This week's project for Tuesdays with Dorie was a Brioche Plum Tart, chosen by Denise of Chez Us. Really it's more like a coffeecake, with a sweet bread dough bottom topped with jam and fruit. Check out Denise's blog for the recipe, or look on pages 54-55 of "Baking: From My Home to Yours."
I changed it up by using apricots, home-made black raspberry jam, and fresh black raspberries from our own garden. Unfortunately it was gone before I got around to taking a picture! So you'll have to visit some of the other TWD bakers to see what it looks like. Meanwhile, I'll tempt you with a closeup of our wild "blackcaps."
As I don't have a stand mixer, I made the brioche by hand. Here are my tips on doing this: mix flour and salt, place in bowl, and make a well in the center. Proof yeast and milk, and then mix with other wet ingredients, including melted butter. Pour into center of flour mixture, then mix with spoon or large spatula until it comes together.
Now for the tricky part -- this dough is way too moist and sticky to knead in the usual way. I started out with stirring, then found that it worked better to plunge my spatula under some of the dough and pull it up out of the bowl, stretching it as I went. Eventually that got tiring, so I oiled my hand very well and started pulling the dough by hand. I'd grab a bit and pull it up, leaving it attached to the rest of the dough so that the gluten got stretched.
Eventually the dough became very "lively" -- it would actively pull back into the bowl after I let go of it, sometimes moving around quite a bit before settling down again! I figured this meant the gluten was properly developed, so I went on with the rest of the recipe as written.
The only mistake I made was not to trust Dorie's baking instructions. After 20 minutes in a hot oven, the brioche dough was so brown around the edges that I got alarmed and turned the oven down. Bad idea. That just meant it took longer to bake, and the brioche dough ended up a bit on the dry side. It was still very yummy!
Next time I might add a little more butter to the dough. And I'd tent the tart with a ring of foil, so the center stays exposed and cooks better while the edge is protected. This would be good with all sorts of fruit!