Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Love/Hate Relationship With Brioche



What have I said that I will say again.

Time and again, I fall for its crafty, buttery, egg yolky charms.

Most sometimes, I hate how it's made me try, try, and try and try somemore.

Rare othertimes, I love how it's made me try, try, and try and try somemore.

Best part is, regardless, I try, try, and try and try somemore.

And so, hate it or love it, as far as brioche is concerned, I will be trying, trying, and trying and trying somemore, such is its spellbinding power, ever holding (or withholding) the promise of paradisiacal perfection. Brioche is a most contrary mistress, and in every sense. Ethereal yet rich, and most most tempestuous, attempting to hone and perfect a brioche recipe is as one would imagine an exercise in patience not terribly different from the taming of the shrew.

Some women are addicted to bad relationships. While I thankfully got that out of my system many moons ago, I seem to have traded it for an addiction to truculent recipes. The agony and the ecstasy, really, sometimes, are one and the same.
But once grasped, a fabulous brioche recipe becomes a many-splendoured thing. It can form the basis of many preparations, from flamiche to kugelhopf.
If I had to pick a favourite, the kugelhopf from Holiday Treats II, the demo class I'll be teaching at Shermay's Cooking School on 27 November 2010 (Saturday) and 28 November 2010 (Sunday), is most certainly the one. For all inquiries, please call the school at +65 6479 8442 or 6479 8414, or email

I've tried to strike a balance in this particular menu between the challenging-but-oh-so-gratifying-to-perfect and the simple-but-spectacular, hopefully those of you attending will find it as pleasing a mix too, accommodating of schedules both flexible and tight.

The menu:
Kugelhopf From Alsace to Austria, this traditional European specialty is equally beloved for good reason. Buttery yet delicate, the fruited yeast-leavened dough has a superb texture that’s the perfect cross between cake and bread. Leftovers make for excellent Bread Pudding or Pain Perdu.

Gingerbread Linzertorte This lovely twist on a beloved Austrian classic features a beautifully spiced gingerbread crust coddling a raspberry jam filling.

White Christmas Parfait A dreamy, creamy, light-as-snow frozen dessert with cranberries, pistachios and Valrhona Ivoire 35% white chocolate (an ice cream machine is not required for this recipe).

Peppermint Fudge Brownies An ultra luxe brownie recipe featuring an extravagant quantity of Valrhona Manjari 64% dark chocolate, bound by just a little flour. The result? Fudgy brownie heaven. These special treats are also used as the base for decorated miniature stacked brownie tiers.

Bonus Section I – Decorating Ideas & Essential Techniques:

Miniature Stacked Brownie Tiers decorated with Pretty Poinsettias,

and Holiday Holly.

Cupcake Ornaments How to decorate Brandied Mincemeat Cupcakes to resemble gorgeous holiday ornaments for trimming the tree.

Bonus Section II – Extra Recipes, Ideas & Serving Suggestions:

Brandied Mincemeat Cupcakes As festive and tasty as fruitcake or mincemeat pies, but much quicker to put together.

Rum Raisin & Chocolate Bread Pudding A velvety chocolate custard and rum-plumped raisins elevate homey bread pudding into the realm of the sublime.

Luxurious Pain Perdu No ordinary French toast, this showcases an enriched bread soaked in a lush Madagascar Bourbon vanilla-perfumed custard and carefully cooked till tender within and crisp without.

It's been an exhilarating - and slightly insane - 2010 for me so far. Between moving house, new projects, and travel plans, time constraints have unfortunately dictated that I do far fewer holiday season classes than usual - just one weekend of Holiday Treats I and one weekend of Holiday Treats II. On the bright side, I know they will be weekends filled with the warm, familiar faces of the individuals I have had the privilege of meeting and getting to know better over the last few years I have been teaching. Can't wait!


Blogger Coraine said...

OH man!! Your photography~~~~~~~~~~superb!!!
And Im sure u r a great teacher!

9:16 am, October 28, 2010  
Blogger Beth said...

I am sooo happy you are posting again. I absolutly love your site, your pictures, your food!!!and your baked goods. Wish I lived around you so I could take some of your classes as I'm not a baker. Anyway I for one am very glad your back and I hope you post regularly again.

9:23 am, October 29, 2010  
Anonymous keiko said...

everything looks absolutely beautiful Joycelyn - wish I could be there to learn how to make these gorgeous creations. Hope you're settling into your new home, take care. xxx

11:36 pm, October 29, 2010  
Anonymous eatingsumo said...


12:55 pm, November 02, 2010  
Blogger Katie Yoon said...

Gorgeous! I love Love all your cakes!

7:55 am, November 08, 2010  
Anonymous Shane said...

Wow! Nice angle! I think you're not only good in baking cakes but you also have talent when it comes to taking pictures. Awesome images! Will look forward to more of your posts.

6:27 pm, November 10, 2010  
Anonymous Artemis Tsipi said...

Hello from Greece!
I learned about your gorgeous blog and I think I'll stick to it from now on!

Keep (food) blogging!

4:30 pm, November 17, 2010  
Blogger thepassionatecook said...

amazing decorations and pictures as usual... i popped into shermay's yesterday on my first trip to holland village since relocating here - it was great to discover that this is where you teach (when i discovered your blog aeons ago, i couldn't care less where you were teaching, it was too far for me to benefit from it anyway ;-))... and now, who knows, maybe I'll meet you at one of your classes very soon! god knows i need help with decorating, I think that truly is my very weakest point!

9:22 pm, November 19, 2010  
Anonymous Christmas Sweets said...

Love your pics esp the white parfait and gingerbread! I personally dont like brioches. :(

7:38 am, November 26, 2010  
Anonymous tasteofbeirut said...

These are absolutely lovely, exquisite creations

8:43 pm, December 20, 2010  
Blogger Missy said...

Your posts are such an inspiration. Is there any way to get some of these recipes? Maybe you should think of doing a book you do such beautiful work...pastries and pictures.

9:30 am, February 02, 2011  

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