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From time to time, I decide to make brioche. It’s not a weekly habit because, let’s be honest, a girl can’t afford to have bread as rich with butter as brioche is every single morning. But, occasionally, I find myself staring at my morning toast and wishing it was something like a big fluffy slice of this pumpkin brioche.
And then I start wishing I was in Paris eating brioche, and then I start wishing I was in Paris eating all of my favorite foods, and then I just curl up and cry. Okay, so I may have exaggerated with the crying bit (well, maybe), but you get the picture.
This pumpkin brioche with chocolate swirl, however, will dry up all those tears, and that’s not an exaggeration!
This pumpkin brioche is pillow-y soft and light, with a crumb that’s golden and just a bit flaky. I had the idea in my head that brioche could only get better once flavored with pumpkin and filled with chocolate, and oh was I right. It is positively fantastic!
I know some people have a tough time making brioche, but the most difficult part of making it is being patient with the process. Otherwise, I think any mishaps with brioche are a result of a faulty recipe.
And I say that because I’ve seen quite a few brioche recipes out there with way too many eggs or too much milk, and in those cases, brioche can very easily go wrong.
But with the pumpkin brioche recipe I share today, I can confidently say that you will get a gorgeous loaf. If you’ve made cinnamon rolls before, then you’ll have no problem making this.
Classic brioche usually needs a night in the fridge for the yeast to do its magic, and I find this especially true with pumpkin brioche. The overnight rise allows the brioche to absorb all the pumpkin goodness and fall spices that contribute to its depth of flavor.
The dark chocolate is melted and mixed with a bit of sugar and cinnamon before being spread on the flattened dough. Then the dough is rolled up, split down the middle and braided before resting one last time.
As the pumpkin brioche bakes, the aroma of pumpkin will provoke your senses with excitement. The result is a perfectly golden brown pumpkin brioche with chocolate flowing out.
A gentle cut through the loaf once it’s cooled will reveal swirls of heavenly chocolate nestled in fluffy bread. The bread itself is buttery and yet slightly sweet from the pumpkin.
It’s a wonderful twist on classic brioche that you can delight in anytime this season when you’re feeling a bit indulgent.
Pumpkin Brioche with Chocolate Swirl
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour25 minutes
Fluffy, pumpkin-flavored brioche bread with dark chocolate swirled inside.
2.5 cups + 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2.25 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp table salt
2 large eggs, room temperature, plus 1 egg for the egg wash
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened, cut into 8 pieces , plus more for greasing the pan
for the chocolate swirl filling
3 oz dark chocolate
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and ground cinnamon over low speed with the paddle attachment in place. Add the eggs, milk, and pumpkin, then mix just until a dough starts to form.
Remove the paddle attachment and swap for the hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium speed for 2 minutes. It should be firm and have pulled away from the sides of the bowl by the time you're done. If not, add a tablespoon of flour until it does. Dough should not, however, look dry - it should be very sticky.
Now, with the mixer on medium-low speed, add in half of the butter slices. Continue to knead for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to somewhat fold the dough over the unmixed butter, trying to incorporate the butter into the dough as best as you can. Turn the mixer back onto medium-low speed and add the rest of the butter. Continue to mix for another 4 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured board. Fold the dough in towards the center at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Turn on your oven’s warm setting for 30 seconds before shutting off the oven, then placing the bowl of brioche in the oven. Close the oven door and let the dough rise in this warm, draft-free place for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has almost doubled in size.
Gently take the dough out and place it back on your lightly floured board. Again fold the dough in towards the center at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the brioche overnight.
The next day, turn your dough out onto a lightly floured board. Roll the dough out into a 9 inch long and 7 inch wide rectangle.
Create your chocolate filling by melting the chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the sugar and ground cinnamon. Use a brush or rubber spatula to spread this filling over the dough, leaving a 1/4 inch border clear along the edges of the dough.
Roll the dough into a log, similar to a jellyroll or cinnamon roll, with the seam-side facing down. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Then, take a sharp knife and slice the log, vertically, straight down the middle, starting 1 inch from the top of the log. You should get a wishbone shape from the dough. Gently braid the two strands together before fitting the dough braid into a greased 1 lb. loaf pan.
Cover the loaf pan with a light kitchen towel and let the dough proof for another 40 minutes to 1 hour. It's finished proofing when you can gently press down on the top of the dough with your finger and find the dough immediately springs back.
Once proofed, lightly brush the top of the dough with a beaten egg. Bake the brioche at 375°F for approximately 25 minutes, until deep golden brown. To check for readiness, insert a toothpick in the center - it should come out clean. To enjoy, let the brioche come to room temperature for best flavor and texture.
Yield: 10Serving Size: 10 Servings Amount Per Serving:Calories: 287
It may seem like the title of this post is a bit redundant considering beignets are French by origin, but I felt the need to clarify because of the variety of beignets that now exist throughout the world. Particularly, I felt the need to distinguish these beignets from the ones you’d find in New Orleans or many American bakeries. When I first when to Paris, I spotted beignets on a street vendor cart, not knowing they were beignets. They were round rather than square, like the beignets we often eat here in the States. When I actually bit into one, I found them much more cake-like than the beignets I was accustomed to. The beignets I’ve eaten in the States have often been somewhat hollow-like, much lighter and crisper than the French beignets I ate abroad. Since enjoying the soft, pillowy rounds that I enjoyed in Paris, I haven’t been able to eat any other kind of beignet; French beignets are simply divine.
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 having you reaching for more.