Sicilian Brioche Buns with Gelato

Brioches siciliane con gelato | tortaoragione.it

The original recipe of these Sicilian Brioche Buns belongs to Cinzia of the blog Il Forno Incantato.
And what other gelato flavor could I go for if not the famous Sicilian pistachio? Did you know we spell it with double C? Pistacchio.

I shall admit that my brioche buns more than Sicilian are from Pisa because they lean on one side. I think I made the “tuppo” too big. The tuppo is the small round ball on top. It is named that way cause it resembles a chignon hairstyle, like the one used by classic ballet dancers.

But being my first attempt that will do and the flavor is awesome. Big thanks to Cinzia who allowed me to repost her recipe. This Sicilian Brioche Buns recipe lends itself perfectly to savory food, too. I tried them with speck and brie and they were amazing. But the amount of sugar varies.

The sweet version asks for 100g (3.5 oz) of sugar, whereas if you want to have the best of both worlds it is better to limit the sugar to 70g (2.5 oz).

As far as gelato is concerned, I balanced the recipe with a low level of sweetness, like I usually do.
Having a pure, high quality pistacchio paste is paramount. And it has to be strictly unsweetened.
Do not go overboard with the pinch of salt as salt has a very high anti-freezing effect and it can ruin the ice cream.

I love Sicily and Sicilian food! It is in my top ten list of places to visit in the near future.

Note: I followed Cinzia’s original recipe apart from small variations in the process.

Sicilian Brioche Buns with Gelato

Servings: 8

Ingredients

For the brioche buns:

  • 1 kg flour, medium to strong, about W250-W350 (2lb 3.3oz)
  • 130 g lard 4.6 oz
  • 70 g sugar 2.5 oz
  • 20 g salt 0.7 oz
  • 25 g fresh yeast 0.9 oz
  • 400 g water, approx (14.1 oz)

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of milk
  • pinch of salt

For the pistacchio flavor gelato*:

  • 592 g milk, full fat (20.9 oz)
  • 121 g water 4.3 oz
  • 140 g sugar (sucrose) (4.9 oz)
  • 32 g dextrose 1.1 oz
  • 45 g skimmed milk powder 1.6 oz
  • 2 g carob flour, optional (½ tsp)
  • 102 g pure pistacchio paste 3.6 oz
  • * for this gelato an ice cream maker is needed

Instructions

For the brioche buns:

  • In the cup of the immersion blender mix 200g (7 oz) of water, the yeast and sugar. Mix for a few seconds.
  • In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the hook (or in a normal bowl if done by hands) put the flour. Slowly add the content of immersion blender cup and start working at low speed.
  • Add the lard in chunks. As the dough absorbs the liquids slowly add the remaining water (200g / 7oz). Increase the speed of one notch and keep working it until the dough starts wrapping around the hook. Add salt and work enough to incorporate.
  • Cover with a dish cloth and let the dough to rise, approx 2 hours.
  • Take the leavened dough and divide it into small balls, about 90g each (3.2oz). From each ball take out about 1/5 of the dough to make the “tuppo” (the bun). Careful not to make the tuppo too big of it will, like mine, lean on one side during baking.
  • On one side of the small ball create a cone-like shape (i.e. one side rounded and one side pointed).
  • Using your thumb, index and middle finger create a small cavity in the bigger ball. Place the pointed part of the small ball inside the cavity.
  • Repeat for all the buns.
  • Place the buns on an oven tray lined with baking paper, cover them with cling film and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven at 170° C (338° F).
  • In a small bowl prepare the egg wash by whisking together all the ingredients. Brush each brioche bun with the egg wash.
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 170° C (338° F) for approx 20 minutes. The brioche buns should be golden.

For the pistachio flavor gelato:

  • Put milk and water in a pot on medium heat. Meanwhile weight the dry ingredients: in a bowl combine sucrose (sugar), dextrose, skimmed milk powder, and carob flour (optional).
  • When the liquids reach 45° C (113° F) add the dry ingredients and stir with a whisk.
  • When mix reaches 60° C (140° F) remove the pot from heat and add the pistachio paste and the pinch of salt. Mix with the immersion blender until the paste has dissolved.
  • Refrigerate the mix until cold. Make the gelato according to the instructions of your ice cream maker.
  • Once the gelato is ready cut each brioche bun in half and fill it with a couple of scoops of pistacchio flavor gelato.
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