In The Kitchen: Brioche Almond Ring

This time of year has many faces, and as we work extra hours and wrap piles of presents, one can’t help but have expectations tucked away for the days we celebrate in December. We may hope for sincere connections and specific gifts, the right words spoken to us and rosy memories tucked happily away for later days. These things don’t always come to pass, and the last fleeting moments of the year can often be left feeling rather cold, and a bit empty.

But one thing I know for sure: a delicious Holiday breakfast can go along way. This almond ring has become a Christmas morning tradition in my home. It’s tender, sweet, and bit indulgent; the perfect sugar rush for ripping off all that wrapping paper. It will also keep one merry and bright the following day, as you nibble on leftovers and reflect on the year to come.

For I am warm, I am calling you close to my table
Where I have made us a feast
For the year of troubles, they have gone
The winter brings a Christmas song

And all the trust we put in things
In dictionaries, in engineering
In calendars, and television
And father’s friends, and consequences 
And by the time there’s nothing left
An empty tree, a winter vest
A winter vest, a winter vest

Brioche Almond Ring | Wit & Delight
Brioche Almond Ring
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book

I realize my last post was a recipe for Brioche Cinnamon Rolls, but it is the holiday season, so I think two brioche recipes in a row is acceptable. I use a no-knead brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. This dough is wonderful because it can be mixed together and then stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The brioche master recipe will make about 4 pounds of dough, and this recipe only needs two. If you like a lot of filling you can double it. It’s delicious that way, but will leak a bit out of the ring. I found it to be a bit much doubled, but my family liked it that way.
Brioche Almond Ring | Wit & Delight
2 pounds Brioche dough (see note)

filling:
3.5 -ounces (a half of a  tube) almond paste
2 ounces cream cheese, soft
1/4 cup  powdered sugar

topping:
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 ounce cream cheese, soft
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
a good pinch of salt

On a lightly floured surface, fold the dough over 3 or 4 times and then form it into a ball. Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes.

To make the filling: Beat the almond paste, cream cheese, and sugar together on medium until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle, about 16 by 9-inches. Spread the filling in a 1-inch wide strip just above the bottom edge of dough (on the long edge) (see note on filling). Starting at the edge with the filling, roll the dough into a tight log, and pinch the seam closed. Move the dough, seam side down, to the baking sheet.

Shape the dough into a circle. Make about 11 cuts around the outside of the dough (not all the way through the log) with a very sharp knife or scissors, and twist each piece cut side up (see photo above recipe) . Lightly mist the the ring with oil spray, and then cover the baking sheet loosely with plastic wrap. Let the ring rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375. Brush the ring with the egg white and sprinkle with the almonds. Bake the ring until golden brown, 25-35 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.

Let the ring cool. Make the frosting: whisk together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and salt in a small bowl until smooth, then drizzle it over the ring before serving.
Brioche Almond Ring | Wit & Delight

Sarah