Sicilian Brioche Buns
This sweet brioche-type dough is rich and makes a lot; the baked brioche and cones can be frozen unfilled for future use.
1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm (110°F) filtered or bottled noncarbonated water
½ cup warm (110°F) milk
3 large eggs, at room temperature
4½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg, slightly beaten for egg wash
Ice cream, approximately one scoop per brioche or one per cone, in any flavor you like
1. In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and mix with a spoon until the yeast dissolves. Let the mixture ferment for about
5 minutes. Small clusters of chalky-looking bubbles should appear on the surface. Stir in the milk. With a fork, beat in eggs one at a time. Set the mixture aside.
2. In another bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Break up the butter over the dry ingredients and work it in with your hands until a crumbly mixture is obtained.
3. Add the yeast mixture and mix with your hands until a ball of dough is formed. Add additional flour if necessary to obtain a dough that is soft but not too sticky.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead it for 3–4 minutes, until a smooth ball of dough forms. Let the dough rest on the work surface for 10 minutes, covered with a towel or inverted bowl. Knead the dough again for 5 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky.
5. Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking oil spray or lightly coat with butter. Gather up the dough, place it in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until about doubled in size, about 2–2½ hours. Use two fingers to make two indentations into the center of the dough. If the indentations do not close up, the dough is sufficiently risen and ready to use.
6. Divide the dough in half and use half to form small balls of about 3½ ounces each. Use scissors to make a deep “X” in the center of each one and tuck in a tiny, marble size piece of dough. Place the brioche in small, cupcake-size brioche pans or aluminum tins, and place them on a baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double.
7. Divide the second half of dough into small egg-size pieces and roll each one into a strip that is 6-inches long and 1-inch wide. Wrap the strips around lightly sprayed metal, cone-shaped forms. Place the cones on parchment paper-covered baking trays and cover; allow to rise until double in size.
8. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the tops of the brioche with the egg wash and brush the cones on all sides. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks. When cool, remove the brioche from their tins. To remove the cones, twist them gently away from the forms.
Top with ice cream.