NEW ENGLAND LIVING CHEF SERIES: Joanne Chang

Acclaimed Chef and Owner of Flour Bakery, Joanne Chang, joins New England Living Host Rachel Holt in the Clarke Sub-Zero and Wolf Showroom and Test Kitchen to bake up a new twist on one of her classic recipes.

APPLE CIDER STICKY BUNS – Makes 6 buns

1/2 recipe of Master Brioche (recipe below)
1 cup apple cider
1/4 tsp orange zest
Big pinch of ground clove
Big pinch of ground ginger
Big pinch of ground nutmeg
Big pinch of ground allspice
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped in 1/2-inch pieces, about 2 1/3 cups
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup grams sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix the Master Brioche and let proof for 6 hours or overnight in the fridge as directed.

In a small saucepan heat the cider, orange zest, clove, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice and bring just under a boil. Let simmer for about 10 minutes until it reduces to about 1/2 cup. Turn the heat off and add apples to the cider in the pan. Let them sit until room temperature. Strain the cider from the apples and set both aside.

Place the butter in a medium saucepan and add 1 1/4 cups of the brown sugar. Heat over medium high heat stirring occasionally until sugar melts and starts to boil, about 3 minutes. It will look a bit like lava. Whisk the reserved cider into the butter. Whisk in the honey, heavy cream, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined and set aside until it comes to room temperature. This apple cider ‘goo’ may be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

On a floured work surface roll the brioche into a large 12-by-12 inch square. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll out. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, white sugar, and ground cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the brioche. Sprinkle the reserved soaked apples evenly on top of the sugar.

Starting from the top of the square and working your way down, roll the brioche like a jelly roll until the entire sheet is rolled up. Roll tightly so you have a nice round spiral. Trim both edges of the brioche roll about 1/4-inch to even out the ends.

Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the roll into 8 equal pieces about 1 1/2-inches wide. (At this point the unbaked buns can be transferred to a flat tray or plate and tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, remove the buns from freezer. Leave them wrapped and let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight, or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours; proceed as directed.)

Pour the reserved apple cider goo into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Place the buns in the pan, evenly spaced. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let the buns proof at warm room temperature for about 2 hours, until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft, and the buns are touching.

Heat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the buns are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 to 30 minutes in the dish. Invert the buns one at a time onto a serving platter and spoon any extra goo on top. Serve warm.

Best served right away, or within 4 hours of baking. You could serve next day after warming in a 300°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes.

MASTER BRIOCHE RECIPE-Makes about 2 1/2 pounds

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups high-gluten bread flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup cold water
4 large eggs
18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 10- 12 pieces

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and eggs. Mix on low speed until all the ingredients have come together, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the bowl if necessary to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed another 3 to 4 minutes once the dough has all come together. It will be very stiff.

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