Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes I can sit for hours on end paging through recipes books, at home or in the library and nothing. I can buy a new cookbook, all the food magazines on the shelf and still, nothing. I can watch the food channel and visit a great market, and still there will be nothing. The world seems void of culinary stimulation and it seems that there is not one single thing able to kick-start that all too familiar excitement, the one that rises when I just know what I really want to cook.
One such day I was feeling a little low and uninspired and decided to do possibly the most uninspiring task in all of wife-dom; go to the local Agri to have the gas filled. There just is nowhere to go when you are hanging out at the bottom and besides, being both cold and uninspired seemed a silly choice.
Whilst waiting in line I looked over at all the farm style treats and a packet of rather delicious looking honeycomb winked at me. Yip, it winked, who is telling the story? Suffice is to say, inspiration arrived with a thunderous Eureka! Not unlike the one shouted by Archimedes himself, mind you, and by George I got it!
You have to make this butter. Obviously you are not actually making butter as much as you are flavouring butter but since this is not 19th century and most of us do not actually churn our own butter, I am going to let you tell people you made it. Just this once.
I smeared this honeycomb butter thickly onto my fresh out of the oven brioche. I swooned. Because I realize that baking brioche may be a reach for some let me tell you what else I did with that butter.
First I tried it on hot pancakes and crumpets and even on some scones. Fabulous! Then I tried it my breakfast toast, and melted some into my oats. Man oh man yes! And then, in the mountains of Swellendam, I did this: smeared an English muffin with honeycomb butter, and then topped that with freshly sliced avocado, crispy bacon and a soft boiled egg. No words!
I divided my dough into two pieces roughly 1/3 and 2/3. I used 2/3 to make the brioche loaf as above but then I took the remaining 1/3 of the dough to make chocolate brioche. I divided the dough into six equal balls of about 40 g each. I pressed chopped chocolate into each ball and reshaped. I continued as from 19 above, but the balls took roughly 20 – 30 minutes to cook. As they came out of the oven I dusted them with icing sugar. The kiddo’s loved them.
Do you find your inspiration ebbs and flows like mine? Where do you find it again? Please let me know.
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Sam Taylor // Pomegranate Days
- 300 g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 50 g honeycomb, crushed
- 700 g cake flour
- 1 packet dried yeast
- 10 ml salt
- 6 eggs, lightly whisked
- 90 ml milk, warm
- 350 g butter, softened
- 30 g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 15 ml milk to glaze
- To make the honeycomb butter beat the softened butter until creamy.
- Flavour with the honey and stir in the crushed honeycomb.
- Reshape by placing the butter into a container lined with cling wrap and then place the butter into the refrigerator until firm.
- To make the brioche, place the flour, yeast, salt into a mixing bowl.
- Using the dough hook attachment, add the eggs and enough of the milk to make a form a smooth dough.
- Knead the dough until soft and elastic. Set aside.
- Replace the dough hook with the balloon whisk and whisk together the butter and the sugar until light.
- Replace the balloon whisk with the dough hook and knead the butter mix into the dough.
- Knead for at least five minutes until the dough is shiny and elastic.
- Work the dough by hand for a few minutes and then place in a floured bowl.
- Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in a warm place to double in size.
- Knock the dough back.
- Place the dough into the refrigerator for several hours, but not longer than twelve.
- (I put my dough into the fridge last thing before I went to bed and tool it out first thing.)
- Remove the dough and place on a lightly floured surface.
- Divide the dough into three equal pieces.
- Roll out each piece into a sausage shape and then plait the three rolls together to form a loaf.
- Place the brioche into a loaf tin.
- Brush with the egg glaze.
- Allow the brioche to rise until doubled in shape.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180˚C for about 1 hour until done.