Friday Foodie: Armenian Brioche filled with Dates, Walnuts, Honey and Spices
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Recipe type: Bread
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 8
 
Armenian Brioche stuffed with Dates, Walnuts, Honey and spices While looking at the Penzey spice website, I noticed a section of specialty spices and perused the list. I ran across Mahlab, a spice totally unfamiliar to me. I was intrigued with it’s origins , Turkey and Iran, and that essentially it comes from the pits of a sour cherry. I did a search for recipes using this “spice” and found this Armenian Brioche, traditionally served at Easter. This is the recipe I adapted from The Perfect Pantry.
Ingredients
  • For the dough:
  • 2 cups barley flour + extra as needed
  • 1 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 Tbs. finely ground Mahlab (grind just before using)
  • 2 ½ tsps bread machine yeast (or one package of yeast)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ Tbs coconut oil
  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ cup warm water, (I use hot from the tap since adding straight to the flour and yeast mix)
  • ⅓ c warm milk
  • Filling:
  • 10 ounces, pitted and freshly chopped dates (I used Medjool)
  • ½ c chopped walnuts
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 2 Tbs honey
Instructions
  1. For Filling: Mix first four ingredients together. Use your finger tips to mix the spices and walnuts with the dates to help separate clumps of dates. Mix in the honey and set aside until ready to fill bread. After filling, if there is any left, eat directly from the bowl. (I had about a heaping spoon full left and it was delicious!)
  2. For dough: Combine flours mahlab, salt and yeast, set aside.
  3. Turn oven to 100 degrees (or lowest setting). When it reaches temperature, turn off oven.
  4. In heavy duty mixer, cream butter, oil and sugar together. Add eggs and beat until combined and creamy.
  5. Combine milk and water together. Alternating between flour mixture and milk/water mixture, starting with flour, add to the creamed ingredients and continue mixing. When dough becomes too thick for the standard beater, replace with dough hook. Add additional flour (I alternated between barley and bread flour) one tablespoon at a time until dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Oil a large bowl, but not metal, and place dough in bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in warm oven. If oven feels hot, prop door open until just warm. The idea is to give the dough a warm place to rise, out of drafts, until double in size, about 2 hours.
  7. Punch down. Fold together, smooth into a ball and allow to rise again for about 1 ½ hours, until double in size. Punch down again and allow to rest for 15 mins. Divide dough in half. Divide each half again and then make five balls from each quarter. Allow the balls of dough to rest , covered, for 30 mins.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flatten each ball into a round, using a dining table spoon, scoop a spoonful into the center. Pinch dough closed around filling and reshape into a ball. Fill balls, one at a time, then place, two inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with an egg wash, made from one egg yoke and one tsp of water. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
  9. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy hot from the oven or may be reheated the next day for serving. Freeze any leftovers (which there will be none, but just incase) for up to a month.
Recipe by Jane Ann Thompson at http://janeannthompson.com/posts/friday-foodie-armenian-brioche-filled-with-dates-walnuts-honey-and-spices/