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Posts tagged ‘maple syrup’

Maple Walnut Scones

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People often ask me if I miss living in Canada. I’ve been living in Ireland now for almost five years. I have three great kids, a house we’re fixing up, a big garden (and more gardens planned), a small business and lots of friends and family milling around.

So yeah, it’s safe to say I’m usually too busy to be feeling homesick for Canada. That said, I recently got my kids their Canadian citizenship and, this year being Canada’s 150th birthday (if you’re First Nations, though, I should add that Canada is thousands of years older), I started feeling a bit nostalgic with all the celebrations and activities posted all over my social media streams.

Canada Day is July 1st, so it’s already happened. I didn’t do anything on the day to celebrate. Sometimes I host barbecues, bake a cake and have my friends over for Canada Day, but this year – having just had a baby – I wasn’t really feeling it. Too much, too soon.

But I can’t say Canada hasn’t been on my mind lately. So while I don’t miss living in Canada, there are a few things about Canada (or just Cape Breton, really) I miss in general:

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  1. Lobster season: May to July in Cape Breton. Lobsters everywhere you look. Lobster boil dinners at every small community hall. Lobsters being sold right from the boat. I love lobster, and I really miss eating it when it’s at its best. That also goes for mussels, scallops, haddock, salmon, chowder… and the list goes on. I know Ireland is surrounded by ocean, but there isn’t great seafood in landlocked Tipperary!
  2. The beach: Cape Breton has so many gorgeous beaches. By July the water is warm enough to swim, the sand is golden and fine-textured and the beaches are relatively isolated. I love Irish beaches, but find the water is usually a bit too cold and most beaches a bit too crowded.
  3. The restaurants: I love lobster and seafood. I love the places that prepare these foods as well. The Rusty Anchor in Pleasant Bay (where I once had some decadent lobster poutine with a cold beer; one of my most favourite meals), The Dancing Goat in Margaree, The Herring Choker in Nyanza, Charlene’s Bayside in Whycocomagh, The Bite House in Big Baddeck – all of these places make amazing Cape Breton food and deserve all of the accolades. I miss these places.
  4. My friends and family: Obvs. I love and miss my *very large* extended family. Aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephew, brothers – I miss them all.
  5. The weather: in summer, it’s warm enough to swim in the river and in the ocean almost every day. On the East Coast, though, it’s not as hot as it would be elsewhere in Canada. We have the ocean to keep the temperature moderate (like, 35°C and under). A great deal warmer and sunnier than an Irish summer, but still comfortable (I don’t miss black flies and mosquitos, though).10631983_387625851388458_1137852623_n
  6. Wild Blueberries and good Maple Syrup: I miss these things very much. The fruit in Ireland is lovely, but the blueberries here don’t compare to the blueberries in Cape Breton.
  7. Canadian beer and wine: in Nova Scotia there is a wine appellation called Tidal Bay. It’s located close to where I went to university. The wine is gorgeous. Once, a sparkling wine called (Benjamin Bridge) Nova 7 beat out actual, expensive champagne at a tasting I attented in Toronto. It’s that good. The beer in Ireland is great, so I don’t miss Canadian beer that much; just certain kinds.
  8. Homestyle baking: I know I do a lot of Cape Breton-style baking here in Ireland, but I miss other people’s baking. Namely from the cafes I mentioned previously, my aunties and older people from around my community.

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Speaking of homestyle baking, I especially love East Coast scones. Large, triangular, sweet with a crunchy sugar or glazed topping, scones in Cape Breton are indulgent – often made for sharing – and perfect with a cup of strong tea.

I whipped up these maple walnut scones with another nostalgic food in mind – ice cream! I love the ice cream at home. It’s not soft serve like a 99 here in Ireland, it’s hard and comes in a million and a half flavours; one of my favourites being maple walnut.

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No need for butter and jam on these scones. The glaze is thick enough to ensure the right amount of sweetness in each bite, and the walnuts are toasted in the oven and then soaked in maple syrup. Perhaps most importantly, the flavour is nostalgic enough to get me through to my next visit home.

