The bread used for bostock should be oven-dried, which is not at all the same as stale. Stale bread is hard. Dried bread is crisp, with a marked propensity to absorb whatever you throw at it. Use the best brioche you can find for this recipe. Use the best peaches you can find, too. —Jason Schreiber
Test Kitchen Notes
Recipe excerpt from Fruit Cake by Jason Schreiber. © 2020 by Jason Schreiber. Used with permission by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. —The Editors
- Prep time 30 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour
- Serves 8
- For the Syrup
(71 grams) granulated sugar
(340 grams) peaches, pitted and coarsely chopped
(35 grams) small lemongrass stalk, trimmed and bruised
- For the Almond Cream & Assembly
(140 grams) almond paste (not marzipan)
(53 grams) granulated sugar
(36 grams) all-purpose flour
(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
thick slices brioche (about 14 ounces total), for serving
firm-ripe peaches, thinly sliced, for serving (about 340 grams)
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
- In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, peaches, lemongrass, and 3/4 cup (187 milliliters) water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash the peach and lemongrass until they’re unrecognizable, then let the syrup sit until it’s cool. Strain through a coarse-mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to squeeze out every last bit of flavor. You can store the syrup in the refrigerator for a day or two before using.
- To make the almond cream, combine the almond paste, granulated sugar, egg, flour, and bourbon (please) in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until smooth, then add the butter and a pinch of salt. Continue beating until very light and very fluffy. You can refrigerate the almond cream overnight, but make sure to bring it to room temperature before assembling the bostock.
- Heat the oven to 275°F (140°C) with a rack in the center position.
- Place the brioche slices on a 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet and bake until they’re very dry and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes, flipping the bread halfway through so they dry evenly. Let the slices cool a few minutes until they’re easy to handle, or cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature overnight.
- Increase the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C). Line a 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet with a reusable nonstick silicone baking mat, or use parchment paper if you are just out of options. Brush the brioche slices with the syrup, coating both sides, until they feel heavy in your hands. Arrange the soaked slices on the baking sheet and spread each with about 3 tablespoons of almond cream. Arrange 3 or 4 peach slices on each in a single layer on top of the almond cream.
- Bake until the almond cream has puffed and browned on the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow the bostock to cool slightly before dusting with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm. Bostock is best the day you bake it.