In Minnesota for the past week it has been a little too gray for my taste. The one consolation to all the cold and snow we get around here are the endless clear blue skies. They are rather remarkable and make the winters tolerable. When they refuse to show themselves through the clouds I go cold. This means I need a little something to brighten up my day. Something sweet! Something easy and quick. Sunny-Side-Up Apricot Pastry (p. 225) will do the trick. A combination of buttery brioche, luscious vanilla pastry cream and tangy sweet apricots.
If you have a batch of Brioche dough at the ready then these apricot pastry treats go together in a short time. Perhaps more than 5 minutes but some indulgences are worth the few extra minutes.
One other thing drives me crazy about January, the lack of fresh fruit. Not that Chile isn’t willing to produce and ship anything your heart desires, but it just isn’t the same as fresh fruit from the farmers market or the pick-it-yourself farm. But this is a craving and one that I can’t wait until summer to satisfy. So I admit I went to Lund’s and bought a can of Apricots and went on my merry way toward happiness.
…and don’t forget to use a vanilla bean in the pastry cream. If you’ve never used one before click here and I’ll show you how!
Pastry Cream (p. 225):
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 pounds (cantaloupe-size portion) Brioche dough (p.189) dough that you have mixed up and refrigerated.
1 cup pastry cream (above)
8 ripe apricots, halved (fresh in season or canned in the dead cold of January!)
1/2 cup apricot jam, melted
2 cups sugar
For the pastry cream:
Bring the milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar, butter, salt and vanilla bean* to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan.
Remove from heat.
Whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Add the egg and yolks to the cornstarch and mix into a smooth paste.
Slowly, and in small amounts, whisk a little of the hot milk into a the egg mixture. This is called tempering the eggs, which you need to do to get them to the same temperature of the hot milk in the pan, so they won’t curdle.
Once the egg mixture is warm to the touch, pour it back into the milk in the pan.
Return the custard to the stove and bring to a boil, whisking continuously for 2 to 3 minutes. The pastry cream will thicken almost immediately but it is important to cook out the starch so that it isn’t grainy and so your pastry cream won’t separate. (separating pastry cream is when the liquid releases from the cream, easily prevented by cooking for 2-3 minutes!) When the pastry cream is done it will be smooth and glossy.
Strain the pastry cream into a shallow container.
Because the pastry cream is so think you will need to press it through the strainer with a rubber spatula.
Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Set the container in the freezer for 15 minutes (this cools down the eggs quickly) and then refrigerate for up to a few days.
To assemble the pastries:
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Dust the surface of the cantaloupe-size piece of refrigerated Brioche dough with flour and quickly shape it into a rough ball shape.
Roll the dough to about 1/8″ thick rectangle, no thinner or it won’t rise enough. Adding flour on the dough and pin to prevent from sticking.
Cut out 4-inch circles, using a round cookie or biscuit cutter. You can make 1 or a dozen pastries and just put the left over dough back in the bucket.
Make a flat mound of sugar on the work surface.
Using the rolling pin, roll back and forth over the center, stopping 1/2 inch from either end to create an oval. If the dough sticks to the pin sprinkle with a bit of flour. Lay the oval, sugar side up on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough circles.
Place 2 tablespoons of the pastry cream in the center of the sugared oval. Place 1 or 2 apricots on the pastry cream so they resemble a sunny-side-up egg.
Rest the pastry for 30 to 40 minutes (this is slightly less time than we say in the book, but I’ve found this to be more than adequate. Always looking for the faster way to have pastries!)
Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat oven to 350 degrees (this is different than what we say in the book, which is a mistake and should be changed.)
Bake the pastries in the center of the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and sugar is caramelized. If you are baking two trays at once make sure to rotate the trays top to bottom so that they bake evenly and the bottoms don’t over bake.
As soon as the pastries come out of the oven, brush the apricot jam over the apricots to give them a nice shine.
Serve the apricot pastry warm or cooled.
14 thoughts to “Sunny-Side-Up Apricot Pastry (Plus tips on vanilla pastry cream!)”
Oh, my. This looks tempting! I’ve got a batch of your Oat Flour bread rising on my counter right now…perhaps I need to mix up a batch of Brioche, as well. For breakfast, of course. 🙂
My thought is that one always needs a batch of brioche in the refrigerator, you just never know when you need a sticky bun or some other sweet to satisfy that craving. Who says it has to wait for morning!!!
Hi Zoe – I think the brioche has to be my next dough too – the perfect answer to the need for something sweet!!
I love all of your step-by-step photos – makes your recipes very easy to follow.
(So, today we finally get sunny blue skies – and it’s FREEZING!!!) (sigh)
I know, I have to be careful what I ask for! I wanted the sun but now my toes are numb! Brrrr.
Do try the brioche. Most of the sweets in the book are based on that recipe and if you don’t use it all just wrap it well and freeze it.
Thanks for this amazing book. I’ve tried and failed to bake anything successfully several times in the last few years. But I made yummy bread on my first try using the book.
I just made a batch of brioche dough. I can’t wait to bake a loaf! However, I have more dough that I can eat in 5 days… what do I wrap it with to freeze it?
I’m so glad to hear you are making so much wonderful bread!
To freeze the brioche I usually portion it into 1 1/2 pound loaves or some amount that seems reasonable to use up at one time. Then I form it into a ball, cloaking it and then wrap it in plastic wrap, several times. The key to freezing pastry dough of any kind is to wrap it and then wrap it again. It really wants to take on the personality of your freezer so just keep wrapping!
I love your website! It’s the perfect complement to your Artisan Bread book, which I just purchased after checking it out of the library. I have a question about the pastry cream that I don’t see addressed anywhere. What type of milk should I use or does it matter? We only use fat free milk at home and I’m wondering if that would be adequate or not. Thanks!
The type of milk will not effect the recipe, but it will effect the richness of the pastry cream. It will still be delicious with non-fat milk.
Hello – I just made my first dough from your book – the Brioche – and it came out wonderful. I’m planning on using some of the dough to make the Sunny Side Up Apricot Pastry.
I need to make it the night before I am serving it. What would be the best way to store it overnight. Any advice would be appreciated!
Looking forward to trying many more of your recipes.
One way to do it is to let them cool completely and then wrap them in foil. Because of the pastry cream you will want to refrigerate them.
If you have any time in the morning you can also roll the oval out the night before and separate them with wax paper. The next morning as the oven is preheating you can put the pre-made pastry cream on and then the apricot and throw them in the oven, no rise time. The dough will have been rising over night in the refrigerator. It will go together really fast and they will be super fresh.
Either way they will be delicious!
Hi Zoe –
Whew! I didn’t expect you to answer so fast 🙂 I already made them tonight.
It turned out that I didn’t have a 4″ cookie cutter, so I used my 3.25″ and made mini Sunny Side Ups, with a single apricot. The taste very yummy! I will refrigerate them tonight, but next time let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight and bake in the a.m. (I’ve done that with Cinnamon Rolls). Thanks again for a fabulous recipe. BTW – the pictures of the process on your website were very helpful!
That is excellent Bonnie!
I’m so glad they turned out so well. Let them warm up to room temp before serving them. Sorry, I should have mentioned that in the last note!
Zoe, these are so fantastic! And just as wonderful is the raspberry-almond creme braided brioche:) I made it for company and for a church bake sale and it went GANGBUSTERS!! Sooooooo good and the dough is a dream! Thanks:)
Was delicious, I have a question, the pastry cream when filling in a pastry bag does not have the consistency enough to form compact cream for spread.Could you please give me any a suggestion. Thanks again for the wonderfull recipe