For the brioche:
• 2t instant yeast • 2T lukewarm water • 90g sugar • 125g salted butter • 4 cups cake flour • 11/2t fine salt • 11/2t sugar • 1/2t vanilla extract • 2 large eggs • 175ml lukewarm, full-cream milk • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing • 25g salted butter Sprinkle the instant yeast over the lukewarm water and allow to soak for 10 minutes until foamy. In an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and 125 grams of butter. Cover and refrigerate. Combine the flour, salt and sugar, then place in a mound on a clean working surface, making a well in the centre. Mix the vanilla extract, two large eggs, milk and yeast mixture together in a bowl, and gradually add the liquid to the flour mixture, kneading with your fingertips as you go.This will result in smooth, soft and elastic dough that should stretch easily. By hand or using an electric mixer with a dough hook, add the creamed butter and sugar slowly to the mixture. Lightly grease the inside of a large bowl with a little butter and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with clingfilm or a cloth, and leave the bowl in a warm place, allowing the dough to prove (double in size). Remove it from the bowl, knead until it is half its size again and place it back into the greased bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Roll the dough into eight balls. Place each ball in a buttered brioche tin and leave in a warm place to rise. Glaze the top of each loaf with beaten egg and place in an oven at 160oC until cooked. Melt the salted butter. Remove the brioche from the pan and brush the outside crusts with the melted butter and allow to cool.
For the hollandaise sauce:
• 4 egg yolks • 2T warm water • 200ml clarified butter • salt • lemon juice to taste Half-fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a gentle simmer. In a heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and water lightly to combine. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan, ensuring that it does not touch the water, and the water does not boil. Whisk the egg yolks until very pale and fluffy. (If necessary, remove the bowl from the heat intermittently to prevent overcooking.) Slowly pour the clarified butter into the egg, whisking vigorously to combine until the mixture has thickened, and is glossy and smooth. Season with salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste. • 300g baby English spinach • 250g smoked salmon • 8 eggs • black pepper Blanch the spinach in a pot of boiling water. Once it has wilted, drain and place it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Slice the top off each brioche loaf and scoop out the middle to form a shell. Line the inside of each with a layer of salmon first, followed by a layer of spinach. Poach the eggs in simmering water and place one egg in each brioche. Top with hollandaise sauce and serve with a grinding of black pepper. Serves 8
This recipe was originally published in the February 2010 issue of House and Leisure.