Hello Everybody! I've searched the internet for this recipe after a suggestion from one of my mentors, Kelly Hale!! Here is Bernard Clayton Jr's "Piquenchagne" from The Breads of France (with some #bakingactor touches, of course).
2 medium pears (mine were small, so I used 3 and different kinds)
1/2 C water
3/4 t cardamom*
1/2 t cinnamon*
1/2-1 t ground pepper
1 package Active Dry Yeast (2 1/4 t.)
1/2 C milk or water, warmed to 110degF
2 T canola oil*
2 1/2 T honey
2 t salt
2 eggs, room temp
1/4 t. pepper*
4-5 cups of AP flour
1 Egg (could use only the yolk. . . ), room temp
1 T milk, room temp
at least 3 bowls (one for mashing, one for mixing and one for proofing)
Dough Scraper: I have THIS ONE
Prepare your pears! :) Peel, core and dice your pears. Place in a pot with 1/2 cup water and add spices. Let cook for about 10-12 minutes until all of the water is gone on medium heat, stirring occasionally. (this is the time that you can heat your milk in a double boiler). When the pears are done, it will be easy to swirl the pot and have the pears not stick but seemingly all of the water has cooked out.
Remove from the heat and mash until pretty smooth with a fork, food processor, or potato masher. Set aside to let mixture cool.
While Pears of cooking, get your other stuff ready! I like to line my sheets with silpat or parchment paper and get my "proofing" bowl greased.
Put yeast in warmed milk or water and set aside.
In a large bowl, put your oil, honey, salt and eggs together, whisking until you have a smooth liquid. This is the part that you can do 1 of 2 ways, but basically achieving the same outcome.
You can combine the pear mixture a little at a time into the egg mixture making sure to whisk as you go as not to cook the eggs THEN add the yeast mixture, OR add yeast mixture to eggs first and then the same small amount at a time of the pear mixture into the bowl. Either way, you get all of the WET ingredients combined. Just temper everything as to not kill the yeast OR scramble the eggs :)
NOW, we make the dough!!
Put 2 cups of flour on top of the liquid mixture and beat in with wooden spoon or Spurtle until all incorporated. Add a 3rd cup and mix until you start to get a "stringy/shaggy" mess. Once the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, it's TIME!
The next 4-7 minutes will feel like you're not doing it right, but remember once you activated the yeast, this is alive; it needs some TLC to become a beautiful dough!
YOU will NEED a DOUGH SCRAPER! Turn it out and finish adding up to 5 C of flour until you have a "pillowy" dough that isn't sticking to your hands any more. You should also be able to pull between your thumbs and it will stretch. If it "breaks", you need to knead some more. . .
Place completed dough into greased bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and place in the oven with the light on. It just needs to be in a draft free place that's about 70-75 degrees .
After 1 hour, punch/deflate the dough and form it into a disk. the formal recipe is to cut into 2, but these are HUGE pieces. We cut into 6 or 8 here in our house. I like to cut the disk into 3 or 4 and then cut those in half.
Form the smallest pieces that you come up with in a ball and let them rest for a couple of minutes. Then, flatten the balls a little and then poke your finger through the middle creating a "Couronne." It should look like a big bagel! Place on your parchment paper lined pans, cover with a towel and let them sit proof for 45-60 minutes. These will still be a little "sticky" but not crazy WET. . .
After 15-30 minutes into this final proof, turn on the oven to 350degF and let it start to preheat. As well, beat your Glaze together so that it becomes room temp and easier to baste onto the loaves.
Remove towels and baste the glaze (for a more "golden" look, use only the egg yolk) onto the Shapes. Take a SHARP knife or razor blade and cut the around so it looks as if there are a "crown" in the middle of the circle. . .
Depending on size, the baking could take from 20-40 minutes. The bigger the "Couronne", the longer it will take. "How do I know, will?" When they are golden, AND when tapped sound hollow, it's DONE!
and VOILA! You have Piquenchagne!
Pull it out and let it cool on a wrack and cut and serve! If these sound like a LOT to consume in a week or so, you could freeze 1/2 of it. Just allow to thaw out over night in the fridge, and they're good for use! Or give it to a neighbor, I've given it away to friends at work and they LOVE it.