I baked it, ate it, and directly ran here to write this blog post while I’m still ecstatic. I also thought this amazing baking smell in my home will definitely ignite my inner copywriter. So let me first introduce you to “Dates Brioche” in case you have never tried it. You’d never step into a bakery in the middle east without finding this item over their shelves. It’s a simple brioche dough filled in dates and spices, then garnished with sesame. We would usually eat it as a breakfast with milk or as an afternoon treat.
We usually have it available in every corner back-home, so we never actually had to bake it at home. But now living in the other side of the world, food nostalgia found its way to my heart and kept bringing back to my mind a picture of those breads stacked in a very authentic bakery hometown. I’d be holding my mom’s hand passing by the bakery and can’t take my eyes off them. The picture, the smell and the taste kept hitting me so I sought to my friend google and started looking for the recipe. Actually I couldn’t find any that is very detailed and nothing with a perfect dough. So I looked into other brioche stuffed recipes and tried to mix and match elements from here and there until I made this. And BOY I’m in love with the outcome.
How to make this rich and luscious “Dates Brioche”
You will need for the dough: 4 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup warm milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp instant dry yeast, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Start by stirring the yeast and sugar in the warm milk and set aside for 10 minutes until foamy.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Using your flat beater attachment of your standing mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla and zest for 2 mins. Add the milk mixture and oil and continue mixing until well incorporated.
Add 1/3 of the flour mix and start kneading. Once incorporated, change to the dough hook attachment, add all remaining flour and knead for 5 mins.
Start adding the melted butter, 1 tsp at a time until fully incorporated while kneading. In a 5 mins you should end with a soft dough fully rolled on the hook.
Transfer it to a mixing bowl greased with olive oil. Brush the dough surface with oil as well then cover with plastic wrap and kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place (typically inside a turned off oven) for 1.5 hours until it doubles in size.
To prepare the stuffing, you can use pitted dates or dates paste. I use the paste to cut the preparation time. In a food processor, mix 500 g dates with 1/2 cup of melted butter, 2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg. Next roll the dates into thick ropes and keep aside.
After the dough has risen, cut into 7-8 equal pieces. Form each into rounds by stretching the surface of the dough downwards then tucking underneath with your fingers. Rotate the dough a quarter and repeat. Continue around until you have even shaped round dough.
Using a rolling pin, roll each dough into an oval shape with a 1/2 inch thickness. Add the dates rope in the center. Fold one side over the center, then roll with both hands until fully folded in a tube shape. Tuck in both sides then attach them together with a bit of water.
press with your hand to flatten the disc. Then using a kitchen scissor, cut inch slits separated by 2 inches. This will beautifully expose the dates. Once ready, let the brioche rest covered for 30 mins while you preheat your oven to 350 F.
Once ready to bake, mix together 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla extract and egg wash your pastries. Sprinkle the top with seasame seeds then bake on center rack for 20 mins until nicely browned and finish up by 2 mins broiling.
Some notes, I thought would be helpful:
- For the dates filling, you can add your flavor touch. Some recipes would do it with cinnamon and cardamon and other recipes would stick to rose water only.
- When you stick both ends of the dough, it might not feel very well attached together. Do not panic, just before baking bring squeeze them together again with wet hands. Even if they’re not fully stuck together, they will do once baked.
- Keep an eye on your oven while baking time might depend on your appliance. So take them out once nicely browned.