As previously seen on Wit & Delight
Editor’s Note: The brioche recipes Sarah Kieffer contributed to Wit & Delight in 2014 have been two of the most beloved pieces of food content we’ve posted, and there’s good reason for it. Today we’re sharing Sarah’s take on a brioche almond ring recipe with you all. Make this for your 2020 holiday crew (or heck, make it for yourself!) this month or any time of year. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
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 a long way. This almond ring has become a Christmas morning tradition in my home. It’s tender, sweet, and a 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 by the time there’s nothing left
An empty tree, a winter vest
A winter vest, a winter vest
And all the trust we put in things
In dictionaries, in engineering
In calendars, and television
And father’s friends, and consequences
-The Child with the Star on His Head, Sufjan Stevens
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 The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book. This dough is wonderful because it can be mixed together and then stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. The brioche master recipe will make about four 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.
2 pounds brioche dough (see note)
3.5 ounces (half of a tube) almond paste
2 ounces cream cheese, soft
1/4 cup powdered sugar
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 above). 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. To 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.
Sarah Kieffer spends much of her time taking photographs and in the kitchen with her two little ones. She loves to use any available free time re-reading books and sipping cold press. She shares her recipes and musings at The Vanilla Bean Blog, a space dedicated to creating a family food history.
BY Sarah Kieffer - December 6, 2020
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.