Nothing beats the smell of baking bread. And nothing tastes better than bread fresh out of the oven. This light as air pull apart pinwheel brioche with a smoky savoury filling dipped in gooey brie is the most salubrious way to celebrate Christmas.
This recipe might seem overwhelming but it truly isn’t. You can make the dough days in advance, you can even roll the pinwheels and place them in your Ironclad pan the night before Xmas, pop them in the fridge and then bake them off in the morning.
If you want to go vegetarian, replace the smoked salmon with finely sliced baked beetroot, sautéed mushrooms, asparagus spears or whatever takes your fancy!
I recommend taking the uncooked dish to your family Christmas. Secretly slip the pan in the oven on arrival. Then as the champagne is pouring pull them sizzling out of the oven and onto the table. It’s a showstopper!
1 c warm milk
¼ c warm water
1 T yeast
1 T maple syrup
500g strong white flour plus extra for the knead.
1 t salt
150g soft butter
250 g mascarpone
300 g cold smoked salmon slices
50 g whole capers
Zest of one lemon
100 g basil pesto
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 small brie in a wooden box
Fresh rosemary leaves
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Extra rosemary sprigs
Pour the warm milk and water into a medium bowl, or the bowl of your kitchen mixer and sprinkle the yeast, maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of flour on top. No need to stir, just leave in a warm place till frothy for about 5 – 10 minutes.
Whisk eggs into the frothy yeast mixture then add flour, salt and soft butter.
If you are using a mixer with a dough hook, let it knead the dough for 8 minutes. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time if necessary.
If like me, you like to knead, turn the dough onto a floured bench and knead for 10 minutes till it’s shiny and elastic. It will be very sticky at the beginning. Have flour on standby to add more as required.
Return the dough to a clean oiled bowl and leave to rise, covered for half an hour in a warm place.
Mix mascarpone, capers, and lemon zest together.
Tip dough onto a VERY lightly floured bench, beat down and knead for a couple of minutes. The dough should not be sticking to the bench at all.
Now divide the dough into two and store half of it in the fridge where it will keep for up to 5 days. I’m telling you. You WILL want to make this again! Or you might like to try making the Ironclad raspberry and Christmas mince star bread!
With your hands roll the dough to 30 cm long roll. You want to work fast now as the dough will want to rise up and escape, especially if it’s really hot. Don’t flour the bench. It will make it much easier to roll.
Using a rolling pin shape the dough into a 50 cm long and 14 cm wide rectangle. Trim the ends and sides so the edges are straight. (A ruler works great!) Add the trimmings to the dough in the fridge.
If you don’t have a long enough bench, cut the dough into two and make two rectangles.
Using a bread and butter knife, spread a layer of pesto on the dough, followed by the smoked salmon then a layer of mascarpone. Keep the layers along the long back edge 1 cm away from this edge.
Loosen the dough with a knife along the long edge closest to you and roll tightly at speed away from you. The key here is keeping the log tight and evenly shaped.
With a very sharp knife, chop the log into 16 pieces.
Place the wooden brie box (without the cheese) in the centre of your lightly oiled Ironclad Pan and arrange the pinwheel slices around the box. Make sure the seams are all touching the box in the inner ring and facing the same direction in the outer ring. You’ll use 7 for the inner ring and 7 for the outer ring. You can cook up the 2 left over separately and pull them out when everyone thinks there’s none left. You will be a superhero!
Leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until almost doubled in size.
*** If you are making this for the next day, spray the top of the pinwheels with olive oil, cover loosely in cling film and store in the fridge. The dough will rise overnight. Remove from fridge an hour before baking.
Bake at 180°C for 10 minutes.
Score the rind on the top of the brie, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of rosemary leaves.
Remove pan from oven and working quickly, drop the brie into the wooden box, scatter the top with extra rosemary sprigs, return to oven and cook for a further 20 minutes.
Take to the table sizzling hot, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and DEVOUR!