People who know me understand that I am the least “basic” person there is. And that is probably true, except for when it comes to fall. As soon as I see that first leaf turn, I break out my sweaters, knee high boots, and drink my weight in seasonal lattes.
I am currently on the hunt for a “Freaky for Fall” sweater that matches my favorite infinity scarf. I also love everything pumpkin. Each year I make pumpkin soup, pumpkin macaroni and cheese, and brown butter pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
This year, I wanted to do things differently. This year, I was going to try and keep my pumpkin love to a minimum and keep my hands off the gourd until Thanksgiving. Sure, I had one or two lattes, but I managed to keep myself from baking anything pumpkin for a lot longer than I thought I would.
Slowly, my pumpkin cravings began to take hold of my mind. I began to crave it. Then the other day these pumpkin cream cheese brioches were out of the oven and I was eating half of my second one before I even realized what was happening.
I didn’t even remember going to the store and buying pumpkin puree.
So, I broke my no-pumpkin ban. But pumpkin cream cheese brioche is worth it. I mean, how can you say no to soft, buttery bread that basically melts in your mouth?
And that sweet pumpkin cream cheese filling? It isn’t “pumpkin spice,” but it has a beautiful melody of my favorite warm spices that epitomize everything that is wonderful about fall. And the cinnamon sugar topping adds an amazing crunch to the brioche that is just too tempting to resist.
My advice? Don’t try to be a hero. Give in to the pumpkin. Give in to pumpkin brioche. Your taste buds will thank you.
For the Brioche:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, spoon and sweep when measuring the flour here
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in cubes, softened, but not fully room temperature
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Topping:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Be sure not to place the salt directly on top of the yeast. Mix together until well combined.
- In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and milk together until well-incorporated.
- Slowly mix the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix until it comes together into a ball.
- Beat the dough well (preferably using a stand mixer with a dough hook on medium speed) and slowly add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Beat until each tablespoon of butter is fully incorporated into the dough before adding another tablespoon.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until you can stretch a portion of the dough so much that you can almost see through it without it tearing.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover. Allow to rise in a warm, dry place for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, mix together all the ingredients for the filling together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Once the dough is finished rising, gently deflate and place on a lightly floured surface. Evenly divide the dough into 8 pieces.
- Roll each piece into a ball, then create a deep indentation in the middle of the ball that goes almost completely though. Stretch the indentation until it is about four inches wide and there is a thick border all around. It should resemble a kiddie pool.
- Place each round on a baking sheet lined in parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Fill each round with the pumpkin mixture. You should be able to fill each round with approximately 1/4 cup of the filling.
- Mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle over the dough and filling.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for 18 – 20 minutes, or until a light golden brown.
- Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
- Best the same day, but can store in an air tight container for three days. I recommend warming in the microwave or oven before serving stored brioche.
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