It seems every winter I catch the baking bug. There is nothing quite like a house heated by a warm oven and filled with the scent of home baked goods.
This winter I’ve found myself strangely attracted to working with yeast dough. I’ve always had an aversion to working with the live rising agent due to its unpredictable nature. But lately, after being inspired by many yeast based recipes, I decided to conquer my phobia… and it turned out to be the best baking decision I have ever made.
Working with yeast has become my favourite thing to do. There is an incredible feeling of happiness associated with rising dough and the smell that yeast brings to the kitchen.
Beginning to work with yeast was no easy challenge, so I turned to the masters of home baking (…my grandparents) for advice. I learnt countless passed down family secrets, treasured techniques and tips for baking and perfecting dough… some of which I have shared below in the recipe list.
Armed with my new found baking knowledge I set out to tackle a recipe I have always ogled but never had the confidence to try… a Strawberry & Brown Sugar Brioche Tart.
Along with any other person with a serious sweet tooth, I love a tart and this recipe is the most delicious I have ever tasted… mainly due to the softly textured brioche base! I have definitely converted into using dough as a tart base; shortcrust pastry seriously cannot live up to the texture of a crisp, fluffy and buttery brioche base.
The brioche dough is lightly infused with orange zest, topped with a muslin strained brown sugar labne and scattered with liqueur infused strawberries and a sprinkling of sugar. It’s almost a far stretch calling it a tart…the recipe is similar to a dessert pizza, with sweet toppings on a soft beyond belief brioche dough base.
There is ample room for experimentation with the tart recipe, the strawberries can be substituted for almost any other in season fruit (…apricots taste divine); the brown sugar labne can also be further infused with spices or even naughtily spiked with alcohol.
With all the incredible recipes available, I usually never make the same dessert twice! However, this Strawberry & Brown Sugar Brioche tart has definitely become a favourite and one that I will continue to create. I cannot recommend this recipe enough… you will never feel the same about normal tart pastry again!
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 1 tsp instant dried yeast
- 150gm softened butter
- 70gm brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- Juice of ½ orange and rind
- 2⅔ cups plain flour
- 600gm thick plain yogurt
- 150gm brown sugar
- 1tsp vanilla essence
- 250gm strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 50ml strawberry liqueur (optional)
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 3 tbsp demerara sugar
- Zest of half an orange
- Spoon a quarter of the yogurt into muslin-lined sieve placed over a deep bowl.
- Scatter with a quarter of the brown sugar.
- With a spoon pass the yogurt and brown sugar through the muslin and sieve. Repeat process in quarters until all sugar and yogurt are used. Mix in vanilla.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Two hours before baking, in a bowl combine sliced strawberries, liqueur and a tablespoon of caster sugar in a bowl. Let stand until assembly.
- Heat milk to lukewarm, stir in yeast. Stand in a warm place until foaming (3 to 5 minutes).
- With an electric mixer, combine butter, brown sugar, egg, orange juice and rind (the mixture should look curdled).
- Add 1 cup of the flour, combine with mixer. Add the yeast mixture, then remaining flour and combine to process a soft dough.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead to form a smooth ball.
- Place in a lightly buttered bowl, cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm draft free place until doubled in size (1 to 2 hours).
- When dough has risen, flip, punch down, re-knead and let rise again for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius.
- Turn dough onto baking paper dusted with flour and roll into a 25cm pizza like round.
- Spread half the brown sugar labne over the dough leaving a 2.5 cm border.
- Brushed edges of brioche with a light egg wash.
- Scatter labne with macerated strawberries, orange zest and demerara sugar.
- Bake until golden and cooked through in the centre (25 to 40 minutes, the brioche will also crisp and harden upon standing when cooling).
- Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of brown sugar labne.
For kneading, don't be afraid to really bash and throw the dough. The harder the dough is worked, the more aerated and activated the yeast will become.
Never cover rising dough with plastic cling wrap, always a warm tea towel.
If dough has not risen enough, add a saucepan of boiling water underneath the dough bowl to give beast heat and steam to activate the rising process.