One of the foods Amma offered me when I was ill or generally low, was a fruit bun and a mug of hot Bournvita. It always picked me up because it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside–it is only now that I realize it’s all because of the carbohydrates! Anyhow. I’ve been down with the flu these past two-three days, barely able to sit up. I’m just back from a long stay at Amma’s and can’t help but wish I’d have fallen ill when I was there. Shameless, I know. But there are some things that mothers just know–I know that I wouldn’t have had to bother about what to cook for lunch and dinner, and I certainly wouldn’t have had to worry about Avanee.
But, I have a great support system here as well–MK has been coming home early (dropping in mid-day, even, to check on me), my mother-in-law has been whisking Avanee away and training the new babysitter, and my dear, dear Mrs. B has been making the loveliest kadhi-khichdi and idli-sambar meals for me. Yesterday, she plucked some lemongrass from the window and made me a mugful of lemongrass tea to open my sinuses. How could I not feel better?
Today, a little out of nostalgia and a little out of sheer physical weakness, I craved some fruit bun and a mug of Bournvita to dunk it in. As a diabetic, though, this sounded like too much of an extravagance even as I lay thinking about it in bed. Just then, Mrs.B entered. I promptly dictated the Brioche recipe to her and asked her to throw in some dried blueberries and cranberries. She made the dough and left it to prove and cranked up the oven. All I had to do was shape the Brioche buns and let the oven do the rest of the work. With a mug of coffee, it made for the warmest and fuzziest meal I’ve had in recent adulthood. Well, almost.
Brioche (Sweet breakfast bun, best had with coffee)
- 200 gms. plain flour
- 2 tsp. fresh yeast (or 3 tsp. dry yeast)
- 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
- 2 tsp. sugar
- a good pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- a small handful of dried berries (I used cranberries and blueberries); optional
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (if using berries)
- Place the yeast and sugar in a bowl and top with milk. Leave in a warm place until the yeast rises to the top and is frothy.
- Whisk the egg lightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the flour, three-fourths of the beaten egg, salt, cinnamon, and berries.
- Add the frothy yeast mixture and knead to a very soft dough adding more milk if required.
- Work the butter into the dough until pliable and silky. Leave to rest, covered, in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size (about 15-20 minutes.)
- Punch the dough and allow it to collapse. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls. Pinch off a betelbut-sized bit of dough from each of the eight balls. Shape the small bits of dough into balls as well.
- Grease eight brioche tins or ramekins or cupcake moulds. Place the eight large balls in the greased moulds. Make a small dent in each using your little finger. Place the smaller balls in these dents.
- Leave to rise again in a warm spot. When double in size, brush with the remaining egg.
- Bake at 230 degrees centigrade for 15 minutes or until the tops are uniformly golden.
- Eat warm with a good cup of coffee.