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Chocolate, Orange & Walnut Brioche

I made this brioche for an Easter brunch I hosted at my place, so I prepared the dough the night before and got up early the next morning to roll it out, fill it and bake it. It was definitely worth the effort, having a freshly baked brioche. Any yeast based bakes tend to try out quickly so make sure you wrap any leftovers in cling film and keep them in an air tight container. If you toast slices of the brioche it will give it back it's freshness even a few days later.

Ingredients

Brioche dough:

  • 25g fresh yeast
  • 150ml milk
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 420g plain flour
  • 100g very soft butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs

Filling:

  • 100g butter
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 80g dark chocolate (approx. 52% cocoa mass)
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 80g chopped and toasted walnuts
  • zest of 1 orange

Glaze:

  • 2 tbsp clear honey

Method

makes one brioche in a 24cm ø round cake tin

  1. To make the dough, put the sugar, flour, butter salt and eggs in a mixing bowl. Heat the milk to luke warm, crumble the yeast into the milk and stir until dissolved. Start mixing the ingredients in the bowl. The easiest would be to use a standing mixer with a hook attachment but it also works with a hand held electric one with the dough attachments. Slowly add the milk with the yeast. Knead the dough in the machine for about 5 minutes or until it's smooth and doesn't stick to the bowl anymore. You might want to add less flour to begin with and the rest later if necessary as every flour is slightly different and you don't want your dough to be too stiff. Shape the dough into a ball, place it into a bowl, brush the surface with a bit of vegetable oil, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 2 hours or even better overnight.
  2. To make the filling, melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the sugar and stir until the sugar starts to dissolve. Take the saucepan off the heat, add the chocolate, leave to set for 1 minute, then stir the chocolate until combined. Stir in the cocoa powder and then the orange zest. 
  3. Prepare a 24 cm ø round cake tin by lining the base with a piece of parchment paper and greasing the paper base and the sides of the tin with a bit of butter.
  4. Dust your work surface with a bit of flour and start rolling out the dough. I recommend cutting a cross into the dough with a sharp knife and pulling the four right angles facing each other away from each other in the opposite directions so the dough will have a rectangular shape and sharp corners from the beginning. Roll the dough out to about 30x55cm. If it  keeps shriveling back, leave it to rest for a few minutes before continuing. Remember to not only roll the dough out from the centre towards the outside but also from the outside towards the inside to have an evenly thick layer. 
  5. Now spread the chocolate filling onto the dough, all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the walnuts over it. Start rolling up the dough from one of the long sides so that you end up with a 55cm sausage. Cut it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife so that you can see all the lines of dough and filling. Braid the two strands into one long twist and then shape it into a snail, filling facing up, and place the snail into the cae tin. (use the pictures as a reference). 
  6. Leave to rise for about 1.5 to 2 hours covered with a moist kitchen towel in a warm place (such as next to a radiator, turning the cake tin once in a while for an even rise).
  7. Bake the brioche at 175°C (fan oven) for about 35-45minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean (try to find a spot with less chocolate). If it gets very dark while baking, cover it with tin foil for the remaining time in the oven.
  8. Once the brioche is out of the oven, brush it with the honey. You can heat up the honey a little beforehand to make it easier to brush.
  9. Leave the brioche to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing the mould and be careful when doing so, as the tin is still very hot. You might want to use a kitchen towel to take the tin off or if you have time, leave it to cool for longer. I transferrred pretty quickly onto a plate though after baking and it was quite stable.The brioche is at it's best the same day but if you wrap it tightly in cling film and store it an an air tight container it will be enjoyable for a few more days. I can also really recommend toasting slices of it for breakfast or any other time of the day really.
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