Turning on my air conditioner stresses me out.
(So do the construction men outside my window who are making it so that I might actually have to start closing my blinds before I undress. Although, I must concede I’m more concerned about the fact that the building they’re currently working on is going to obstruct my sunlight more than I am that they’ll see me naked.
The people in the research building across the street have been getting an eyeful for two years. Now is not the time for modesty.
Especially if we can work out some kind of deal whereby I leave my blinds open in exchange for them putting a big enough hole in the building they’re working on so that I still manage to get some direct sunlight.
You guys give me the best ideas. I’m on it.)
Enough about my undressing habits.
Air conditioner stress. I have it.
Last summer it got so bad that I only turned my air conditioner on once. At most. Probably more like half a time. Okay, really, I may have thought to myself that putting it on might be a good idea. But then in all likelihood, I didn’t go there.
It’s just that. When I turn it on…I get cold. And so then I turn it off. And I get hot. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Don’t worry. I came up with a solution.
Really, the solution found me. (But I plan on taking all the credit for it.)
See, when I’m stressed, I bake. (When I’m happy, I bake. When I’m bored, I bake. When it’s a day that ends in “y”, I bake. Are you noticing a trend?)
So when it got super hot on Wednesday and a heat warning was issued, I thought it would be prudent to turn the A/C on. Then I got myself into a tither. And decided to bake some bread.
Not just any bread, though.
(The bread to end all breads.)
And in doing so realized that air conditioning + oven preheated to 430 = perfect room temperature. Don’t you just love it when things work out?
This pain brioche recipe is a Julia Child recipe.
Which begs the question. Why her? Why now?
A few weeks ago, Gourmet Live posted a list of the 50 most influential women in food. Mary, Claudia, Val and I are going to be cooking a recipe from each of these women for the next 50 weeks in order to celebrate just how prominent and successful females can be in a mostly male-dominated profession.
Julia, of course, was number one. She revolutionized the way home cooks thought about food through her television show The French Chef and showed women (and men) everywhere that dainty and seemingly gourmet food was, in fact, within their reach.
Her brioche recipe is a key example of this. Making it is really quite simple and straightforward, while the end result is nothing but sheer decadence. It tastes like bread already buttered. And really, is there anything better than that?
Actually, yes there is.
It’s called bread pudding.
Let me explain.
Buttery brioche cubes soaked in milk, sugar, and eggs.
Mixed with chocolate. And topped with a blackberry lime jam.
Perfect for a weekend morning or a Thursday night snack. Trust me. I know.
Makes 1 9-inch loaf, adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 2
1 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 lb AP flour
1 stick (4 oz) butter, chilled
1. Sprinkle yeast in warm water and let liquefy completely. Stir in the salt, sugar, and milk.
2. Measure the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the eggs and yeast. Stir using the bread hook on medium speed until combined. Then continue to stir 2-3 minutes.
3. When dough begins to clean itself off the sides of the bowl, start adding in the butter by tbsp bits. When the butter is absorbed, let the dough rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Knead again briefly by letting the mixer run on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.
4.Place in a well-greased bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled.
5. Preheat oven to 430**. Grease a loaf pan. Punch down the dough and form it into the shape of a loaf. Place in the loaf pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for one hour. Put in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you tap on it. Allow to cool before slicing.
**This seemed a bit high and as a result the top of my bread burned a little. After looking at other recipes, I would heat the oven at 350 and cook for 35 to 45 minutes.
This recipe has been yeastspotted!
Blackberry Lime Bread Pudding
Makes 24 bread pudding muffins, an Eats Well With Other original
1 loaf stale brioche
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups almond milk
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vanilla sugar
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
9 oz semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz blackberries
1/4 cup water
Juice of one lime
6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350. Tear the brioche into small-ish cubes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, milks, sugars, vanilla and chocolate chips.
2. Put the bread into a large bowl. Pour the milk mixture over it and use a spatula to push the bread into the milk so that it get soaked. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight.
3. While bread is soaking, make the blackberry lime sauce. In a food processor, combine the blackberries, water, sugar, vanilla and lime. Pulse until pureed. Pour into a small pan and bring to a boil. Mix in the tbsp of flour. Simmer until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
4. Grease two muffin tins. Scoop the bread pudding batter into the tins, evenly. Top with a layer of the blackberry sauce. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tins among the bottom and top shelf about halfway through. Allow to cool before eating.