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Maple Walnut Scones

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups/375g Plain Flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup/60g light brown sugar

1/2 cup/125g cold butter, cubed

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup/250ml cold buttermilk

For the glaze:

2 cups/500g Icing Sugar

1 tsp vanilla or maple extract

3 Tbsp good quality maple syrup

Splash of heavy cream

Toasted walnuts, soaked in maple syrup

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Line one or two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and cold, cubed butter.
  • Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut/rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the centre of the butter/dry ingredient mixture.
  • In a large measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk, then add the egg and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or just using your hands (your best pastry tool!) mix the wet into the dry until just combined (mixture should be on the wet side – if it’s dry and crumbly add more buttermilk!).
  • On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out and knead lightly for one minute. Form into a ball and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Using more flour for dusting and a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a thick rectangle (you want to get 8-10 scones out of this dough at most). At least 1.5 inches thick.
  • Cut the rectangle into 8-10 smaller rectangles or triangles. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops with milk and sprinkle a bit of sugar over each scone.
  • Bake the scones for 20-ish minutes. Let cool slightly on a rack.
  • Make the glaze: in a mixing bowl, combine the icing sugar, maple syrup, maple extract (or vanilla) and about a tablespoon of heavy cream. You want the glaze to be thick, but still be able to drizzle it over the scones. If the glaze is too thick for your liking, loosen it up with a bit more cream.
  • Dunk the tops of each scone in the glaze, or spoon the glaze over each scone allowing the excess to drip down the sides. Top with toasted maple walnuts. Allow glaze to set slightly before eating (if you can wait that long).
  • The scones will keep no longer than two days, so make sure you eat them right away!

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Maple Pecan Cookie Bars

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Today has been a bad day.

It’s not like I didn’t realize it would be a bad day. Ciara’s been cutting her eye teeth for what seems like ages now and has grown fond of 3am, two-hour-long hangouts on the couch. So yeah, when your three-year-old wakes up at 7am and you’ve just managed to get back to sleep you are definitely not starting your day on the right foot.

So we had a slow morning. Luckily I batch-cook pancakes on the weekends so Maeve can have a quick breakfast if need be, but still, by the time I had her, myself and Ciara washed, dressed, breakfasted and out the door it was well past 9am. Maeve was fairly late for playschool.

It had been a frosty night. After dropping Maeve off, Ciara and I went to town (town being Thurles, about 20 minutes away from the farm). On Tuesdays and Thursdays Ciara hangs out with my friend while I make donuts and other goodies to sell at The Green Sheep. On the way in, my car hit a patch of black ice and I was so close to losing control of my car and sliding off into a hedge. I honestly don’t know how I managed to keep the car on the road. Needless to say, I crawled the rest of the way into town.

When I got to The Green Sheep, it was closed because my friend, the owner, thought I had a doctor’s appointment this morning and she had to go to a parent/teacher meeting. I had also thought I had a doctor’s appointment but thankfully called to double-check – it’s actually next week.

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My friend got back from parent/teacher and I managed to make some apple fritters and deep-clean my cooking equipment. Then, someone came into the café and I could hear them say, “Tell Janine to go move her car – the ticket guy is out there!”

Now, before you say anything: I know I should be paying for parking. BUT you get 15 minutes of free parking in Thurles, so I was taking advantage of that (ok, maybe too much advantage).

So I got to my car before the ticket guy gave me a ticket. However; he remembered me from two weeks ago, when he had fined me for having out-of-date car tax. I had just gotten this car a few months ago and with Christmas… well… I knew I was playing with fire. I paid for my tax once he ticketed me, but it was still in the post. He didn’t give me another fine; instead he chewed my ear off.

Combine this with exhaustion from being a parent and the hormones of a crazy pregnant lady and… well, you get the idea of how I’m feeling right now.

I basically want to cry myself to sleep. And then sleep for a really, really long time.

Instead, though, I might make some more of these Maple Pecan Cookie Bars. They’re so easy to put together and taste amazing.

Baking is really therapeutic, isn’t it? You’re in control. Your hands are busy. Your mind is in a zen-like state. This is probably why I liked working in the pastry sections of restaurants so much, even though I’m not really a pastry chef. That section of the restaurant oozes calm while the others get chaotic.

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Anyway, back to these delicious, nutty little morsels. They have a brown sugar cookie base and a maple pecan topping that is soft, chewy and crunchy all at once. The maple flavour really comes through (and I was using the generic maple syrup – even though it claims to be “100% Canadian Pure”, it’s way too inexpensive to be any good).

