Buttery, crisp brioche is tasty as toast, wrapped around Nutella, or cut into soldiers and dipped into soft-boiled eggs. But the highest expression of brioche’s flavor potential is bostock. Slightly stale, thickly sliced brioche spread with almond cream, sprinkled with sliced almonds, and toasted until the topping puffs and browns: this is bostock, and I could happily eat it every day. It’s a European bakery standard, a value-added way of repurposing yesterday’s bread. Sadly, I can’t think of a single bakery offering bostock within 50 miles of my house.
Thankfully, making bostock is simple task (assuming homemade or storebought brioche is on hand). A food processor reduces the almond cream’s prep time to under 5 minutes. Refrigerated, it keeps for 3-4 days, so a short burst of work yields several days of lovely breakfasts. If too much almond cream and brioche is dietary danger, the recipe halves easily. Go ahead and use an entire egg if making a half recipe.
Almond cream for bostock
(Adapted from “Baking From My Home to Yours” by Dorie Greenspan, p. 452; her original recipe calls for already-ground, blanched almonds. Unblanched, slivered almonds are much cheaper and easier find locally, and I like the faint, brown freckles produced by the almond skins.)
- 1 cup sliced almonds, tightly packed
- 6 T salted butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- optional: 2 tsp rum or complimentary liqueur (like framboise or triple sec)
Bostock is the food of the gods. I discovered it a few years ago during a visit to California at my favorite bakery in Pasadena, Euro Pane. We do have one place here in the Phoenix area that makes it also, Essence, the same cafe/bakery that makes the incredible croissants.
Speaking of almonds, eggs and butter, I was assigned to make sticky buns for a brunch at my office this morning. I am not much of a fan of sticky buns, which generally taste to me like bread topped with sweet goo (dare I say also my reaction to many king cakes). But I combined two recipes to use a brioche base, and the gooey part was made with butter, turbinado sugar, honey, orange zest and almonds. I think these were the best sticky buns I’ve ever tasted. I would pay money for these.
Those sticky buns sound fantastic. Did you use ground almonds or sliced almonds? Almond cream would be lovely in a sticky bun.
I used sliced almonds because I like some crunch. You’re right that a filling of almond cream sounds like a good idea. I’ll make a note to try that next time.