Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Buttery Brioche Biscuits to Be

I love Ina Garten. Admittedly, I’ve only very recently discovered her. Shamefully, I’ve only watched her show on The Food Network a few times. But it only took one episode of The Barefoot Contessa to reel me into her perfect world, and now I want desperately to be a guest at her Hamptons house. I’ll run to the market for her! I’ll even get up early and make the coffee – I would become a morning person for her! I love her philosophy of simple ingredients, preparation and elegant but easy presentation. And she seems like the kind of host who would let you sleep in if you wanted. The favorite aunt who encourages you to just flip through magazines in her sunny kitchen while she prepares a picnic lunch that you nibble on later after a walk on the beach. Now that I think about it, this fantasy is probably more likely the life I want, than one she actually lives. In any case, her show reeled me in. And these fresh buttery brioche she effortlessly made for her husband as a welcome home breakfast were what catapulted me into this reverie.
I had the recipe sitting around the house for a couple weeks before I was able to schedule the various phases of its preparation. I had hoped to follow her lead and have warm buttery brioche for breakfast.
A friend of ours is gutting and re-building a 100 year old house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s a big job, and he is in a transitional phase of having moved his belongings into the basement, and is making do with a mattress on the floor of his soon-to-be master bedroom. We’ve assured him that our lumpy, uncomfortable, eye-sore of a futon is always open to him, and after a long day of labor and dust inhalation, he’ll occasionally acquiesce. He came by last weekend, and I figured it was the perfect time to share the carbo-load, and send him on his merry way Sunday morning with warm buttery brioche. Things, as usual, didn’t quite work out the way I imagined. The brioche came out of the oven on Sunday at about 4PM (taking the setting of the clocks forward into account, my day had disappeared).
I assembled the dough on Saturday night, just like Ina. It was pretty straight forward – she’s pretty precise about the temperature of the water used with the yeast, and I don’t think our tap water was warm enough (I had just finished a ton of dishes), but I forged ahead. snss 015
The dough was a rich buttery yellow (thanks to the 2 sticks of butter and the 6 eggs– go figure), and the only problem I encountered was how stubbornly it clung to the paddle attachment of my Kitchen Aid mixer. snss 008Once I switched to the dough hook, it seemed to be getting a better workout.
I left the dough in the fridge over night as instructed, and pulled it out first thing in the morning to sit at room temperature for an hour. Well, by “first thing” I mean noon. Then because I was out of eggs, we collectively decided to go to a diner for breakfast. So its one hour counter time turned into probably two. Once I cut the dough into 20 pieces, and set them inside the baking tins, I allowed them to sit for about an hour and a half, rather than the two hours suggested - a fair compromise, I thought. snss 018
After 20 minutes in the oven, they were crispy and golden looking, and filling our loft with such a heavenly smell I couldn’t wait to test the results.
It’s not that I was disappointed, they were certainly satisfying, but in a home-made biscuit kind of way. A few posts ago, I mentioned a potato roll recipe I had wanted to get from Mallow for Thanksgiving – in the end, I used a recipe I found on-line. These would have been the PERFECT substitute for the dense homemade potato rolls I ended up serving my guests. I think next time, I’ll use a round biscuit cutter, and serve them as Buttery Brioche Biscuts instead. snss 035
Luckily, book club was on Sunday evening, so I pawned the majority off on my friends. But not before I had 4, and my husband about 8.

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