Apple- and Pear-Stuffed Brioche

September 19, 2014

Every other Friday, Yossy Arefi from Apt. 2B Baking Co. shares dessert projects that demand a little extra time and effort. Because your weekends should always be sweet.

Today: A cozy fruit-packed, streusel-topped loaf to get you out of bed on chilly fall mornings.

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I am a big fan of hosting brunch at my apartment. It's a meal that I find infinitely more enjoyable at home, where it can be long and loungy and I never have to wait for a table, hangriness growing. 

There are some rules I like to stick to when I am creating the perfect brunch menu: First and foremost there must be coffee, and lots of it. Then, maybe some juice and a little hair of the dog: mimosas for the sweet fans and bloody Marys for savory folks. To eat, there should be something eggy (maybe cheesy too), something fresh, and something so carby and delicious that you ignore everything else on the table to eat a big slice of it first.

More: A frittata is a great addition to the brunch table. Here's how to make one without a recipe.

This bread-pie hybrid is that kind of treat. It is made from fluffy brioche dough filled with gently spiced apples and pears and it is the kind of cozy baked good that I can never get enough of in the cooler fall months. You can even prepare the dough the night before which makes it pretty quick and easy to put together in the morning if you’re the kind of person who likes to plan ahead.  

Brioche Stuffed with Apples and Pears

Makes 1 large loaf

For the brioche:

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup water at 110º F
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

4 teaspoons sugar
8 tablespoons butter

Put the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir gently to combine. Let it sit until it bubbles, about 5 minutes.

Add the flour and salt, then use the dough hook to stir the flour into the yeast mixture on low speed. Stop the mixer a few times and use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. The dough will be very shaggy and dry.

Add the eggs. Mix gently to combine, then add the sugar. Turn the mixer up to medium-low and mix until the dough forms a ball, about 4 minutes.

Turn the mixer back down to low and mix the butter into the dough in 2-tablespoon chunks, beating until each piece is almost completely incorporated before adding the next piece. Make sure to take this step nice and slowly to ensure that the dough is evenly mixed and kneaded. 

Stop periodically to pull the dough from the hook and scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing. The dough will be very soft and billowy. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, continue to knead the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

More: How much do you know about butter? Here's everything you ever wanted to know. 

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and let it rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes. Knead the dough in the bowl a few times to release the air, then cover the bowl and transfer it to the refrigerator. Check on the dough every half hour or so and gently knead it in the bowl a few times until it is chilled and stops rising, about 2 hours. Let the dough rest at least overnight and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

For the filling:

1 pound mixed apples and pears, firm but ripe
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour

Peel, core, and slice the apples and pears into 1/4-inch slices. Put the sliced fruit in a large bowl and toss gently with the lemon juice. Add the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean seeds, and pinch salt. Toss gently to combine.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fruit and sauté gently until it has softened slightly and the fruit juices have thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the fruit to a bowl to cool.

When the fruit has cooled, add the flour and stir gently to combine.

On a piece of lightly floured parchment paper, roll the brioche dough out into a roughly 10 x 15-inch rectangle about 1/3-inch thick. Don't worry too much if the rectangle isn't perfect. Move the parchment paper and dough to a baking sheet to finish assembly.

Pour the apple mixture down the center of the dough. Use a pastry wheel or kitchen scissors to cut the dough surrounding the filling into diagonal strips about 1 1/2 inches wide. Make sure to leave a border of uncut dough around the filling.

Fold the dough strips over the filling, alternating sides so the dough looks braided. Brush any loose flour from the parchment paper and surface of the dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until puffy and almost doubled in size, about 40 minutes. While the dough is rising, prepare the streusel.

For the streusel:

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft

1 egg for egg wash

In a small bowl stir the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. Add the butter and mix it in with your fingers until crumbs form.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350° F. Whisk the egg and gently brush it over the dough. Scatter the streusel over the top evenly -- you many have to break it up with your fingers a bit. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake the brioche until golden brown and cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Let the bread cool slightly, then dig in.

More: Streusel makes pretty much anything infinitely better, including these cinnamon bun cupcakes.

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Photos by Yossy Arefi

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Irina Motoc
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  • Etta
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    Natalia Woolhouse
  • Isha
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at &


Irina M. October 1, 2014
Hi Yossy,

Your delicious recipe has been nominated as one of the "Top 100 Best Apple Recipes of 2014 for National Apple Month". You and your readers can vote for it here: (position #79 - random order).

Happy National Apple Month! :)
Rumi143 September 20, 2014
The link goes to Apple and Peach Crumb Pie.
Etta September 19, 2014
Making the brioche dough now and there doesn't seem to be nearly enough liquid. I ended up adding an additional 2/3 c. water a little bit at a time because I was worried that the initial brick of dough was going to ruin the motor of my KitchenAid.
Yossy A. September 20, 2014
Hi Etta, I'm so sorry! There was a typo in the recipe. It should read 2 cups of flour not 4.
Etta September 20, 2014
Ah! That makes sense. I ended up with a reasonably-nice feeling dough by adding more water and an extra egg. I'll just use about half of it for finishing the recipe and bake up the rest as brioche :-)
Etta September 21, 2014
This recipe turned out fantastic! Will definitely be making it again and plan to experiment with other fillings.
Natalia W. September 19, 2014
the recipe link goes to a pie! not the struesel!
Isha September 19, 2014
Can the dough be made without a stand mixer?
Yossy A. September 20, 2014
Hi Isha, I haven't tried it, but I imagine the dough could be made in a large bowl, but it is very sticky and you really do need to knead it for about 10 minutes once the butter has been incorporated. For that step, you might try leaving the dough in the bowl and stirring it with a wooden spoon until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If your arms are up for it, I say go for it.