Bostocks were a relatively recent discovery: we first tried them at the Century General Store – via North Berwick’s appropriately named Bostock Bakery – and since then I’ve been on a mission to make my own. When my Mum bought me Flora Shedden’s beautiful new cookbook, Gatherings, I immediately turned to the recipe for apple and almond bostocks – rich and sweet, cut through by sharp apple, we couldn’t get enough. The syrup-soaked pastries are topped with caramelised frangipane and are deceptively simple to make – not to mention a great way of using up stale bread. They’re delicious served warm straight from the oven with whatever fruit you have to hand and a dollop of Greek yoghurt. Sunday brunch perfection – but beware, they are deliciously moreish.
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
100g ground almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
50g plain flour
6 – 8 pieces stale brioche or bread
flaked almonds or pecans, chopped into small pieces, to decorate.
For the syrup:
150ml apple juice
150g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
First, make the apple syrup. In a saucepan bring the apple juice, caster sugar and vanilla to the boil. Cook over a high heat for no more than a minute until the sugar dissolves and you have a light, clear syrup.
Beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the ground almonds, almond extract, vanilla, egg and flour and beat again until the mixture is smooth.
Assemble the bostocks: take a piece of brioche and soak each piece in the syrup.
Place on a baking tray and repeat with the remaining slices.
Divide the almond batter between the brioche slices and spread it across the top of each.
Sprinkle generously with flaked almonds or chopped pecan nuts.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown and the almond topping is cooked through. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.
What are you baking this weekend? Have you tried bostocks before?