Gabriel Gaté was born in the Loire Valley, the region in France from which this particular brioche recipe originates; brioche is a French pastry that is similar to bread but sweeter, richer and more tender.
He become a chef, training and working in Michelin-starred restaurants in France before moving to Australia with his Melbourne-born partner. He is now a television cooking show presenter, cookery teacher, gourmet tour leader, and author of more than 20 cookbooks.
His new cookbook, Delicieux – the Recipes of France, presents a broad selection of many dishes Gaté has collected. With more than 200 recipes adapted for the home cook, it brings to life the seasonal dishes of rural and urban France that will enchant both armchair and aspiring travellers.
Here, Gaté shares a favourite recipe from the Vendé region of the south-western France which he attributes to renowned French pastry chef Pierrick Boyer.
Brioche from Vendée – Brioche Vendéenne
As with many cakes, this special treat of Brioche Vendéenne is usually bought at the local pâtisserie or boulangerie by French families to serve to visitors. It’s served with coffee and is often dunked in the coffee. Skilful home cooks will derive great pleasure from making brioche.
500g plain flour
150g caster sugar
15g dry yeast
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon orange flower water
300g unsalted butter
2 egg yolks mixed with 1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
In the bowl of an electric beater, place the flour, salt, caster sugar, dry yeast, eggs and orange flower water and beat on medium speed until it forms a smooth, elastic dough.
Reduce to low speed, add the butter bit by bit and beat until well incorporated. This takes about 10 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a long piece. Place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for 2 hours.
Flatten the dough into a long rectangle and cut it into three long pieces. Roll each piece into a long baguette shape and form a plait with the three pieces of dough. Place on another baking tray lined with baking paper and leave to prove for about 1 hour in a warm place.
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Brush the risen dough lightly with the egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes.
Cool the brioche before slicing.
Serves 10 to 15
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