They were a hit at the café, so I’ll be officially adding them to The Siùcra Shack‘s menu and will put them on rotation at The Green Sheep.

Give them a try; they’re so forgiving. Baking them will make you forget all about your crap day.

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Maple Pecan Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

For the base:

250g/1cup plain flour

110g/2/3 cup brown sugar

110g/1/2 cup butter

For the topping:

1 egg

55g/1/3 cup brown sugar

75ml/1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 bag (about 250g or 1 cup) whole pecan halves

Flaky sea salt

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 180∘C (350∘F). Line a rectangular baking tray with parchment and set aside.
  • In a bowl, (or in your stand mixer; paddle attachment), cream the brown sugar and butter for the base. Then, add the flour and mix until fully incorporated.
  • Press the cookie dough into the baking tray with your fingers. When the dough is evenly spread out, blind bake for about 15 minutes. Check it at 12 minutes; you don’t want it too dark.
  • Take the baked cookie base out of the oven and cool slightly. In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the filling except the sea salt and pecans.
  • Pour the filling over the top of the cookie base. Arrange the pecan halves over the top.
  • Bake the bars, still at 180∘C/350∘F, for another 15 minutes or until it’s just set. If the top seems soft that’s ok. It will set as it cools.
  • Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. Then, remove the whole thing (parchment and all) and slice into bars or squares.
  • These guys will keep for 5-ish days (they don’t usually make it that long, though)

Pouding Chômeur

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Ah, springtime on an Irish farm. Idyllic, no? The best time of year, right?

Well, sort of. It’s calving season. Which is both wonderful and CRAZY BUSY all at once. Add to that: one weekly newspaper column, event planning, my day job, one 30th birthday weekend in Mayo, one husband gone to Boston for a week, one very busy (and often hangry) toddler and a seemingly endless stream of minor illnesses, you can see where the last month went for me.

Things are finally starting to calm. My garden is growing. My head is clearer. I can do this life thing.

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Waiting for the Paddy’s Day Parade

Paddy's Day breakkie with the cousins

Paddy’s Day breakkie with the cousins

A few weeks ago we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Templemore, Tipperary. In classic style there was a parade (which is generally more like a vintage tractor show around these parts) and lots of excited children. This year we actually knew some of the kids in the parade, so it was nice to see familiar faces and shout out to them.

Delphi Resort

Delphi Resort

Connemara, County Mayo

Connemara, County Mayo

The following weekend, I made the trek up to Delphi Resort in County Mayo. The resort is found near Ireland’s only fjord, in the heart of Connemara. It’s pretty bare-bones as it’s meant to be a family-friendly, cost effective adventure resort but I really liked the suite I shared with four other ladies – it was warm, the beds were comfortable, the shower was great and the views are spectacular.

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We took advantage of the lack of television and cellular service and tried our hand at ziplining. I’ve ziplined before so I knew I wouldn’t die, but heights aren’t really my favourite thing. Still, we all had a laugh and my sister-in-law had a great birthday weekend.

After our weekend at Delphi I was treated to a visit from a couple of dear friends from Canada. I met my friend Genevieve over ten years ago when we were both in the music program at Acadia University. She and her husband Scott have been good friends with Patrick and I since we all lived in South Korea, then Toronto. It was so great to see them.

Chicken with Harissa & Lemon Bulgur Salad at Cafe Sol in Kilkenny

Chicken with Harissa & Lemon Bulgur Salad at Cafe Sol in Kilkenny

I took them to visit the White Gypsy Brewery in Templemore where brewer-extraordinaire Cuilan showed us around and gave them some samples. Then we went to Kilkenny for a look-around and lunch at the gorgeous Café Sol (I’m still dreaming about the warm bulgur salad with harissa & lemon – yum).

As great as it was to see my friends, I was also extremely excited to see that they had brought me a gift from home – pure, unadulterated Nova Scotian Maple Syrup. Ireland has lots of wonderful ingredients available to me, but maple syrup is just not one of those things. It often tastes watered down, or like it’s been cut with regular table syrup.

