Chocolate Ganache and Praliné Brioche
“Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, said to have been spoken in the 17th or 18th century by “a great princess” upon being told that the peasants had no bread.
While the phrase is commonly attributed to Marie Antoinette, it’s prior to the French Revolution, meaning that it’s impossible for the quote to have originated from Antoinette, and she most likely never said it.
The French phrase mentions brioche and not a cake. Brioche is a bread enriched with butter (lots of butter) and eggs and It can be found in every boulangerie in Paris. The brioche belongs to the morning pastries department, the Viennoiserie, and can come in different shapes, sizes and textures.
Brioche à tête is the most classically recognized form. This kind of brioche is formed and baked in a fluted round, flared tin. A large ball of dough is placed on the bottom and topped with a smaller ball of dough to form the head. Today you can find a very large variety of brioches, without filling, with filling, brioche from puff pastry, salty brioche and more.
This time I visited Tristan Rousselot in the dessert lab of the Prince de Galles Hotel and filmed with him the preparation of one of his marvelous creations – Chocolate Ganache and Praliné Brioche. The chef agreed to give me the recipe so I could adapt it for home baking so I could share it with you.
The last few days I have been working on preparing the recipe and have finally come to a wonderful and suitable result for the home kitchen. Although the recipe consists of several different parts, the preparation of each part is very easy.
The texture of the brioche is wonderful, the ganache filling adds a deep chocolate flavor and a creamy texture, the Craquelin cookie adds the crunchy part and the praliné adds the wonderful nutty flavor. Together it’s a perfect bite that our neighbors Claudine and Philippe loved very much.
Brioche dough (all ingredients should be very cold, prepare the day before):
120g eggs (2 medium eggs)
6g fresh yeast
190g all-purpose flour
1 vanilla bean
95g butter, cubed
Chocolate hazelnut ganache (prepare the day before):
65g heavy whipping cream
80g milk chocolate, chopped
50g dark chocolate 70%, chopped
10g natural hazelnut paste
Pinch of salt
60g butter, cold, cubed
70g light brown sugar
5g natural hazelnut paste
20g eggs (around third egg)
80g all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1g baking soda
100g praliné paste, recipe inside
1. Brioche dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer put together eggs and yeast. Add flour, sugar, salt and vanilla. Make sure the yeasts don’t touch the sugar and salt. With the dough hook attachment, knead the dough for about 7 minutes at a slow speed and another 7 minutes at a medium speed.
2. Add the butter in increments and keep kneading for about 10-12 minutes. Make sure to stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl if needed. The dough should be very soft and tacky to the touch. knead the dough until you have reached this consistency.
3. Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a ball. Place in a lightly floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent dehydration. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Chocolate hazelnut ganache: In a medium pot, heat the cream and honey until almost boiling.
5. Remove from heat and strain the cream into the bowl with the chocolate, hazelnut paste and salt. Let the mixture sit for a minute before stirring. Using a spatula, slowly and gently begin to stir together the chocolate and cream. You should be stirring slowly and carefully for a few minutes until you have a glossy ganache.
6. Pour the ganache onto a small pan lined with cling film, place in the refrigerator until set. Divide into 6-10 cubes and form a ball from each cube, freeze until baking.
7. Craquelin cookie: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade blend together butter and sugar. Add hazelnut paste and egg and pulse a few times. Add the rest of the ingredients and stop before it forms a complete ball, some crumbs are okay.
8. Turn dough out onto a clean surface. Knead and roll it between two pieces of parchment paper until thin (3-4mm). Transfer dough, along with parchment paper, to a baking sheet and freeze.
9. Remove the brioche dough from the refrigerator. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press down gently to deflate the dough with your hands. Divide into 6-10 units of equal size. Tighten the dough into balls with a smooth surface (using the edges of your palms). Place the dough balls in greased brioche tins or in a muffin pan (9cm each tin). Lightly flatten the balls inside the tins/pan, cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm and humid place to rise for about 3 hours, until the dough doubles in volume.
10. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
11. Place a chocolate ganache ball in the center of each dough ball, pressing the ganache ball into the dough so that the air comes out of the dough.
12. Remove the craquelin from the freeze. Peel the top parchment paper from the dough, turn the dough over and peel the bottom parchment paper so that the dough does not stick to the paper on either side. Using a round cutter (a bit smaller than the size of the brioche tin), stamp out 6-10 pieces of craquelin. Craquelin dough scraps can be re-rolled out, chilled, and cut into new rounds.
13. Top each brioche with a craquelin cut-out, making sure it’s positioned exactly in the center.
14. Bake for about 14-16 minutes until the brioche is golden. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, remove from tins/pan and transfer to a cooling rack.
15. Pour into the socket created in each brioche a generous layer of praliné.
*It’s recommended to eat warm and fresh, but the brioches can be kept for two days in an airtight container.