I signed up to make laminated brioche. Laminated dough is not, as one might guess, sending dough through a machine to adhere a plastic cover to its exterior. It is folding a piece of butter into the dough, rolling it, folding the dough again, rolling and folding. This laminating is what gives croissants and puff pastry its flakiness. In a hot oven, the dough is rising while the butter is evaporating. As the water from the butter evaporates, it leaves light delicious little pockets all over the croissant, or brioche in this case.
I made the broiche, nearly overheating my little KitchenAid mixer as the dough hook rotated endlessly around the mass of flour, water, sugar and butter. I let it ferment and proof more than the recipe called for and even retarded some of the dough overnight like I was supposed to. And the pastry cream. Oh the pastry cream. It one of those things I would have never done before culinary school. Now that I know how to do it, it's simple, never to be less than sweet and smooth. But it's a daunting task for the beginner to boil the milk with sugar yet not letting the milk to scald, then slowly slowly pouring the milk into a bowl of eggs whisked with cornstarch to the point at which the eggs are certain not to scramble. Then the whole thing goes back on the burner to activated the cornstarch, which thickens near boiling point. Voila, a pudding that I stirred almond extract and apricot jam into and spread along the middle of the rolled-out laminated dough.
I tucked the pastry cream into the dough, braiding it down. After the pastry had proffed once more it was into the oven with it. It puffed up flaky and rich, with a lightness unexpected from something with that much fat in it.