Try this berry harvest bake from Lia Leendertz
'A berry- and herb-studded brioche is a great way to celebrate this moment of wheat and berries, but to say making brioche is a bit of a faff would be quite the understatement. It’s a fun project but this dessert will work beautifully with thick, toasted slices of a good-quality bought brioche loaf if you don’t have the time to make your own. The brioche recipe is based on a recipe from River Cottage Baking, with a few additions of my own. Ideally, start making this the day before you need it, as the dough benefits from spending a night in the fridge.'
Makes 2 small loaves, serves 4-6
For the basil and blackberry brioche
400g strong white bread flour
5g powdered dried yeast
90ml warm milk
2 tbsp caster sugar
100g butter, softened
4 eggs, beaten
a handful of blackberries per loaf
2 tbsp milk
For the fruits
4 figs, quartered
a few sprigs of thyme
1 For the brioche, put all of the ingredients except the basil, the berries and the glaze ingredients into a large bowl and bring it all together into a dough. Knead for ten minutes (or put the dough into the bowl of your food processor and use the dough hook on it for ten minutes). Place it in a bowl, cover, and chill overnight. The next morning, remove it from the fridge and shape it into your loaves – I put mine into a round cake tin or small loaf tins – then leave them somewhere warm to prove. This could take several hours as the dough will be starting from cold.
2 Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180/400F. Once the loaves have doubled in size, decorate them by pushing the blackberries into the surface and laying the basil leaves across it, then beat the egg and the milk together and paint it across the surface. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the oven setting to 180C/Fan 160/350F and bake for a further 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
3 Place the fruits and thyme into a saucepan and simmer gently until the berries have burst, the juice is released and the figs are turned the colour of the blackberries. Slice the brioche and toast a piece per person. Serve each person a small bowlful and a piece of toasted brioche to scoop up the warm, herby fruit and to dip into the juices.
Lia Leendertz is a freelance gardening writer and the author of several books, including My Tiny Veg Plot and My Cool Allotment. Her first cookery book, Petal, Leaf, Seed: Cooking with the Garden’s Treasures is out now.
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