I’m back from Paris, and while I always wish I could linger just a little bit longer along the Boulevard Saint-Germain, I am so happy to be home.
I missed my family, friends, and the little love of my life (my doggy!) so very much. I joke that now I know what it feels like to be that overbearing mother who is obsessed with her child because I always feel overwhelming separation anxiety when I am apart from my dog. I just miss his cute little face far too much!
The abundance of good food and holiday cheer in Paris, however, really helped keep me distracted. It just never ceases to amaze me how much the French eat during the day and how absolutely delicious it all is.
My first stop in Paris is always the bakery, and it usually includes a baguette, some kind of croissant – butter or chocolate – and fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth brioche. Kind of like this cranberry stuffed brioche wreath. Because this brioche? It will totally melt in your mouth and have you reaching for more.
I first got the idea for this cranberry stuffed brioche wreath from Kimberley Wilson on the Great British Bake Off, who made a similar looking brioche wreath.
Normally, I roll my brioche dough into smooth balls, then I line them up in 2 columns in a loaf pan. This is how a classic loaf of brioche is created.
I also usually create brioche as a sort of breakfast treat, be it cinnamon orange raisin brioche or something festive like pumpkin chocolate brioche, so the idea of creating a brioche that could be enjoyed as a savory appetizer or side was a neat change in my routine.
This cranberry stuffed brioche wreath is just as simple to make as classic brioche is, and can be paired with various cheeses, or melted cheese like Kimberley Wilson did. Whether it’s a round of camembert or brie, there’s nothing like dipping a fluffy brioche roll into a melted pool of creamy, cheesy goodness.
To create this cranberry stuffed brioche wreath, I simply roll my brioche dough into balls, like usual, and then press my thumb into the center of each to create a deep hole. I fill this hole with cranberry relish, and then pinch the hole shut, keeping the relish enveloped inside while simultaneously smoothing out the dough ball.
I then place these dough balls in a wreath form. To keep the center of the wreath hollow, you can either place a ramekin in the center, or if you’re planning to melt a wheel of cheese, place the wooden cheese container in the center and bake the cheese along with the brioche.
The cranberry relish is a fun surprise in the center of the brioche rolls that pairs beautifully with various cheeses. To give this cranberry stuffed brioche wreath a festive look, I simply placed a few sprigs of rosemary and fresh cranberries on top!
Cranberry Brie Stuffed Brioche Wreath
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tsp whole milk 20 ml
- 3 c + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 350 g
- 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast 7 g
- 1/4 c granulated sugar 30 g
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 200 g unsalted butter almost 1 c, softened and sliced
- 1 egg plus a pinch of salt beaten for brushing on top
- 1 in wheel of camembert or brie a wooden carton
- few sprigs of thyme plus fresh cranberries for garnishing
- cup about 1/2 of cranberry relish for filling
Mix the eggs and milk together in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, yeast, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Attach the mixer’s dough hook and stir to combine.
Add the egg and milk mixture to the dough, keeping the mixer on medium-low speed as you do. Then, once the dough is soft and wet, increased the speed to medium and add the unsalted butter into the dough, adding the slices gradually.
Knead the dough for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the dough clings to the dough hook. The dough won’t look very compact; instead it will look more like a very thick cake batter. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight.
The next day, line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper. If you’re using a cheese carton, remove the cheese and place it in the fridge. Place the carton in the center of the baking sheet, or place an empty ramekin in the center of the baking sheet.
Flour your counter well before tipping the brioche dough out into the counter. Lightly shape the dough into a sausage roll, then divide the dough into 5 even clumps.
Working with one clump of dough at a time, divide each clump into 4 to 5 pieces. Roll each of these pieces into smooth balls. Then, using your thumb, gently press your thumb through each ball to create a deep hole, almost to the bottom of the brioche ball. Fill each hole with about 1/2 a teaspoon to 1 tsp of cranberry relish. Pinch the dough together to close the hole, then try to smooth out the top as best as you can.
Place each ball of dough around your cheese carton or ramekin, creating a ring of brioche balls with about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of space between each other. Once the first ring of brioche is completely, place another ring of balls around the first one, placing the second ring slightly off center so that the second ring of balls line up between the first ring rather than directly behind them. Again, leave about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch space between the balls and both rings.
Lightly cover the dough with a large sheet of plastic wrap and let the brioche wreath rest for about 40 minutes, until they’re almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the cheese from the fridge, taking the plastic wrap off of it. Use a sharp knife to horizontally cut just 1 layer off the top of the cheese. Place the cheese in the wooden carton on the baking sheet.
Gently brush the dough balls with the beaten egg, then bake the brioche and cheese for 15 to 20 minutes, until the brioche is a deep golden brown color. Garnish with a few sprigs of rosemary and fresh cranberries.