with Pistachio,Cardamom & milky Rose glaze
One of my best memories of my year spent in Sydney, Australia (way back in 1994!), was the brioche challah that everyone served at their Shabbat tables. Somehow, the kosher bakery in Sydney decided that this was a classic challah dough, but I had personally never tasted any challah from a bakery that tasted this good. Of course it was a pareve version of a classic brioche, but it was a rich yellow with a pillowy and melt-in-your-mouth crumb, and mmm, vanilla sweet… and let's just say I ate WAY too much of it over the course of that year!
Here is my re-creation of that buttery brioche challah of my memories… but as I am doing this for Shavuot… this time it’s actually going to made with REAL BUTTER.
This is a VERY soft and sticky dough, and it will not look like you can shape a challah with it - but trust me on this. After a full day in the fridge, it will become workable, and when it is baked, it is the most incredible, buttery melt in your mouth challah, that is almost croissant-like.
When I bit into the first piece, I felt memories of Sydney rushing back… and I knew I got it right!
You can just make this as is and serve for the holiday. You will be much adored.
However… since of course I can’t leave well enough alone, I have gone ahead and taken this brioche dough a few steps further.
With the addition of a butter pistachio/cardamom filling, and a milky rose topping… this challah has now risen to star status.
The milk recalls the Torah that we receive anew on Shavuot, that perfect form of nourishment for our soul - which we compare to mother’s milk.
The roses are a reminder of the flowers that bloomed miraculously in the desert, as all of creation came to life with the giving of the Torah on Sinai.
Together, shaped into a floral wreath, this becomes the centerpiece of your Shavuot table.
ps - scroll all the way down, to see how you can take this even further and make it a combination of flowers and challah! WOW.
yields: enough for one large floral wreath challah (approximately 12-15 rosettes)
equipment: Dairy mixer with paddle attachment / or - Large Mixing Bowl
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup warm milk
3 tsp active dry yeast (a little less than 2 envelopes)
1/4 cup sugar
2 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs, room temp
12 Tbsp (or 1 1/2 Sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
LET"S DO IT!
Place warm water and warm milk in bowl (or in bowl of mixer)
Add yeast and sugar, stir to combine
Add in flour and salt. Mix, using your hands, or if using mixer, mix at medium-low speed until the mixture resembles shaggy, crumbly lumps.
Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, mixing until well blended after each addition.
If using mixer, increase speed to medium and beat until dough is smooth - about 3 minutes.
If mixing by hand - oil your hands to make the job less messy, (it will be quite messy) and don’t worry if dough seems extremely loose and sticky.
Add butter, 1 Tbsp at a time, mixing (or beating on low if using mixer) until each addition is well incorporated. Give it some time for the dough to come together. If using a mixer, increase speed to high and allow it to mix the dough for about 8-9 minutes, the dough should be cohesive and smooth.
If mixing by hand, the results will not be as smooth, and it will be a very soft and sticky dough, but the end result will still be amazing. So don’t worry about it!
Lightly grease (oil or butter) a large bowl and scrape dough into prepared bowl, it will be very sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm spot until about doubled in volume (about 1.5 hours)
Lift the dough and toss it over on itself a few times to let out the air, this is called to “rompre” the dough. (yes, very French indeed… we are making brioche after all! Just make sure someone sees you 'rompreing' the dough, just so you can tell them what you're doing and feel 'tres chic' and sophisticated when you say it!)
Re-cover the bowl and place in fridge. Deflate the dough in this way every once in a while (about every half hour or so) until the dough stops rising (about 2 hours) If you neglect to do this... don't worry - it still comes out perfect! ;) trust me on this.
Chill overnight - or up to 24 hours. When I tested this, I wasn’t able to get to it for about 30 hours after I put it in to chill.. and it was still absolute perfection. So - don’t be too worried about time.
When you're ready to fancy up your brioche...
*Scroll all the way down for shaping instructions!
PISTACHIO CARDAMOM FILLING
Yield: Makes enough for one large challah
Can be made up to a week in advance and put in the fridge. Be sure to use very fresh milk if you’re planning to make it in advance.
1 Cup peeled roasted / lightly salted pistachios (about 6-7 oz)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp cardamom
up to 1/4 Cup milk - as needed to achieve a spreadable consistency
Place all ingredients and 1 Tbsp milk in food processor or blender.
Blend or process only until it comes together, try to leave a bit of a chunky consistency - don’t over blend.
Add in more milk 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring with a spoon, only as needed to form a spreadable consistency.
If not using immediately, store in an airtight container in the fridge.
For instructions on Making this wreath challah:
See page 304 in Rising: The Book of Challah
fill with pistachio cardamom filling.
Glaze with egg glaze before baking,
When baked, allow to cool completely and then, top with rose topping
MILKY ROSE TOPPING
Yield: enough for one large wreath challah
2 Cups Confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp Rose water
2 Tbsp Malabi Syrup
Up to 1/4 Cup Milk
Pour the confectioners sugar in a large bowl, add the rose water and Malabi syrup.
Gradually add in the milk, 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring very hard (use a solid spoon) until you reach a ‘just pourable’ consistency - you want it to be liquid enough to be poured, but still staying as thick as possible.
Best made right before using, but you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Note, that if storing for a while, you may need to add a bit of milk to re-liquify it before using it.
After drizzling on the glaze,
Sprinkle on some crushed pistachios and edible rosebuds if desired, as a finishing touch!
(you can buy kosher edible rosebuds on amazon.com)
Here I have taken it a step further and added a bouquet of flowers in the middle. Now it is not only challah... it's a perfect Shavuot centerpiece - and the best hostess gift I can think of!!
flower arrangement is courtesy of mimulo flowers
from RISING! The Book of Challah
Please note! These instructions will yield 8 rosettes. To do a larger wreath, as above, divide the dough accordingly. With the wreath in the photo - each rosette = 2.5 oz of dough (5 oz of dough, divided in 4 pieces, yields 2 rosettes)