Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Brioche Craqueline

Last week I began preparations for making the craqueline recipe from the Flour cookbook by Joanne Chang.  They were finally finished on Saturday.  I made the brioche dough Friday afternoon.  Because of the quantity of dough, I thought it best to work in my baking kitchen to utilize the 6-quart mixer instead of overtaxing the little 4.5-quart in our home kitchen.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera over so I don’t have any photos of the brioche coming together. 

Unlike the brioche recipe from King Arthur Flour I made previously, this brioche recipe was perfect.  It did take some time – there’s probably 30 minutes spent just on mixing alone – but so very worth it.  The dough was silky, soft and just beautiful.  Working with it was delightful.  It was necessary to refrigerate the dough for up to six hours, but I just went with overnight since it was later in the afternoon when I finished it.

The following day I began by chopping the candied oranges.  I loved smelling them, but working with them was messy and challenging with the sticky sugar syrup.  In retrospect, I think perhaps I didn’t get enough of the syrup off of them before chopping. 

With the oranges chopped and set aside, it was time to get the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out.  There aren’t any photos of that either.  (Sometimes I’m just so focused on what I’m doing that I don’t think to stop and take photos.  Perhaps I’ll eventually get better about that.)  The dough rolled like a dream.  It wasn’t at all sticky like that from the King Arthur recipe. 

The craqueline recipe only calls for half of the quantity of brioche, but I chose to use it all and just make two batches.  Because I used blood oranges instead of navel oranges, I didn’t seem to have enough of the candied oranges to cover the amount of dough I needed to.  Since I didn’t have any more oranges and didn’t have time to candy them even if I did, I went to the pantry and came up with three jars of grapefruit marmalade.  I poured the marmalade into a strainer and rinsed away the jelly part.  I was left with the candied peel which I chopped and added to the oranges.  It worked perfectly.  Once the citrus was spread over the dough, it was folded up letter style.  This is where using a silcon mat was invaluable. 

messy spooning process
The craqueline are covered with a slurry of egg, sugar and (supposedly) sliced almonds.  I had slivered almonds instead of sliced, so that’s what I used.  On the first tray of craqueline, I spooned the mixture over the pastries.  I wasn’t really happy with that process as a great deal of the mixture ended up on the baking sheet. 

neater brushing process
For the second tray, I brushed the pastries with the egg/sugar slurry, sprinkled the almonds over the top and then brushed them again.  I’m not sure which technique I like better.  Spooning gets more of the sugar mixture for the crackling top, but is much messier.  The neater brushing doesn’t seem to get enough of the sugar mixture to get the top crunchy and these pastries baked up much darker.  I’ll keep experimenting with the technique for the topping.

final product of spooning method
Overall, I’m very pleased with the craqueline.  I thought the brioche was perfect:  slightly sweet, buttery, rich, but not too eggy.  Probably not everyone will love the bitter-sweet candied orange filling, but I thought it was wonderful.  I’m thinking the navel oranges probably would have been sweeter than the blood oranges, but that’s another thing to test. 

final product of brushing method
Texturally, the combination of the soft dough, the chewy oranges and the crunchy topping was just perfect.  This is one of those recipes that I liked so well I almost wish I had never made it.  Fortunately, I had places to take the craqueline so I wouldn’t eat them all.  I think I could have.

(As I used the recipe directly from the Flour cookbook without alteration, I've not reprinted it here.  If you enjoy baking though, I highly recommend this book!)


  1. Wow! That brioche looks incredible. I made bioche this weekend as well from a much simpler recipe, and it was good but not that perfect. I will have to look up that recipe for a day when I have a lot of time!

    1. Oh, Katie! If you like brioche this recipe is so worth it! Even though it takes a while to mix, it's mostly hands-off time. Amarah at Baking My Time Away has the recipe up on her blog: http://bakingmytimeaway.blogspot.com/2012/03/brioche.html. She also has the Flour cookbook and has posted about several of the brioche treats she's made from it. Totally worthwhile!

    2. Thank you! Definitely going to check that out right now!


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