Author Notes: These little breakfast treats are inspired by the brioche with fruit and brie from a bakery called Canto 6 in my old neighborhood in Boston. I found myself missing the bakery so much the other day, I decided I just needed to bake my own goodies, reminiscent of theirs. I used Joanne Chang's basic brioche recipe as the base because she makes mad good brioche, and then I just built from there with the toppings I wanted. —fiveandspice
Makes: 8 circles
cups (315 g) all-purpose flour
cups (340 g) bread flour
teaspoons active dry yeast
1 Tbs. (80 g) sugar
tablespoon kosher salt
6 Tbs. (310 g) unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into about a dozen pieces
Filling and assembly
cups (About) ripe cherries, washed, stemmed, and pitted
pieces of Brie, each about 1 or 1.5-inch square and about 1/3-inch thick
the batch of brioche dough
- Combine the flours, yeast, sugar, salt, eggs, and 120 ml (1/2 cup) of room temp. water in the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once the ingredients have come together, mix on low speed for about 3 more minutes. The dough will seem very dry, it has to be because you’re going to be adding a whole lot of butter!
- Still mixing on low speed, add the butter one piece at a time, adding each new piece only after the previous piece has gotten fully mixed in and has disappeared into the dough. This will take a while and as you add more butter, the dough will start to smell marvelously like cake batter. Once all the butter has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl down then mix for 10 more minutes.
- At this point, give your mixer a 5 minute break to let its motor cool down just a little. Then, turn it up to medium speed and beat the dough until it becomes soft and a bit shiny, about 10 or 15 minutes. At first as you start to beat it it will look like there’s no hope for the dough, like it’s just a shaggy mess, but give it time and it will become smooth and silky as the mixer does its work. Once the dough starts to look smooth and silky, turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 1 more minute (the dough should make a slightly uncomfortable thwapping and slapping sound as it hits the sides of the bowl). Turn the mixer off and test the dough by pinching a little of it between your fingers and pulling it gently outward. It should stretch a bit towards you. If it breaks immediately, mix the dough for 2-3 more minutes.
- Transfer the dough in a big ball to a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, gently laying the plastic directly atop the surface of the dough. Put the dough into the refrigerator to proof overnight, or at least 6 hours. During this time it will only rise a little bit.
- Remove from the fridge when ready to use. The brioche circles require only half of this dough. The remaining half can be frozen for a week then thawed overnight in the fridge to make more goodies next week! You can also bake the second half into a brioche loaf (good for sandwiches) by shaping it and placing it in a loaf pan to rise for 4 hours, then baking at 350F until deeply golden, about 35 minutes.
Filling and assembly
- To prepare the cherries, combine the whole pitted cherries with the honey in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until they start to bubble, then turn the heat to low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, until the cherries are soft and soupy. Allow to cool completely. (This can be done the night before baking when you have to make the brioche dough anyway.)
- To make the brioche circles, divide the half-batch of brioche dough into 8 equal pieces. Flatten each piece and stretch each into a circle about 4 or 5 inches across. They should be very thin in the middle with a thicker rim, like making tiny pizzas.
- Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and put 4 of the circles on each. Let the brioche circles rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften and puff just slightly. In the meantime, heat your oven to 350F.
- Put a piece of brie in the center of each of the circles, then top the brie with a large spoonful of cherries and just a very small amount of the cherry juices. Each circle should get about 5 or 6 cherries. (Save the leftover cherry juice to mix into drinks – think a splash of cherry juice, a splash of bourbon, a squirt of lemon juice, and soda…)
- Bake the brioches in the oven until they are golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 25-30 minutes, being sure to switch the positions of the pans and rotate them halfway through the baking time.
- Allow the brioches to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Serve at least a few of them still warm (but not hot or, trust me, you will burn the heck out of your mouth) from the oven accompanied by cups of strong coffee, since they are definitely the most magical while fresh. Wrap any leftovers tightly and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Rewarm them gently in the oven or a toaster oven (about 8 minutes at 325F) before eating.