I’m a big fan of repurposing some of my favorite recipes—mixing them up to make new ones. One such recipe workhorse is brioche dough, and this recipe is a new favorite remix—individual pastries lightly sweetened and topped with thinly sliced apples. I cut the apples a bit like Hasselback potatoes, so they’re still connected at the base. As they bake in the oven, they open up a bit, sort of blooming into a particularly beautiful Danish that’s perfect for breakfast. —Erin McDowell
(5 1/4 cup) bread flour
(1/2 cup) granulate sugar
(1 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
(1/2 teaspoon) ground ginger
less than 1 g
(1/4 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
(2 1/2 teaspoons) instant active dry yeast
(1 tablespoon) fine sea salt
(about 4 large) eggs
(3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons) whole milk (cold from the fridge!)
(1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
(1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Make the dough the day before you want to make the Danish. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment, mix the bread flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, yeast, and salt to combine, 15-20 seconds.
In a container with a spout (like a 2 cup liquid measuring cup), whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla to combine. Add this mixture to the mixer and mix on low speed for 3 minutes, or until the dough comes together. (It will be relatively sticky.)
Raise the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes more. During this time, gradually add the butter (about 1 tablespoon at a time, though no need to be precise—I just grab soft butter with my hands and throw it in willy-nilly).
Once the butter is fully incorporated, transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate the dough for 10-12 hours (overnight).
The next day, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2-inch of thickness. Cut rounds from the dough using a 3-inch round cookie cutter (or the rim of a large glass). You can re-roll the dough a couple times—just remember it will get tougher the more you work it.
Transfer the rounds to parchment lined baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between each piece. Cover the dough circles with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
While the dough rises, prepare the topping. Cut the apples into quarters, then cut away the core at an angle, leaving a flat surface on the base of the apple quarter. Thinly slice each piece of apple, but not fully, like for hasselback potatoes. Cut the apple 3/4 way through, allowing the pieces to separate at the top but stay together at the base.
Just before the brioche pieces are done rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Egg wash the surface of each brioche evenly. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over the surface of each piece of dough.
Place a prepared sliced apple quarter in the center of each brioche. Sprinkle dark brown sugar evenly over the surface of each apple.
Place a small pat of butter (about 1/2 teaspoon) on top of each apple. Transfer the brioche to the oven and bake until the apples are tender and the brioche is golden, 17-22 minutes.
Cool at least 10 minutes before serving. They are absolutely the best served warm.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.