Yes, I did bake some brioche on the outdoor gas grill, and it works quite well, but more on that in a minute. My family just got back from Door County, Wisconsin, home of the famous Montmorency sour cherry. It has an indescribable, almost spicy flavor that can be perfectly heightened by adding sugar in jams and sauces (they’re not for eating out of hand). For jams, you’re pretty limited to a sweet version (for canning safety), and that’s what’s pictured above. It’s what we gave you in the book (page 213 of Artisan Bread in Five). When my family goes to the Door peninsula, we make a bunch of different versions, some that we can and store; but some that we just eat immediately. This time around, we put the cherry preserve on top of luscious brioche (yes, done on the grill). Then we gilded the lily with a little fresh whipped cream:
We ate very, very well, and everyone was in a good mood–no one was voted off the peninsula. Cherries and brioche didn’t hurt–
The tart and lean Montmorency cherry is a perfect foil for the sweet and rich brioche, but any sour cooking cherry will work well.
We like to pick our own– the kids (not to mention the grownups) get a great sense of accomplishment by completing the circle from the grower to the cherry cook to the baker.
The color of these cherries is very different from the sweet eating cherries that we all love. They look more like tomatoes:
You can’t do this job without a cherry-pitter. We use this old-fashioned one; it’s readily available all over Door County or even on the web. You need a glass jar that fits it, but you just place the cherry over the hole, and WHACK! (well, do it gently, and be aware that it occasionally misses a pit so you have to pick over your pitted cherries):
In our recipe on page 213 of the book, you just chop the pitted cherries and measure them into a saucepan, adding one box of fruit pectin:
Bring the mixture to a boil, dump in all the sugar at once and bring it back to a full rolling boil, and cook for 1 minute.
Pour the preserves into clean canning jars and process according to canner and U.S. Department of Agriculture instructions (if you don’t want to process and can the preserves, they can be stored under refrigeration for 2 months or frozen for up to 1 year).
OK, now about that brioche, and how to do it on the outdoor gas grill. While brioche can be finicky about scorching, I had no problem using the same method I used for my Rustic Fruit Tart on the Gas Grill. Just prepare the dough as in the book on page 189, and form a grapefruit-sized loaf (about one pound or 450 grams), by gluten-cloaking as we’ve showed before on this site. Handle it as little as possible, pulling the top around to the bottom as you rotate it; you should be able to form the ball in under 30 seconds. Use a baking stone on the gas grill, light all the burners (for evenness) and fiddle with the controls until you get a constant 350 degrees F. reading on the grill’s thermometer. And don’t bake directly on the stone; you need a Silpat or cookie sheet to protect the delicate brioche bottom from the rude stone. No need for additional pictures, I think (except for the “Goodbye from Door County” shot):
If you can spend time with your family cooking and eating like this, life is good. And very, very simple. Have a great August.