I created this recipe based on traditional French brioches, to make a UK product that can be served all year long and especially for seasonal occasions. It is a sweet Viennese pastry using leavened dough a sweet and soft delicacy filled with a traditional British Christmas mixture of fruits, alcohol, sugar and spices. It is best served at tea-time with a dollop of custard or thick cream. It is very good for breakfast as well and can be reheated for one to two minutes at 180C.
Why the name? In one particular passage of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, he memorably describes the richness of the typical foods that are eaten at Christmas time; and the richness of this pastry creation pays homage to his descriptive powers.
Strong white flour 1,000g
Caster sugar 190g
Fresh egg 350g
Fresh yeast 50g
Fresh milk 180g
Butter (at room temperature) 400g
Caramelised apple slices
1. Mix all the dough ingredients (except butter) on first speed until combined, then on high speed until the dough forms and the side of the bowl is completely clear. Then add the butter in small pieces on slow speed for two minutes, then on high speed until completely absorbed.
2. After mixing, place dough into a container, cover with a plastic sheet and leave to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.
3. Knock the dough back then cover and store in the fridge overnight.
4. Scale at 55g and gently mould into balls. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes
5. Roll out each ball into a small rectangle (A) (7cm W x 12cm L) and spread with 25g of mincemeat (B). Then roll up like a Swiss roll. (C + D)
6. Cut each roll into six slices (E) and place into rectangular moulds (F) so that you can see the inside of the slice. Then prove for up to 2 hours at 24-26C, 65% relative humidity. (G)
7. Egg-wash gently and bake at 180C (deck oven) or 170C (fan oven) until golden brown.
8. De-pan and place on wires to cool down. (H)
1. Slice apple to 1mm and place onto baking tray using baking paper. Brush gently with butter (I) and sprinkle with caster sugar.
2. Bake for 60-70 minutes at 120C. Half-way through baking, remove the apple slices and place them into baking pans to give the final shape, then place back in the oven.
3. Allow to cool.
1. When cold, dust half of the brioche with icing sugar at an angle (J), then stick a caramelised apple slice on top with a dab of caramel.