Tara O'Brady's Bostocks
Makes 8 to 10 pieces
From the Seven Spoons Cookbook, Ten Speed Press, 2015. I've used both a traditionally shaped loaf as well as a round and prefer the texture of bostocks made of round slices. If you're making your own brioche try using a coffee tin for baking.
- 150 g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
- 180 ml water (3/4 cup)
- 1 t orange blossom water
- 4-6 strips citrus zest (lemon, orange, yuzu), each 2.5 cm (1") thick
- 115 g unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)
- 115 g confectioners' sugar (1 cup)
- 100 g almond meal (1 cup)
- 1 T all-purpose flour
- Seeds scraped from a vanilla bean
- 2 t rum or brandy (optional)
- Scant 1/4 t almond extract
- 1/4 t fine-grain sea salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 8 to 10 slices of stale brioche, each around 2.5cm thick (1")
- Sliced almonds, for sprinkling (optional)
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
To make the syrup, stir together the granulated sugar, water, orange flower water, and zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 1 week. Remove the zest before using.
To make the almond cream, beat the butter in a bowl with a silicone spatula or a hand mixer until the butter holds a peak when the spatula is lifted. Sift in the confectioners' sugar, then fold to incorporate. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bottom and sides of bowl. Sift in half the almond meal, stir to incorporate, then sift in the rest with the flour. Mix again then stir in the vanilla, rum, almond extract, and salt. Pour in the egg and stir until creamy. Transfer to a bowl, then press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent it from drying out. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours, or up to 3 days ahead.
To assemble the bostocks, preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then arrange the brioche on top. Brush syrup all over the slices until saturated. If any syrup remains, wait until the first soaking is absorbed , then brush again. Spread one cut side with almond cream, all the way to the edges, then sprinkle with almonds. Bake until the cream is puffed and brown, and the brioche is deeply toasted, 18 to 22 minutes. Let the bostocks cool for 5 minutes on their tray. Sift a light flurry of confectioners' sugar over all, then all that's left is the eating.