First invented by French bakers to use up stale brioche, bostocks are brioche pastries soaked in syrup, covered in almond frangipane and baked. I first tried them from my favourite Bostock Bakery in East Lothian, but seeing as we can’t go at the moment I tried making them myself again (these apple and almond ones were tasty too). I was inspired to see Edd Kimber sharing rhubarb bostocks, and had some poached rhubarb so experimented with these – and was very pleased with the results. They’d be perfect for a Valentine’s brunch. To make them, you will need:
For the poached rhubarb:
100g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of two blood oranges.
Preheat the oven to 180C Fan. Chop the rhubarb into 2-3 cm chunks, place in an oven proof dish, cover with orange juice, stir through the sugar and vanilla and cover with foil. Bake for around 30 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft and cooked through but still keeps its shape. Set aside to cool. Now, prepare your Bostock. You will need:
8 – 10 pieces of sliced brioche (best stale, but who has leftovers?!)
One large, free-range egg.
To calculate the other quantities, weigh the contents of the egg, then double it to get your other amounts. e.g. if the egg is 60g, you will need 120g caster sugar, 120g butter and 120g ground almonds
Flaked almonds, to top.
Reduce the oven temperature to 160C Fan. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – about five minutes.
Meanwhile, brush the brioche slices with 1 tsp each of the blood orange and rhubarb syrup from poaching the fruit. I tried cutting the brioche into circles to look neater (and ate the off-cuts, obviously) but I actually liked the crispy edge from leaving the crusts on. Arrange, slightly spaced apart, on a lined baking tray.
Add the egg and ground almonds to the frangipane and mix until you get a stiff paste. Spoon (or pipe) the mixture evenly over the slices and top with the fresh rhubarb, cut into 1-2 cm pieces. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until the frangipane is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm with the poached rhubarb.
Best eaten on the day, but you could also reserve the syrup and frangipane and add the syrup, top with the frangipane and bake when you are ready to serve.
What are you baking this weekend?