(photo by Mark Luinenburg from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)
In Minnesota for the past week it has been a little too gray for my taste. The one consolation to all the cold and snow we get around here, are the endless clear blue skies. They are rather remarkable and make the winters tolerable. When they refuse to show themselves through the clouds I go cold. This means I need a little something to brighten up my day. Something sweet! Something easy and quick. Sunny-Side-Up Apricot Pastry (p. 225) will do the trick. A combination of buttery brioche, luscious vanilla pastry cream and tangy sweet apricots.
If you have a batch of Brioche dough at the ready then these treats go together in a short time. Perhaps more than 5 minutes but some indulgences are worth the few extra minutes.
One other thing drives me crazy about January, the lack of fresh fruit. Not that Chile isn’t willing to produce and ship anything your heart desires, but it just isn’t the same as fresh fruit from the farmers market or the pick-it-yourself farm. But this is a craving and one that I can’t wait until summer to satisfy. So I admit I went to Lund’s and bought a can of Apricots and went on my merry way toward happiness.
…and don’t forget to use a real vanilla bean in the pastry cream. If you’ve never used one before click here and I’ll show you how!
1 1/2 pounds (cantaloupe-size portion) Brioche dough (p.189) dough that you have mixed up and refrigerated.
8 ripe apricots, halved (fresh in season or canned in the dead cold of January!)
1/2 cup apricot jam, melted
2 cups sugar
To assemble the pastries:
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Dust the surface of the cantaloupe-size piece of refrigerated Brioche dough with flour and quickly shape it into a rough ball shape.
Roll the dough to about 1/8″ thick rectangle, no thinner or it won’t rise enough. Adding flour on the dough and pin to prevent from sticking.
Cut out 4-inch circles, using a round cookie or biscuit cutter. You can make 1 or a dozen pastries and just put the left over dough back in the bucket.
Make a flat mound of sugar on the work surface.
Using the rolling pin, roll back and forth over the center, stopping 1/2 inch from either end to create an oval. If the dough sticks to the pin sprinkle with a bit of flour. Lay the oval, sugar side up on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough circles.
Place 2 tablespoons of the pastry cream in the center of the sugared oval. Place 1 or 2 apricots on the pastry cream so they resemble a sunny-side-up egg.
Rest the pastry for 30 to 40 minutes (this is slightly less time than we say in the book, but I’ve found this to be more than adequate. Always looking for the faster way to have pastries!)
Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat oven to 350 degrees (this is different than what we say in the book, which is a mistake and should be changed.)
Bake the pastries in the center of the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and sugar is caramelized. If you are baking two trays at once make sure to rotate the trays top to bottom so that they bake evenly and the bottoms don’t over bake.
As soon as the pastries come out of the oven, brush the apricot jam over the apricots to give them a nice shine.
Serve warm or cooled, but serve them fresh!