks just fabulous. I will have to find that coffee cake recipe and make a note to use a springform pan.

LOVE your blog!