Oh, people. It seems like everyone I know has got the crazies these days--work, raising tiny people, planning parties, errands, getting summer plans together, maybe writing a book or somesuch. I haven't read an "I'm so borrrred...!!" Facebook update in months. It's a happy, Springtime sort of busy, I suppose, but crazymaking nonetheless. I say it's high time we all had a recipe for Bostock in our back pockets. It's the sort of soul-soothing foodstuff that comes together so quickly that if you blink you'll miss it, and it's so perfectly lovely you'll be wondering where it's been all your life.
I found myself having a little Bostock moment myself after this past blitz of a weekend, dominated by helping to run the completely fantastic San Francisco Food Blogger Bake Sale. It was a grand success--we raised more than $2400 for Share Our Strength, yahoo!--and the afterglow (and sugar high) was lovely. Also, utterly exhausting. But mostly lovely. And definitely a Bostock-and-tea-or-hey-maybe-bourbon-to-regroup-type of thing.
In short, Bostock is the most direct way to get all the satisfaction normally delivered by the buttery, creamy almond pastries normally only found at great bakeries. It give you a French toast feeling, without all the mess and hassle. It's hardly a recipe, even. And it's the world's most perfect way to use up past-its-prime brioche.
All you do is cut yourself a thick slice of brioche (or two or three, ahem), soak it with an easy almond syrup, and then slather it with frangipane, a dreamy, buttery almond cream that comes together in mere minutes. Top it all with sliced almonds, pop it in the oven for a quick bake, and BAM--you'll be transported out of your totally bananas life into a General Foods International Coffee moment in no time flat. The syrup and the frangipane keep for weeks in the fridge, so go on and make the whole batch and store it for emergency Bostock-requiring situations.
The oven transforms a handful of humble ingredients into something other-worldly. The buttery brioche comes alive again, thanks to the almond soaking syrup. The frangipane puffs and browns and is at once crisp on the edges and creamy in the center. Toasted almonds winking at you as you start to shove the whole thing in your face. Sigh. Move this recipe to the top of your mile-long to-do list, guys. You're totally worth it.
Adapted from a recipe from Francis Lam on Salon.com,
Frangipane recipe from David Lebovitz
For the almond syrup:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the frangipane:
4 ounces almond paste, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
Day-old (or more) brioche bread, cut into 1-inch thick slices
Sliced almonds, for sprinkling
For the almond syrup, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.
To make the frangipane, place the almond paste, sugar, flour and almond extract in the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer. Mix until the almond paste is in fine, uniform pieces. Add the butter and mix until very well-blended, then add the egg and the liqueur, if using. Mix until the frangipane is smooth (there may be a few tiny unmixed pieces of almond paste, and that's fine--they'll disappear during baking).
To assemble the Bostock, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Working one slice at a time, generously brush the brioche slices with almond syrup on both sides. Place the slices on a baking sheet and slather them with substantial amounts of frangipane. Sprinkle almonds on top to your liking. Bake until the frangipane is puffed and golden, about 15-20. Serve warm.