Heavenly Apricot Spice Brioche!! plus…..

Hubby’s Pavlova:

Not a yeasty beasty but deserves a mention as it’s a NZ dish, divine and Hubby makes it soooooo well. Not sure about the decoration below but you know what they say about ugly things!! They are usually the best.

A favourite NZ dessert…

You will need

  • 8 egg whites at RT ( see Poppy seed cake recipe to use up egg yolks).
  • 2 cups of castor sugar.
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence.
  • 1 tsp vinegar.
  • 2 tsp cornflour.
  • 450 mls cream for whipping later.
  • Sprinkles and/ or fresh fruit for decoration.

Whip those whites!!

  • Preheat oven to about 140 Celsius.
  • Prepare baking tray with baking paper on it.
  • Whip the egg whites until soft and peaky.
  • Add one tsp on sugar at a time.
  • This process takes about 10-15 minutes but you need the sugar to be dissolved and worked in as well as possible.
  • Beat in vanilla, cornflour and vinegar.
  • Don’t beat the whisk or the beaters on the bowl.
  • Spoon Pavlova mix onto the prepared baking tray, forming a round or oval shape.
  • Pile it up!!
  • Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes at 140 Celsius and then reduce heat to 110 and bake for a further 60-90 minutes until the Pavlova is dry and crisp and lifts of the baking paper easily.

Ready to ice!!

  • When cool, transfer to a plate and whip cream and place on top of the Pavlova.
  • Decorate to your taste!

Tastes divine too!!

Below is how we usually decorate the Pavlova but i think the boys told hubby that chocolate drinking chocolate would be nice, which it would taste wise but a brown Pavlova?? But as I said, it tasted divine!! 

A bit more colour …

Back to the Brioche……..

I don’t know why I do this to myself.

Talk about glutton for punishment.

I know these Brioche’s are buggers to make by hand BUT still i insist on making them….Luckily this time, not too long kneading, 20 mins to put in 300+ grams of butter. I need a new mixer with a dough hook. I have on the odd lazy occasion used the breadmakers kneading facility BUT I don’t like to use that with buttery goods as i like it to be worked in well, so by hand it is. I am looking for an old mixer, the old Kenwood’s ,you know they last for ever and I have my eye on a few so will keep you all informed!! HUGE dough hooks, good for at least 1-2 kg of dough…….and i have my beady eyes on some bannettons too:) Sigh….All the makings of yeasty heaven…

What are we aiming for?

Divine intervention from the Yeasty Gods!!

Now the recipe I used was https://greedybread.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/are-you-feeling-beasty-today/ from here so I won’t repeat it .

BUT i will add, that i used 320g of butter not 220g, so an increase in butter and take a little longer to work it in.

You also need half a cup of Raisins and half a cup of chopped apricots and 2 tsp cinnamon.

When you take the brioche out from its night in the fridge, still work as quickly as you can with it. Put it back in the fridge if need be.

Work the apricots etc into the dough and work through, don’t handle it too much though, so work as quickly as you can.

You could add the fruit just after you finish the kneading the day before, just before you place the dough in the fridge. I don’t like to add fruit etc during the kneading process unless its right at the end.

Leave to prove until doubled in size, just as in the above recipe. You may need 5 minutes more cooking time with the added fruit. From the recipe above, I got 1 brioche and one braided plait so you will get a larger plait if you are making only one or you could make 2 smaller ones , the size I did.

Leave to cool and then enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!

Lets look at the photos.

1st starter for Brioche

Ingredients and 1st starter already to go !

Eggy mix into 1st starter

Yeasty eggy mix into Dry

Form that dough!

Work that dough!

Work that butter in!!

Almost done!!

Into the fridge in an oiled bag overnight

Apricots, Raisins and Cinnamon

Grease the tins!

Ready for proving

Add in the Fruit and Spice

Ready to roll and braid

Ready for egg wash

Bit of a prove

Mmmmm ready to eat!!

Sooooooo Nice!!


A spot of tea & a Chelsea bun?

Chelsea Bun- See the texture……..No squishy white bread facade here!!

