Initially I’d entertained the idea of calling this recipe ‘Apple Spice & Walnut Streusel Pull-Apart Bruffins with Bourbon Caramel Glaze’, feeling the glaze warranted a mention in the title. Not one prone to briefness, I did manage to concede & shorten the title. The description however is worthy of some loftiness…
Pillowy-soft & buttery brioche dough is encases a spiced brown sugar & apple filling & cut to form the equivalent of dessert-like pull apart bread, haphazardly arranged in muffin liners; topped with a walnut brown sugar crumble mixture; baked until golden & then drizzled with a creamy brown sugar, bourbon, caramel icing. It’s a pastry lover’s wet dream.
Not something I’d recommend eating every day, (although currently my husband is), for this time of year as a special treat or to give as gifts, these are perfect. I’m showing more willpower than I knew I had & have so far consumed only a mouthful of one of the bruffins I pulled apart for the sake of a photo. This form of restraint is uncharacteristic of me.
If you’re feeling particularly festive, which sadly I’m not, tie some string around the bruffins & attach a small card with the description on the front & on the back write reheating instructions because these are best eaten warm (I give details of reheating in the recipe). Because these bruffins are quite generously sized, these could be package in individual boxes & a single one given to each of your mates. You know, the ones you really like.
I’m not going to hide the fact these require a little time & tlc to make – but they’re well worth it – believe me. It’s a yeast dough so that means proofing time. There’s also multiple recipes within the recipe: the dough, the filling, the streusel topping & the glaze. They also require you using a particular type of muffin liner & not those frilly smaller cupcake liners. They will not work. The liners I use come from Amazon. There’s lot of them on there so look around but beware, they’re not all created equal, some are smaller than others. Now you might not need 200 of them but if you bake bog-standard muffins regularly, then you’ll want to use these liners.
Use whatever apples you fancy. I used gala apples for their sweetness & firm texture.
A dusting of snow-like powered sugar? I’ll leave that up to you. It does look pretty although it hides the bourbon caramel glaze.
So, a bruffin…apart from a silly, made-up word, what is a bruffin? If I haven’t already explained it, it’s brioche dough cooked in muffin liners with that roughly textured topping synonymous with well-made muffins. These are nothing short of sensational. If you’re a nervous Nelly when it comes to making yeast doughs, don’t despair, I have made close to one thousand of these bruffins & the hardest part is not eating them. Truly. If you follow the recipe as I’ve written it, you will have success. And although they’re not something to cook (or eat) often, ’tis the time of year to let the inner baker in you shine. Toodles for now,
Spiced Apple & Walnut Pull Apart Bruffins
APPLE SPICE FILLING
- 4 medium apples, peeled, cored & finely diced (4 cups)
- 1/4 cup waer
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons apple pie spice
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 1/4 teaspooons active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I use sea salt)
- 1/2 cup softened butter
WALNUT STREUSEL TOPPING
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup softened butter
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
BOURBON CARAMEL GLAZE
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 cups powered sugar, approximately
To make the apple spice filling
- Toss apple & water together in a large frying pan. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apple is softened but still holding its shape. Drain & discard any residual liquid from apple & scrape apple into a bowl; chill for 1 to 2 hours or until completely cool – stirring occasionally will help cool the mixture down faster.
- Combine sugar, spice, soft butter & vanilla in a medium bowl & stir until well combined. Cover & set aside.
To make the starter:
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave in a microwave-safe jug until warm – no warmer than 85F/29C, use a candy thermometer. (Too hot milk can kill the yeast, too cold & it won’t activate.) Combine milk & yeast in a large bowl of an electric stand mixer using the dough hook attachment*. Let stand for 5 minutes – the mixture will froth & bubbles will appear on the surface.
- Add 3/4 cup of flour & the sugar; beat for 1 to 2 minutes or until thoroughly combined, scraping the side of the bowl with a spatula. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes – bubbles will form over the surface of the mixture.
To make the dough:
- Add the eggs to the yeast mixture & beat until well combined. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour & salt. Mix for 4 minutes on medium setting, scraping the dough down a few times.
- Add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. (It’s important the butter is soft or it won’t incorporate thoroughly.) Continue kneading with the dough hook, scraping the bowl down a few times, for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth & shiny. If dough is too sticky, add a little more of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Grease a large, clean bowl. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured, smooth surface & knead until smooth. Shape the dough into a round & place into the greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap & let rise in a warm place for 2 hours
- Punch the dough down lightly & fold it over itself four or five times, leaving the dough in the bowl. Shape into a round, cover the bowl with plastic wrap & let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
- Line a 12-hole muffin pan with tulip muffin liners (it’s important to use the tall pointy liners as shown in the photographs). Link in post.
- Combine the apple & the brown sugar mixture until thoroughly mixed.
- Shape the dough into 12 balls of equal size on a lightly floured surface (I use a scale for this – weigh the dough & divide by 12. It’s usually 3 oz, approximately, per ball).
- Roll out a ball onto a lightly floured surface until 3 1/2 x 5 inch rectangle with a short side towards you. Spread about 2 heaping tablespoons of apple mixture over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the top. Roll up firmly from the short end closest to you to form a log. Cut each log into 5 equal pieces & place into a muffin liner in a haphazard way. Repeat with remaining dough balls & filling.
To make the walnut streusel topping:
- Combine flour, sugar, spice & salt in a medium bowl. Rub in butter until the consistency of wet sand; stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over the top of each bruffin. Let bruffins stand in a warm place, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until risen.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Cook bruffins for 25 to 30 minutes until golden & cooked when a skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand in pan 2 to 3 minutes before carefully removing to a wire rack.
To make the bourbon caramel glaze:
- Combine brown sugar, butter, cream & bourbon in a medium saucepan over medium heat: stir until butter is melted & sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil & boil for 2 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat & whisk in powered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until the glaze is smooth & the consistency of thick honey.
- Drizzle warm glaze over warm bruffins & let stand until the glaze is set. Bruffins are best served warm. Warm in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds (depends on the power of your microwave) until warm.
- Once cooled, you can wrap bruffins individually in plastic wrap & store in a resealable bag & freeze. Thaw at room temperature or 1 – 2 minutes in the microwave
- *If you don’t have an electric stand mixer, never fear – mix the dough by hand: Place the milk & yeast into a large bowl & stir with a fork, then follow along with the recipe kneading with your hands where the recipe indicates to use a stand mixer.
Looking for some other baking ideas? Then these Cranberry Shortbread Star Cookies are simple to make & festive. Walnut Chocolate Orange Biscotti makes a nice gift for the host. Even these Cranberry White Chocolate & Coconut Muffins join in the festivities.