Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Madison Club PBJ

Related article: Madison Club Chef Catherine McKiernan

This playfully layered treat features fruity preserves and fluffy mousse on that loveliest of French breads, a rich, buttery slice of brioche. Prepare the luscious components at your convenience for serving-time assembly. McKiernan assures me this is the easiest brioche recipe ever, and it freezes well, too. You can also slice up a purchased pound cake. If you can locate loaf-shaped brioche for sale in town, let me know!

One step easier? Use any of the excellent, locally made fruit spreads available at farmers’ markets and supermarkets.

To assemble, cut 1/2" slices of brioche or pound cake. Slather with PB mousse. Lay on some strawberry. Garnish with powdered sugar. Serve on pretty plates!


1/3 cup warm (105 F) water
1 packet active dry yeast
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
6 eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 sticks butter, cut in cubes

Dissolve yeast in water. Sift together flour, sugar, and salt into mixer bowl fitted with dough hook. Add eggs and beat on low for 1 minute. While still beating, slowly add water-yeast mixture. Beat five minutes. Scrape down bowl and beat five minutes more. Add butter cubes, beating one minute after each addition. Beat 10-15 minutes more.

Let dough double, covered, in a bowl. Turn onto floured surface and gently work out air bubbles. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. Divide in half, shape, place in two generously buttered loaf pans and let rise to about 1/2" above the tops of the pans. Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes, until top is well-browned. Bottom should make a hollow sound when thumped. Turn out onto rack to cool.

Peanut Butter Mousse

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup whipping cream, whipped with 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix peanut butter and mascarpone. Add whipping cream and vanilla. Fold into whipped cream.

Preserved Strawberries

1 pint fresh, or 1 bag frozen, strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon each lemon and orange zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook berries (top and halve if fresh) over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they break down. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Increase heat and stir about 20 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon and orange zest and vanilla extract. Let cool.

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