I must say when i was in England, i didn’t have a Chelsea bun but i did have a Sally Lunn and a bath bun. That gives me more yeasty beasties to do another day as both are from the yeast family!! Created for the Hanover royal family, it is believed the Chelsea bun was made in a factory in Chelsea about early 18th Century,  hence the name 🙂

My middle son, loves Chelsea buns and I love them as they are relatively easy, ok, they take a little time, but the dough can be used for other things like cinnamon sticky buns, cream and jam rolls and the list goes on………..Really you are only limited by your imagination.

Said boy …..with Minni

The dough i make, is not true to the Chelsea buns we get here , as our buns here are horrible bloody white things with a smear of cinnamon and a sprinkle of raisins and a revoltingly sweet icing. Buns my arse, more like hideous white bread squashed together!! Blurgh!!

See, this is what I mean!! Insipid white dough…………..

I can’t remember the recipe I used originally but I have adapted it to make it more buttery as it was originally quite bland tasting, with heaps of spices and occasionally i add pistachio’s or walnuts to one 1/3 of the buns (as BOYS don’t like nuts) or if i feel very risqué, i will do like a nut paste (similar to that used in baklava filling) and mix it in all of them. Strangely, they don’t say anything but do ask what spices i used??? Ha ha my secret.

Once again I digress………..

Yeasty Beasty Chelsea buns:

  • 3 tsps dried yeast
  • 2 tsp castor sugar
  • 1 cup warmed milk
  • 4 cups strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 120 g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten

Chelsea bun dough before punching it down!!

  • For the Chelsea Bun Filling:
  • 1.5 cups raisins
  • 1/3 cup peel (optional) or you can just add lemon and orange zest if you don’t like peel.
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 30 g butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

Rising nicely


  • Dissolve 2 tsp sugar in the warmed milk and mix in yeast.
  • Cover and place in warm spot until creamy and frothy 15-20 mins.
  • Sift flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and rub in the butter.
  • Remove yeast from warm place and mix in beaten egg.
  • Add yeasty egg mix to dry ingredients and form a dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured area and knead 5-6 minutes.
  • Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and place in warm place until doubled in size , usually 60-90 minutes.
  • Combine Chelsea bun filling ingredients in a bowl EXCEPT the butter and mix well.
  • When dough is ready, turn out on lightly floured area and knead for 3-4 minutes.
  • Roll out with lightly dusted rolling-pin a rectangle of 55 cm by 30cm roughly.
  • Brush with melted (not hot please) butter and then sprinkle all the filling on the rectangle BUT leave a gap of about 3 cms from the end of the dough of one side of the 60 cm length. This is the side that you will roll towards. I do this so when I roll it up, I don’t get over spill as I roll that end piece.
  • When you are rolling, try to do it tightly as you would a swiss roll, so be patient doing it.
  • When the log is rolled, I cut 12-16 pieces depending on how much rise etc I have got from my dough and place in a well-greased roasting dish or rectangle baking pan.
  • You need a pan/ tin with a good 4cm + in height as these buns are quite high.
  • Remember these will double in size ok? so leave room in the pan width wise as well (see photo above where you can see the space i have left).
  • Cover and place in warm spot for 1-2 hours until double in size.

    Ready for the oven

  • Preheat oven to 200 Celsius.
  • Place buns in the oven and bake for 30-35 mins.
  • As soon as the buns are in the oven, place sugar and water in a pot and bring to gentle boil.
  • About 10 minutes before the end baking, brush glaze on buns, don’t be shy, be generous.
  • When cooked, remove and glaze straight away again and leave to cool in pan.

Just out of the oven

When cool, you can make a white fondant icing and drizzle this or you can leave the buns as they are!! Entirely up to you.

I find these best eaten the day you make them but good for toasting the following day and day after. Would also make a good bread and butter pudding too, if there were any left:)

A touch of icing to keep the Lads happy:)

Don’t forget the fillings are up to you but then you need to rename them.

Cranberry and raisin mix is nice, sometimes i be a bit naughty and put vanilla essence in the milk !! Nuts are all nice and you could go savoury and make cheesymite scrolls. Cheese and Vegemite instead of raisins etc and no sugar, and maybe less butter too?  Even bacon, cheese and onion would be nice, like a pull apart. The yeasty possibilities are endless.

Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy:)

P.S: Forgot to say, Muscovado sugar is VERY nice instead of brown sugar.