Orange Brioche Puddings – Crème Diplomate (from Patisserie, Felder 2011)

With the arrival of my French boyfriend’s parents, I wanted to show them un bon repas francais on their first night.

So I practically pushed champagne and canapés (note: calling your amuse-bouches “canapés” is actually hilarious to the French, because canapé is really the word for sofa.  “Would you like a sofa covered in paté?”  Do not be surprised if they pass) of baguette with caviar d’aubergine and a roast garlic and mascarpone spread (featuring 12 heads of garlic – windows need to be fully open for the making of this) into their mouths before they’d put their bags down.  Then I made the daring move of serving a French classic to the French; moules marinières (which I have made before and it is yummy) with fresh pain de campagne, which everyone finished off with all sorts of grateful and happy noises.

So I thought to myself, “how can I make this meal even more French?”.  Well how much more French can a dessert be than brioche with Cointreau and cream?  It’s practically wearing a beret and singing the Marseillaise.

Orange brioche puddings 1

Should be wearing a beret and a stripey breton top, smoking nonchalantly on strike.

The orangey crème diplomate is a lighter crème pâtissière, but with extra cream… god bless the French!  I had already made candied orange peel, which I have reproduced the recipe for below, but you can buy it, and if you buy it then you remove the annoying and time-consuming part of the pudding.  Puddings should be 100% joy, 0% annoyance.  Although the annoyance is certainly worth it: these orange brioche puddings were amazing and wowed the socks off everyone.  They were full of flavoursome, comforting creaminess, risen like soufflés in the oven, puffy and light, tongue-meltingly moreish and ever-so-slightly boozy.   Now that’s a damn good pud.

Not only do I think I impressed my French visitors, but I even impressed myself.  This visit was my first deadline to learn to cook well enough to make them smile, but I think I’ve surprised even myself at how far I’ve progressed in just 4 months.  These puddings made me look skillful.  Thank you Monsieur Felder.

Candied orange peel

Need this

2.5 oranges / 150g caster sugar / 250ml cold water / 1/2 tbsp clear honey / 50g granulated sugar / 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Do this

boil saucepan water / peel oranges in strips with pith + sliver of flesh / cut to 6mm wide strips / boil for 1 min / drain / boil new water / repeat boiling & draining x 2 / boil 250ml water + 150g caster sugar in pan, stirring to dissolve / add orange peel & boil 2 mins / stir in 1/2 tbsp honey (pic 1) / empty into jar & cool before sealing & storing in fridge / once chilled, drain & dry on wire rack / mix granulated sugar + ground cinnamon + orange peel / toss to coat & remove

Orange brioche puddings

Need this

120g brioche loaf / 4 eggs / 200g caster sugar / 1 tsp Cointreau / 500ml milk / 20g butter / 25g candied orange peel (buy or make as above)

Do this

oven 180C / dice brioche into 1.5cm cubes / whisk 4 whole eggs + 4 egg yolks / whisk in 150g of sugar + Cointreau / whisk in milk slowly (pic 1) / melt butter in pan / brush ramekins with butter / swirl rest of sugar around each ramekin to stick & tap rest out / press brioche into ramekins so 2/3rds full / dice candied orange peel & add (pic 2) / ladle cream into ramekins / wait for brioche to soak up / fill up with more / ramekins in roasting tin / add water to roasting tin 1cm deep / oven 1 hour

Orange brioche puddings 2

Pic 1: The crème diplomate ready for pouring.

Orange brioche puddings 3

Pic 2: Brioche and fruit *begging* to soak up all that sexy cream.