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Brioche as It Was Meant to Be Made!

 I have been trying to find a recipe for a type of brioche. I know about the flat-bread type and the muffins, but the one I remember, dimly, from my past, had a removable top and could be stuffed with savory or sweet items. How the heck do you make this thing? I asked Emeril Lagasse but I never got a reply – imagine that!

 You mean you wish to make brioche as God intended? You have asked a lot, little baker, but your hard work will be rewarded.

Rich, buttery, eggy, pastry-like brioche dough can be used for many things, flat bread and muffins among them, apparently. But there are a couple traditional shapings for brioche dough, and the tête, or "head," (also known as a Parisienne) is the one you want. It consists of a fairly large, round body, crowned with a smaller round "topknot." To stuff a brioche, you cut off the topknot and hollow out the center of the brioche. You can then fill it, as tradition allows, with a baked egg and béarnaise sauce, or with chicken or tuna or Waldorf salad, or really, anything your heart desires, before replacing the topknot and surprising everyone with your clever filled brioche.

To achieve this baking miracle, you'll need a fluted brioche pan (for the recipe we've provided, you'll actually use three). There are various small brioche pans on the market, but if you want to stuff your brioche, you should obtain the larger 8-inch versions. The recipe for brioche is long, long, long and seems complicated, but proceed step-by-step, and you should not find it insurmountable.

For the record, Emeril Lagasse is not in the business of answering cooking questions – he is in the business of making food, making restaurants, making television, and making deals with Martha Stewart. Who can blame him? See how long it's taken for us to get to your question, and the only thing we make is food and an occasionally witty Web site….

Suggested Recipe: Brioche Têtes

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