Anyway, when I saw that Gen and Scott had brought me maple syrup I could only think of one thing:

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POUDING CHÔMEUR

This is my all-time favourite dessert. It’s basically a French Canadian maple syrup baked pudding. And it’s… everything you could ever want. It’s moreish. Gooey, warm maple syrup caramel soaked into a light, spongy cake. You can add a bit of crème anglaise or lightly whipped cream over the top, but it’s hardly necessary. This pudding is simple perfection at its best.

Yes, it’s terribly sweet. But it’s also made with maple syrup. so it’s not sickeningly sweet.The Quebecois, apparently, came up with this recipe during the Great Depression, hence the name – pouding chômeur, or, poor man’s pudding.

It would hardly be a poor man’s pudding now, with the price of quality maple syrup being what it is, but the name still sounds nice.

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Pouding Chômeur

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups plain (or AP) flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 1/3 cup whole milk

For the sauce:

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

1 cup really good quality maple syrup (that’s important)

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees Celsius, no fan). Grease a medium-sized casserole dish (or rectangular cake pan) with butter. Set aside.
  • Cream the brown sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix. Add the eggs one by one, mixing after each addition.
  • In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the sugar/egg mixture (dry, milk, dry, milk, dry). If you’re using a stand mixer, whip on high for 20 seconds once all the ingredients have been added. This aerates the batter and brings everything together. If you don’t have a stand mixer, just make sure everything is whipped up nicely with a whisk.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared/greased dish.
  • Make the sauce: using a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil and reduce by 1/3. Add the vanilla and cream and return to the heat. Allow the mixture to reduce and thicken slightly (cook for about 3 minutes; the mixture should lightly coat the back of a spoon).
  • When the sauce is ready, carefully pour it all over the batter. I say carefully because a) the mixture will be very hot and b) if you don’t pour it evenly it’ll just make a bunch of holes in the batter.
  • Transfer the pudding to the preheated oven. Bake for about 40 minutes – when it’s finished, the cake will be on top and the sauce will be on the bottom. The top will be springy to the touch and golden brown.
  • Serve warm with lightly whipped cream or crème anglaise. Or hey, just eat it straight out of the pan with a spoon like I do.

Bon appétit!

Buttermilk Pancakes

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I’m typing this post in our sitting room, where the fire is blazing and our tree is sparkling with their white fairy lights. It’s been a great weekend so far, we’ve just been sticking around the house, getting things prepared and organized for the holiday season. Next weekend, the nieces will make the trek down and we’ll spend the day doing Winterval activities, which are happening in downtown Waterford for nearly the whole month. Santa needs to be visited and maybe we’ll be able to squeeze in a sleigh ride or two.

Today, though, I’m just enjoying having the day to catch up on baking (chocolate meringues, brioche rolls and loaves, two types of cookie dough and some homemade eggnog) while Patrick keeps track of our increasingly mobile child. Four months is an interesting age (putting it lightly). Cognitive growth spurt+physical growth spurt+teething. It’s a crazy, emotional time for all of us, but mostly for Maeve. Poor pet.

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On Sundays we like to skip breakfast and have a big brunch at around 11. Earlier, Patrick went to the gym while the bebe and I hung out and nursed on the couch. When Patrick came home, he had two bottles of maple syrup, a newspaper and some maple smoked rashers with him – it was his subtle way of asking if I’d make pancakes for brunch. And of course, I did. I’ve yet to turn down a gift of maple syrup.

These pancakes are my tried, tested (time and time again) and true recipe. They’re just the way I like them – fluffy, soft. with a very slight sweetness and chew to them. They’re perfect with smokey bacon, pure, sweet maple syrup or – if you have them – blueberries. I didn’t have any berries today, but Patrick didn’t mind.

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Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 cups AP flour

3 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until everything is incorporated. Don’t overdo it or you’ll have rubbery pancakes!
  • Fold in the melted butter.
  • Heat a nonstick pan or electric griddle on medium or medium-low, depending on how hot your stove top gets.
  • Add a bit of butter to the pan and wipe away the excess with a paper towel – you just want a tiny little bit of grease in the pan.
  • Pour pancake batter into the heated pan by the ladle-ful. Cook on one side for 30 seconds to a minute – you’ll know it’s ready to flip when the top of the pancake is covered with little bubbles that are popping. Flip and cook on the other side for another minutes (don’t mess with it too much for best results, just let it sit and cook).
  • Serve with hot tea, maple syrup and crispy bacon, rashers, sausages or fresh fruit and whipped cream.
  • Makes six large pancakes.

