Vanilla Crème Patissiere:
- 160ml milk
- 1 vanilla bean / 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
- 2 egg yolks
- 40g caster sugar
- 14g plain flour
Salted Caramel Sauce:
- 100g caster sugar
- 100ml pure cream or light cream
- 1 Tbl unsalted butter
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 4 thick slices of brioche loaf (recipe below if you wish to make it yourself)
- 2 eggs
- 60ml milk
- 2 tsps caster sugar (plus extra for bananas)
- 2 Tbl unsalted butter
- 2 large bananas, peeled and sliced thickly
- To make the crème patissiere, halve the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds then add both pod and seeds to a pan with the milk. Bring to simmer, remove from heat and steep for about 10 minutes to infuse before removing the pod (if you’re using extract or paste, just add to milk, bring to simmer then remove from heat).
- In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in the flour until combined. While continuously whisking, add a bit of the hot milk to the eggs then pour the egg mix back into the pot.
- Place over low heat and stir constantly until custard is thick, rich and creamy. Pour into a bowl then cover the surface directly with cling film to stop a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate until needed.
- To make the caramel sauce, heat a deep heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Add the sugar in an even layer and leave to melt into a golden caramel. When it’s ready, take it off the heat and add a good splash of the cream (it’ll bubble up furiously so take care). When that settles, add the rest of the cream and the butter. Place it back over low heat and stir gently until everything has melted into a luscious sauce. Stir through the salt then cool.
- For the french toast, whisk the eggs, milk and sugar until frothy. Dip each slice of bread, both sides, into the egg batter until soaked. Heat up the butter in a pan then fry each side of the eggy brioche slices until golden then set aside.
- Sprinkle the banana slices, cut side up, with a little white sugar then blowtorch until golden and bruléed (feel free to torch the other side too if you wish).
- To assemble, spread crème patissiere thickly on one side of the brioche then layer the bananas on top. Spoon a little caramel over the top then sandwich with the other brioche slice. If you wish, serve with ice cream and extra caramel sauce.
- 70ml milk, room temperature
- 65g caster sugar
- 1 packet / 7g of dried yeast
- 500g unbleached plain flour
- 1.5 tsp fine sea salt
- 6 eggs
- 350g unsalted butter, softened then chopped into about inch-sized pieces
- 1 extra egg for egg wash
To make the dough
- Whisk one tablespoon of the sugar into the milk then the yeast until dissolved. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for about 10 minutes until frothy.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour, salt, eggs, remaining sugar and frothy yeast mixture. Mix on low speed to combine then turn it up one notch and knead for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then knead on medium speed for 10 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic.
- Add a couple of pieces of butter into the dough then after it’s incorporated, turn the speed to low and add the rest of the butter one piece at time, waiting until it’s mixed in before adding the next.
- When all the butter is in, turn up the speed and knead for at least 6 minutes, until the dough is very smooth, shiny, unsticky, elastic and comes away from the sides of the bowl perfectly (it’ll make slapping sounds while it’s kneading).
- Remove the dough hook then cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise at room temperature (24°C) for about 2 hours until doubled in size.
- Knock the dough down a couple of times then cover tightly with cling film and refrigerate for at least several hours (not more than 24 hours). The dough is now ready to use.
*At this point you could wrap the dough up well and freeze in an airtight container (to reuse, thaw overnight in the fridge and continue with the recipe).
To make the loaves
- Butter two medium-large loaf pans. Remove dough from the fridge and divide in half (dough will feel like cold playdoh). On a lightly greased or floured bench top, mould each half into a loaf shape then place in pans.
- Cover the tins lightly with cling film then leave to rise in a warm spot (no warmer than 24°C) for about 4 hours or until the dough has doubled in size (bread should feel light, soft and pillowy). It should rise to about 1cm below the rim of the tin and have a rounded top (bread will rise more in the oven).
- Meanwhile preheat oven to 175°C / 350°F and position the rack to the centre. In a bowl, whisk up 1 egg then gently brush the tops of the loaves from the outside in.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the loaves are deep golden and it sounds hollow when you tap the top of the breads (internal temperature should be around 87°C/190°F).
- Check after 10-15 minutes of baking. If it looks like it’s browning too fast, tent it with some foil then continue baking. Cool on wire rack for about 30 minutes then turn it out and cool completely.
- Brioche can be stored at room temperature, well wrapped in cling film for up to 2-3 days or in the freezer for a few weeks.