The Toast with the Most: Almond Brioche Toast

I try to stop by Amy's Bread whenever I'm in New York City, and many times I have looked longingly at the almond brioche toast in the pastry case. I've never actually tried it -- it always seems like too much of an indulgence. (What I usually purchase at Amy's Bread is the French Ham and Butter Sandwich. A jamon-beurre is my favorite sandwich in the world.) But I own a copy of the The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread and it includes the Almond Brioche Toast recipe. I finally gave in and had to give the recipe a try.

For the brioche I used a recipe from King Arthur Flour, baking two braided loves. I definitely recommend this brioche recipe -- the bread was buttery but very light, with a thick golden crust. I let the loaves sit out for a day before making the toast, which is pretty straightforward. You make an almond cream (aka frangipane) from butter, sugar, almond flour, powdered sugar, eggs, and almond extract. The cream has to be cold before using it, so you need to chill it until firm. When the almond cream is ready, you brush slices of brioche with an almond-flavored simple syrup (water, sugar, and almond extract), and spread almond cream on each slice, mounding it in the middle. After a little sprinkle of sliced almonds, you put the bread in the oven, first baking it at 400 degrees, and then dropping the temperature to 350 degrees.
After the cream is puffy and golden, you take the toast out of the oven and immediately transfer it to a rack to prevent it from getting soggy. The recipe warns you not to spread the cream too far to the edges of the bread before baking or it will drip off the sides. I was careful to leave a naked strip of bread along the edges, but some of the cream still ended up running onto the pan. And even though I had sprinkled all of my almonds on top of the mound of cream in the center of each slice, the nuts migrated to the edges of each piece of bread along with the almond cream. However, it was pretty easy to pry the errant almond cream off of the edges of the bread, so the toast looked nice and tidy when I served it.

This toast is so freakin' good --  no doubt it helps that almond is my absolutely favorite flavor. The toast has a crisp bottom and edges, with a thick topping of rich and creamy almond frangipane that is melded seamlessly to the bread. It's really an almond lover's dream. I ended up with some extra almond cream and even though I had no specific plans for it, it was so delicious that I couldn't bear to throw it away and I stashed it in the fridge (the recipe says it will keep for about a week). It came in handy when a co-worker shared some of her homemade English Muffin Toasting Bread with me a few days later. I used her bread to make more almond toast (without any almond syrup, since I didn't have any of that left over) and while it was not a rich as the brioche version, it was still very tasty. Amy says that you could make this recipe with any brioche, a plain croissant, or even challah. I'm pretty sure that I would love almond cream on just about anything!

Recipes: "Brioche" from King Arthur Flour and "Almond Brioche Toast" from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree, recipe available here at Serious Eats (although this online version neglects to tell you how to bake the toast -- 6 minutes at 400 degrees and then 6-7 minutes at 350 degrees, until the topping is brown and puffy; remove immediately to a wire rack to cool).

Previous Posts: