For those of us who like to cook and bake, trying new dishes and recipes keep it fun and interesting even if we rely on family favorites most of the time. Recently, I tried my hand at making Brioche Veneziana, an Italian brioche that's usually filled with custard cream and covered with coarse sugar grains. These buns are usually enjoyed at breakfast with coffee, like you would do with croissant (or a cornetto if we're staying on the Italian pastry theme).
|Brioche Veneziana filled with chestnut cream (left) and Nutella (right)|
My fascination with these buns, or brioche Veneziana, started a few months ago on a breakfast outing with my husband. The mall near our home opened up an Italian food hall not long ago. I like the coffee there and we stopped by for coffee and a pastry before starting our day one morning. Somehow the puffy round brioche bun coated in coarse sugar (shown below) - which I'd come to find out are known as brioche Veneziana - captivated me.
Not only did they look good, they tasted good...sweet and buttery but not overly so, with a tasty vanilla custard middle. They were light and airy - perfect with a cappuccino in the morning.
The buns kept swirling in my mind and I found myself looking up information on them online. I found a seemingly simple recipe in English that I just had to try. Since it wasn't particularly demanding (mainly wait/proof time), I didn't think I had a lot to lose.
Based on family preference and also since I was not confident how they would turn out, I took another shortcut by filling the baked brioche with chestnut cream (which I have left over from holiday baking) and Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread, rather than custard. I think they're both Italian pastry-appropriate fillings and delicious alternatives to custard.
|Brioche Veneziana filled with Nutella after baking|
The homemade brioche I've made thus far were not nearly as light and airy as the ones we can pick up at the Italian market. I've attempted these buns twice. After they turned out on the dense side during the first go, I did a little more research and thought maybe a longer knead time would help. My family and I all agree that the second batch did turn out better (a bit lighter) but, in fairness, still not as puffed and lofty as the model I had in mind.
|Filled with Chestnut Cream|
Despite not being "perfect", both batches of these brioches were quickly polished off. They freeze quite well. I froze leftovers (unfilled) and when I was ready to serve them again, I left them out on the counter overnight, then warmed them up in the oven. I cut a small hole in the middle of these buns and fill them with their filling right before serving. While they're certainly not the best brioche Veneziana you can get, I like them so much that I just might keep on trying to get them better and better...wish me luck!