This brioche is often made at the time of Epiphany, 6 January, to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings. It is full of lovely citrusy flavours and candied fruit, yet is light to eat. You could add creme patisserie or whipped cream as a filling. This versatile dough can be made and left to prove in the refrigerator overnight should it fit your schedule better. Orange flower water is widely available. The quantity may seem high, but it really works well
20grfresh yeastavailable from most supermarkets. Ask at the bakery counter
75grbutter, cubedpreferably unsated
50mlorange flower water
50 grmixed peeloptional
100grmixed dried fruit eg apricots, dates, cherries
watera little more if the mixture is very dry
pearl sugar nibsoptional, for decoration
jam for glazingapricot or plum works well
Beat the eggs and place in a small bowl. You will need to reserve about a tablespoon for brushing on the brioche before cooking.
Place the flour, caster sugar, salt and yeast into the mixer bowl.
Add the honey, orange flower water and cubed butter. Add the eggs reserving approximately one tablespoon full.
With a dough hook or your hands mix for about 10 minutes until the dough is very smooth and supple. Add the candied peel and mix for another minute. It will come away from the sides of the mixer bowl. If it is very dry, add a dessertspoon of water and mix again.
If you wish you can check the temperature of the dough. This should be between 24 and 26 degrees centigrade.
Cover the bowl and leave it in a draft free place for 1 hour. Alternatively, put in the fridge for use later (leave it at least 6 hours).
Form the dough into a smooth round ball. Then flatten slightly and make a hole in the middle. Widen the hole and shape evenly (like a large holey doughnut).
Place on a silicon sheet or baking parchment on a baking tray. Brush lightly with the remaining beaten egg.
Chop the mixed fruit and sprinkle round the top of the brioche. If you are using pearl sugar, sprinkle that round the sides.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C
Leave the brioche at least 1 hour before baking. It should be soft and spongy to the touch.
Brush again with egg. Have some extra parchment paper to hand to place on the top half way through baking.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes. The brioche should we well risen and golden brown. After about 15 minutes, place the parchment paper on top. When ready, the underneath should be golden brown and the dough round the hole should be well cooked.
Let it cool a little before serving. If you are adding cream or creme patissiere, it should be completely cold.
This recipe can be made without a stand mixer. If you do make it by hand, soften the butter first. You will need a baking tray, baking parchment or silicon paper; a pastry brush.