Wake up to these adorable chocolate chip vanilla custard brioches “brioches suisses”. Soft, creamy, loaded with mini chocolate chips, they have everything you ever asked for!
Abroad, brioches suisses are certainly less known than croissants, chocolate croissants (pains au chocolat) or even pains aux raisins, but to me they rank to the same level and are among my favorites. You will find them in every French bakery in France, often with a different name, depending on the region: brioches suisses, Suisses, patte d’ours, pavé suisse… To me, they are brioches suisses, and this is how I chose to call them here.
These lovely baked goods are indeed a common variant of chocolate croissants (pains au chocolat). However, unlike these last ones, brioches suisses are prepared with a brioche dough instead of a leavened puff pastry. The result is visible in the texture as they are soft and pillowy like a classic brioche, whereas the chocolate croissants are more on the crispy buttery side.
Another important difference with the chocolate croissants is the difficulty level: brioches suisses are much easier to prepare. Even if I made you a step-by-step tutorial to prepare a puff pastry a couple of days ago, I know that it can be quite challenging, sometimes discouraging, and often time consuming to prepare chocolate croissants. And also, we find them easily in bakeries (less in the US, but we can still find some good ones; I don’t want to be the snobbish French here). So until further notice, I suggest we reserve chocolate croissants to professional bakeries and focus on baking our own brioches suisses instead.
I have been willing to try this project for quite a long time but for some reasons, I never really took the opportunity before. In 2018 however, I decided to challenge myself a little bit more with sharing a French baking recipe every single month. So far we have a galette des rois, a brioche à tête, 5 no-knead bread recipes, a lemon meringue pie, a strawberry tart with pastry cream and pains aux raisins, and now the chocolate chip vanilla custard brioches that we call “brioches suisses” (fyi, I haven’t figured out if they really were from Switzerland originally… any hint among you maybe?).
Coming back to the brioches suisses recipe, it is as I said prepared with a delicate brioche dough. I have read countless of different recipes before diving into the project, most of them claiming to be from the French pastry Chef Christophe Felder although I find them all slightly different from each other, which brings a little bit of confusion. That being said, I believe this is the way a recipe evolves and I kind of like it. So I took what I thought was the very best of these recipes and prepared my own.
The brioche dough is the tricky part because of the long kneading time. For this reason, I strongly advise you use a kitchen aid. I did my own brioche dough by hand but it took me quite a while until the dough was tamable (it is quite sticky for a very long time before that). The result was still very good so I am not saying it doesn’t work but a kitchen aid clearly makes your life so much easier: just place all the ingredients following the recipe instructions, turn on the speed on low-medium, and let the kitchen aid do the work for you. In the end, your dough must be dense, strong, and slightly sticky.
Once the dough is ready, you have a few long rising times, which makes the recipe quite long to prepare. On the good side: it doesn’t make it difficult; you just need to respect the rising time to give the yeast some time to develop. Meanwhile, prepare the pastry cream. I recommend the use of a vanilla pod instead of vanilla extract, but if you can’t find a hand on it, the second one will do the job too. For this recipe, I used the one suggested by Christophe Felder and found it absolutely perfect. I have made many different pastry cream recipes in the past but this one is by far my favorite: extremely smooth and perfumed. You’ve got to love it.
When the dough is ready to use, simple roll it out in a large rectangle, spread the pastry cream on one side lenghtwise, then cover with mini chocolate chips before folding the empty side on top of the garnished one. At this point, the recipe is almost over, although you will need to cut the dough into rectangles first and let rise for one long last time. At the very end, brush with beaten egg and bake for 10-12 minutes in a pre-heated oven. Brush with the syrup, let cool completely, and enjoy. And if you are still wondering how good they are, let me just tell you that they seem to come right out from a bakery. No one would guess you are the one who have actually baked them!
- 2 cups + 1 Tablespoon (250g) all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 0.35 ounces (10g) fresh yeast, crumbled
- 3 eggs (150g), beaten
- ⅔ cup (165g) unsalted butter, softened and diced
- 1 cup + 2 teaspoons (25 cl) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 yolks
- ¼ cup (50g) sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (20g) cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (120g) mini chocolate chips
- ¼ cup (50g) sugar
- ¼ cup (50 ml) water
- 1 large egg + 1 yolk, beaten
- In the bowl of a kitchen aid with a paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, salt and crumbled yeast, making sure salt and sugar don't interact with the yeast. Mix quickly.
- Add the eggs and knead for about 2-3 minutes at medium speed, until the dough become strong and thick.
- Incorporate the diced softened butter in several additions while the kitchen aid is running at medium speed. Knead until butter is completely incorporated and the dough becomes dense, smooth and slightly sticky, about 20 minutes.
- Place the dough in a clean medium size bowl, cover with cling film and let rise in a warm room for about 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Flatten the dough in a thick rectangle, wrap with cling film and place in the refrigerator for about 40 minutes (until 2 hours if you have time), and in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Heat milk and butter on medium heat. Add the vanilla pod and grated seeds.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks with sugar. Pour in the flour and cornstarch, and whisk until well combined.
- When the milk is bubbling, remove the vanilla pod and pour the milk over the egg mixture in a few additions until well combined.
- Pour the mixture back in the pan on low-medium heat, and keep whisking until it thickens.
- Transfer into a clean bowl, cover with cling film, making contact with the vanilla custard. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a clean surface covered with parchment paper in a large rectangle of 8x12 inches (40x30 cm). Cover half of the dough with the custard vanilla, lengthwise.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips over, and gently use the rolling pin to make pressure so the chocolate chips make contact in the custard.
- Fold in the empty side of the dough over the garnished one, and flatten the top part with your hands to empty the possible air bubbles. Gently flatten with a rolling pin to make sure the surface is smooth.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in 8 equal rectangles, about 1 to 1.5 inch (3 to 4 cm) wide. Place each of them on a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving enough space between each of them. Cover with cling film and let rise for 2 hours.
- In a small saucepan, bring to boil sugar and water, until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool.
- When the brioches are ready, brush them with the beaten egg and yolk, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F (180 C) for 10-12 minutes, or until golden-golden brown, depending on your preference.
- Remove from the oven and brush with the syrup right away. Let cool completely before serving.