Butter and Cheese Brioche with Pear and Balsamic Chutney

Lesley Waters tops rich, soft brioche with cheese and sage and serves it with a tangy chutney
By Lesley Waters
Butter and Cheese Brioche with Pear and Balsamic Chutney
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 1-2 hrs rising for the dough
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the chutney

  • 25 g butter
  • 450 g red onions, cut into rough wedges
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 55 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 1 large ripe dessert pear, peeled, quartered and sliced into 3
  • 1 tbsp port

For the brioche

  • 350 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 15 g fresh yeast
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 85 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 60 ml warm water
  • 1 beaten egg, for glaze

For the topping

  • 170 g stilton cheese, or Blue Vinney
  • 3 tbsp sweet white wine
  • 25 g unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tbsp sage leaves, roughly torn

Method

1. To make the chutney: heat the butter in a medium saucepan, add the onions and gently fry for 10-15 minutes until softened and golden brown.

2. Add the bay leaf, caster sugar, balsamic vinegar, red wine, pear and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer rapidly for 10 minutes.

3. Remove the lid and simmer gently for a further 30 minutes until reduced and syrupy and chutney like in consistency.

4. Stir in the port for the final 2 minutes of cooking, and then set aside.

5. To make the brioche: Lightly grease a baking tray or 20cm sandwich cake tin.

6. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, melted butter and enough warm water to bring together to form a soft dough. Knead lightly until smooth, adding a little flour if the dough is very sticky.

7. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to prove for about 1- 1 hour 30 minutes until it has doubled in size.

8. When the dough has risen, 'knock back' by kneading the dough again for 5 minutes. Roll out half the dough into a rough circle, about 18cm in diameter. Transfer to a lightly greased baking tray or 20cm sandwich tin.

9. Divide the remaining dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Using a little glaze as glue, place these balls evenly in a circle on the brioche dough, forming a wall around the border.

10. Cover and leave in a warm place to prove until the balls are slightly risen and almost touching.

11. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7.

12. To make the topping: crumble the cheese over the brioche, within the wall and spoon over the sweet white wine and top with the diced butter. Brush the brioche dough with the beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

13. Reduce the heat to 190C/gas 5. Scatter over half the sage leaves and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until the brioche is golden and cooked through and the cheese melted and bubbling.

14. To serve: scatter with the remaining sage leaves and serve at once.

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