The reign of the brioche is coming to an end. I thought we'd finish with a big ol' fatty bang. And their ain't nothin' in this world as banging as pate. Pate makes me tingle all over, and it's not because the livers are past their used by date.
Let me be clear: this is teaming one butter-rich ingredient with another butter-rich ingredient. It's butter squared, and that's the way I like it. To cut through the crazy-richness, we go on a sweet ride with plum paste.
Plum paste goes with pretty much all the great things in life: cheese, pate, steak, rillettes. You know, the good stuff. It's sweet and sticky and helps to bring down the fat-factor of the brioche and pate. You can test how the paste is going by popping a teaspoon or so in the fridge to see if it sets. But I personally think that's a fast track to Burn Town, because by the time you've popped it in and pulled it out again, the mixture bubbling away on the stove could be turning to toffee. Get a thermometer. You'll use it all the time, trust me.
I picked up some corregated cardboard moulds for the brioche squares from Essential Ingredient. They helped shape perfect little cubes for your pate to rest upon. I've got an entire kitchen cupboard of little knick-knacks like these moulds gathering dust - this was the perfect opportunity to put them to good use. I also needed to prove to Matt that, yes, I did need to buy them and they were essential for my cooking (and state of mind). I'm sure you'll agree this was mission accomplished.
You want to know the best thing about brioche? It freezes incredibly well. We've whipped up a few different recipes for brioche this week, but if you decided you only wanted to make one variation, you can freeze the remainder of the dough (cooked or raw) for a later date. It might be a good idea - this stuff should be eaten in small portions.
So wave farewell to the Brioche Train. It won't be the last time you'll see it 'round these parts, but I feel my waistline needs a break from all this butter. I'm meant to be trying on wedding dresses in one week's time, and I get the feeling I'll be looking at muffin tops (brioche tops?) bubbling over the top of my Spanx. It's been glorious, but it might be time for the Salad Wagon to stop by. I just know though, at the same time I'll be munching on lettuce, I'll be dreaming of brioche with pate. Hubba hubba.
Pate (I chose chicken liver with brandy and sage)
1 kg plums
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
juice of one lemon
To make the plum paste, halve the plums and remove the stones. Place into a food processor and blend.
Pour into a heavy bottomed tin with the remainder of the ingredients. Cook over low heat, stirring for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Turn heat to high and cook until the mixture reaches 125ºC on a sugar thermometer.
Pour into a 15cm square tin and leave to set for approximately a day.
To make your brioche squares, you will use the remainder of the dough from the past two days.
Preheat oven to 200ºC.
Shape the dough into small square tins. Rest for 75 minutes in a warm place.
Brush the dough carefully with the egg wash.
Place dough in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the oven to 170ºC. Bake for a further 15 minutes, or until dark golden brown.
To serve, cut up brioche into thin slices. Smear with pate and top with plum paste. Goes smashingly with a light pinot.