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Maple Blueberry Grunt

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There are few ways in which I consider myself stereo-typically Canadian. For example, I’m not obsessed with hockey (unless it’s the winter Olympics; then I’m annoyingly into it). I don’t pronounce “house” or “about” as “hoose” and “aboot”, which are two of the first words many ask me to pronounce when they find out where I’m from. I hate the winter. And although I’m a patriotic Cape Bretoner, I wouldn’t be the type to sing Canada’s praises all the time (especially considering the current government).

Some areas where I’m proud of my country? Well, I think we have produced some of the world’s best musicians (think less Celine Dion and more Neil Young) and comedians (John Candy’s my personal fave). Our beer is actually really good – and I’m not talking about Moosehead or Molson Canadian, I’m talking Blanche de Chambly and Alexander Keith’s and the amazing micro-brews you’ll find across the country (like this one in Cape Breton).

Also, I’m mad about Canadian food. We have some of the most innovative chefs in the world. Take a look at the multiculturalism that makes up our population – take all that ethnicity and throw it in a pot: that’s Canadian cuisine. Our chefs and restaurants don’t necessarily get the global attention they deserve, but I kinda like it that way. We don’t have Michelin stars in Canada and we’re not on the World’s 50 Best list (yet!), but I also find Canadian chefs aren’t bothered by trying to be the best. They always do their best, though, and it shows. I was certainly taught by some great chefs.

That almost turned into a sermon, and I’m nowhere near where I wanted to get to with this post.

Ahem.

I love maple syrup!

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In Canada, most people think the province of Quebec does maple syrup best. I almost completely agree. I really, truly love Cape Breton maple syrup, though. And don’t try telling me it’s all the same – it isn’t.

Like a fine wine, maple syrup is different every year depending on lots of external factors: temperature, whether it’s been a mild winter, whether the spring came early, and so on. You can get light, medium or dark syrup depending on how hardcore your love of the sweet stuff is. Maple syrup is serious business.

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My parents were kind enough to bring some Cape Breton maple syrup for me when they came to visit. Yesterday I was down to half a cup and wondering what to do with it when my mind wandered to the blueberries I had in my freezer. Then I remembered that an entire summer had gone by without blueberry grunt (only my most favourite summer dessert). Blueberries and maple syrup are bff’s, so I decided to stew the two ingredients together for the grunt.

What is a grunt? It’s a traditional Nova Scotian dessert that’s almost identical to a cobbler. The big difference is the biscuits (in this case we’ll call them dumplings) are steamed instead of baked. Instead of a sweet, crumbly topping you have a soft, pillowy one. It’s divine. I like to serve my blueberry grunt with crème anglaise or Chantilly cream.

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Maple Blueberry Grunt

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup good quality maple syrup

rind of half a lemon

2 Tbsp brown sugar

Splash of good quality vanilla

For the dumplings:

2 cups AP flour

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

About one cup of buttermilk

Directions:

  • In a saucepan or dutch oven, add the blueberries, syrup, brown sugar, lemon rind and vanilla. Place the pot over medium heat and cook the berries until soft (mix often with a wooden spoon to avoid burnt sugar! I’ve made that mistake…).
  • In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients for the dumplings. Rub the cold butter into the mixture until coarse crumbs are achieved.
  • Gradually add the buttermilk while mixing until you have a sticky, soft dough. Add more buttermilk if the dough appears dry – this should be slightly drier than a muffin batter and stickier than scone dough.
  • Drop dough on top of the berries by the spoonful. Cover the pot with a tightly fitted lid, turn the heat down so the berries/syrup don’t burn and leave for 15 minutes. In this time, the dumplings will steam.
  • The dumplings will be fully cooked when they bounce back when lightly touched. Scoop into a bowl and drizzle with crème anglaise or Chantilly cream. Serve warm.

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Recipes with Brioche

After yesterday’s post, I realized I could have written about 10,000 more words about brioche and its many uses. Chances are you just want me to get to the recipes and not the reasoning/science behind it, but I do want to explain a little bit more about this delicious bread.

