Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Gâteau à la Crème Fraîche

A few days ago I experimented with a couple of brioche recipes. The first one was supposed to be a straightforward recipe for a brioche loaf... I made the dough the night before and I let it prove in the fridge overnight.  The following day, I shaped the loaf, I let it had its second rise... then, here's my big mistake... I went to the gym, thinking I'll make it home on time to bake the loaf... but no... traffic was just mental and when I got home, it was without a doubt: over-proved.  (I imagine myself as a contestant in the Great British Bake Off and Paul Hollywood looking at me in disgust for my over-proved brioche)  I baked it anyway and it came out flat as expected....

Thankfully I didn't make the same mistake for the second brioche experiment... Gâteau à la Crème Fraîche.  This is one of the recipes that I've been wanting to try for ages and I'm glad that I've done it.  The recipe is from the Oxfordshire based French chef, Raymond Blanc from his book Kitchen Secrets.  When I first saw the recipe and the stunning picture in the book, I thought this will be a complicated one.... and it's not.  But do tell people you slave for hours making this exquisite tart and enjoy all the compliments :)

I made the brioche dough using an electric mixer attached with a dough hook which makes life so much easier.  But if you want to do it by hand, I think you can do, but just to warn you, the dough is wet and sticky.

Gâteau à la Crème Fraîche 
Recipe by Raymond Blanc

For brioche dough
250 gr strong white bread flour
3 pinches sea slat
30 gr caster sugar
12 gr fresh yeast (I used 6 gr dried yeast)
4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
150 gr unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes

For the crème fraîche filling
4 yolks
45 gr caster sugar
the zest of 1/2 lemon
the juice of 1/4 lemon
150 gr crème fraîche or sour cream

To finish
2 yolks, lightly beaten (recipe states 2, but 1 yolk is actually plenty)
caster sugar for sprinkling

In a bowl of an electric mixer attached with a dough hook, place the dry ingredients, keeping the salt and yeast apart, as salt will kill the yeast when they're put together.  Let them mix on a low speed and slowly add the lightly beaten eggs until fully incorporated.  Then add the speed and mix until the dough is coming away from the side of the bowl.  Now you can add the cubes of butter and keep mixing until all of the butter has disappeared.

Gave the dough a little scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with cling film or tea towel, and let it rise for an hour.  Then, put it in the fridge also for an hour.  The dough will be much easier to handle when it's cold as the butter solidifies a bit.  Make the filling by simply mixing all the ingredients in a small jug, and set it aside.

Now time to shape the dough in the tin.  You can use a tart tin to make the edges look pretty but I left mine few thousand miles away, so I just use a regular round cake tin, about 30 cm in diameter.  Place the dough in the centre and using a lightly floured hands, flatten the dough, pushing in from the centre until it covers the bottom of the tin.  Cover again with cling film or kitchen towel and let it prove for 25-30 minutes at room temperature.  In the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 200 C.

Using a lightly floured hands, push the dough and make a well in the centre.  Pour the filling and brush the rim with the yolk(s).  Bake in the middle shelf for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the sugar all over and bake for another 15 minutes until the edges turned golden brown and the filling is almost set.  Remove from the tin and let it cool slightly on a wire rack.  Serve warm with a nice cup of tea...


  1. Good for you for not being discouraged. I'm completely flummoxed by the idea of baking. Maybe there is a 12-step program for me.

  2. Wow Michael...this look awesome, I sure would love to have this treat with a cup of tea...I just printed the recipe and will try it!
    Thanks for the recipe and hope you have a great week :)

  3. This looks divine, esp. the fresh sour cream filling!

  4. Oh that's absolutely lovely. I'm seriously hungry now - I've got to make some more brioche. By the way, I've often said that going to the gym was a big mistake.

  5. Wow Michael, I'm so impressed with your fancy baking. Love the brioche and the 'fancy' creme fraiche filling:)
    I really hope I can send this comment through!

  6. Oh, wow! thanks for taking off that awful word verification: Looks like you read my twitter comment to you
    (just didn't check back for a reply since)

  7. This looks so good Michael! I've been wanting to have a go at baking a brioche. You're story made me laugh if having been at the gym with you thinking your rushing off because your late for work or something. Instead your rushing to get to your brioche : )lol

    1. well, that's the story of my life... :)

  8. Ooohhh.. yes, I have over proved before too... such a disappointment after waiting for long :) But at least you redeemed yourself.. the finished product looks absolutely amazing!!

  9. I am forever overproving bread, but never because I've been at the gym! This looks absolutely INCREDIBLE. I need to make a little present for someone over the weekend and I'm thinking this could be it... thanks!