Happy holidays and welcome to 2010!
You’ll have to forgive my temporary leave of absence. I was apparently far too immersed in holiday happenings like eating and cooking and baking and drowning in lots of butter to catch up on my posts. And trust me, I have some serious catching up to do. I started off my year on the treadmill in a desperate attempt to undo the damage. But I assure you, the damage done was pretty freaking delicious. I think you’ll agree that it was worth every bite. I hope you had a wonderfully decadent holiday season too!
So where to begin? I think I’ll start with the pièce de résistance.
Go big or go home, right? Or maybe it should be “go get me a brioche or go home cause I won’t let you in without one”. I admit. It’s a mouthful. But once you try one, you’ll understand. Or maybe me and my husband are just brioche obsessed. You tell me.
But wait. I can’t just tell you the recipe. First, you have to sit through a little brioche history of the most delicious brioche in the world. Where to get it? Capri. We discovered it during our honeymoon in Italy at a hole-in-the-wall trattoria/bakery/deli/gelateria of heaven. They made everything from scratch. Even the cones for the gelato were cooked and rolled right before your eyes. During our three day and two night stay in Capri, we visited the trattoria at least 6 times. We consumed more gelato from that one location than I’d like to admit. On our last day, before hopping on the boat to Ravello, we stopped there and bought some funny looking rolls for the road. As the ship sailed away from Capri, we discovered brioche. Slightly sweet, fluffy, airy, flaky perfection. (Not to be confused with the dense, muffin-like brioche you sometimes find in the states). So as luck would have it, we were stuck in Ravello with nothing but a napkin and an address and no way to get more.
The sad part. We spent the next few months looking for anything that remotely resembled that brioche. Until one fateful day when I finally made it to another fabulous hole-in-the-wall in NYC, Levain Bakery. What did you say? Levain is famous for their cookies? Oh yeah. Those. They are incredible cookies that defy logic. Humongous yet still gooey on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside. But they will get their own post some day. For now, the unspoken hero of the bakery on 74th and Amsterdam is brioche. Plain. Not chocolate or whatever flavor. Just try it plain and you’ll see. Or maybe you’ll just call us crazy. At least you don’t have to go all the way to Capri to try some.
Then again, you could always just bake some for yourself. That’s exactly what we did. Stay tuned for the recipe and my attempt to recreate our fantasia di Capri.
And now you know why brioche earned a two-part post.