Brioche is lovely toasted with jam and butter. It makes a rich, flavourful bun for burgers, sausages and lobster rolls (as you’ll find in Clodagh McKenna’s restaurant at the Arnott’s in Dublin) and, at Christmas time, I love to add dried fruit and nuts to the dough to make a decorative (and delicious) bread wreath drizzled with orange vanilla glaze. It’s so versatile. It’s a well-known fact that the most delicious grilled sandwich you’ll ever consume features brioche (croque monsieur/madame, anyone?) and, probably the simplest (and my favourite) way to enjoy brioche is by using it to make French toast and bread pudding.

If you let the bread sit and dry out slightly for a day or two, brioche absorbs liquid and flavour perfectly. There are a few other breads that make excellent “absorbers” like challah, pannetone or even day old croissants (which is what we used for our baked French toast at the restaurant), but for me, nothing beats brioche when it comes to the perfect French toast or bread pudding.

The following are two of my favourite recipes for each. This past weekend we had a decadent brunch of French toast with Canadian maple syrup (of course!) and fresh Irish cherries while my father-in-law was visiting. It was divine! Then, to use up the last of my brioche batch from last week I made a very simple orange and vanilla bread pudding served with a classic crème anglaise.

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Perfect-Every-Time French Toast

Ingredients:

1 loaf 1-2 day old brioche, thickly sliced

10 eggs, room temperature

2 tsp good quality vanilla

1/2 cup sugar (can be substituted with honey or maple syrup)

3/4 cup whole milk or heavy cream (cream is obviously better, but not necessary)

butter

maple syrup (for drizzling)

mixed fruit or berries of your choice (strawberries, cherries and blueberries are my faves)

Directions:

  • In a deep casserole dish, mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla and milk or heavy cream (this mixture is also called a sweet crème royale – you can use the same mixture of eggs and cream for a quiche, minus the sweet stuff). You don’t want to see any chunks of egg left in the royale mixture, so whisk it well (or, for even better results, whisk it using a hand or stand mixer).
  • Fit as many slices of brioche in the royale-filled casserole dish as you can. While letting the bread slices soak, heat a non-stick or cast iron frying pan over medium heat.
  • Flip the soaking bread slices to ensure both sides are evenly soaked. When the bread is fully soaked through, melt some butter in the hot pan and place as many slices in as you can. Cook evenly on both sides. Repeat this process until the entire loaf has been used (there should be enough royale mixture for 10-12 slices of brioche).
  • When the French toast has been evenly cooked on both sides (to a golden brown), I usually place the finished toasts on a lined baking sheet and keep them warm in a 200 degree oven (95 degrees Celsius) until ready to serve.
  • When all the French toast has been made, serve hot with maple syrup and fresh fruit.

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Orange Vanilla Bread Pudding with Warm Crème Anglaise

Ingredients:

1/2 loaf of 1-2 day old brioche or two large brioche rolls (I just use my leftovers for this recipe, this time it was two leftover hamburger buns)

1/3 cup sugar (or honey, or maple syrup)

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tsp good quality vanilla

rind of one orange

For the Crème Anglaise:

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsp sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 Celsius, no fan). Slice the brioche into 1 inch cubes. Butter a round sandwich tin (or if you have a small casserole dish this will work, too). Place bread cubes into the buttered dish.
  • In a bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, cream, vanilla and orange rind to make a creamy royale mix. Pour royale over the brioche cubes and leave for 30 minutes so the bread absorbs as much moisture as possible.
  • Cover with tin foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the tin foil and return the pudding to the oven for an addition 15 minutes.
  • Make the crème anglaise: heat the cream, milk, vanilla and 1 Tbsp sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. You don’t want the mixture to boil, but you want it to start to bubble around the sides of the pot. Remove from heat.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1 Tbsp sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and ribbon-ey. Temper the eggs by adding a splash of hot milk and mixing well (this avoids a potential “scrambled egg” situation). Once the egg mixture is tempered, add the remaining hot milk mixture while stirring constantly.
  • Return to the saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, on medium-low until the crème anglaise has thickened (and easily coats the back of a spoon). Remove from heat and cool slightly before serving with the warm bread pudding.
  • Take the finished pudding out of the oven (the final 15 minutes are more for colour than anything else) and cool slightly in the dish. Slide a knife around the edge of the dish and carefully remove the pudding from the dish. Serve warm with warm crème anglaise.

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