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Buttery Chocolate and Sour Cherry Brioche Buns + Giveaway

by Kristina Gill

When I started my love affair with cooking, it was actually on the baking side, both sweet and savory. In addition to iconic cookbooks by Carol Field, Flo Braker, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and Dorie Greenspan, I waited every Wednesday for the Washington Post food section and I baked almost daily. In one of those sections was an article by Lisa Yockelson called “.” I conquered my fear of baking with active dry yeast with this recipe (they are indeed perfect sticky buns), and ever since I now dive headfirst into any recipes which call for it — like these buttery Chocolate and Sour Cherry Brioche Buns from debut cookbook, , by food writer and cake creator Julia Busuttil Nishimura. These heavenly buns are perfect for brunch (start the night before) when you want to impress (or just splurge!). Feel free to use the brioche dough as a blank canvas for your dreamiest combinations of fruits and nuts, but we think dark chocolate and sour cherries are almost as good as it gets! You can find Julia’s recipes for a Roasted Peach Tart and Pumpkin Tortelli in our Food and Drinks archives. —

To win a copy of Julia’s new cookbook, leave an answer in the comment section below. The question is: “What is your favorite brunch food or memory and why?”

About Julia: Julia Busuttil Nishimura is a Melbourne-based Italian teacher and food writer, and the creator of — an online space where she shares her recipes, images and stories. Julia is a regular contributor to Australian and international publications such as The Design Files, Design*Droits-Humains, Assemble Papers and Yen, teaches sell-out cake workshops and is regularly commissioned to create spectacular cakes. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Nori and son Haruki. Find Julia on Instagram at .

{Photography by }

Ostro cookbook by Julia Busuttil Nishimura


Chocolate and Sour Cherry Brioche Buns


Julia glazing brioche buns


Julia with husband Nori and son Haruki

Chocolate and Sour Cherry Brioche Buns

These buns are decadent – buttery brioche filled with dark chocolate, sour cherries and walnuts. They are rather simple to make, especially if you have an electric mixer. I have made them by hand on some occasions and it wasn’t too difficult, just a bit of a workout! You can omit the cherries if you can’t find them, and feel free to replace the walnuts with almonds, pistachios or even hazelnuts. The overnight proofing helps to make this soft and buttery dough workable. Similarly, don’t try to make these on a hot day, as the dough will be far too soft to handle in the heat. These buns are best eaten on the day of baking, but they can be toasted and eaten the following day.


  • 350 g (2 1/3 cups) plain flour, sifted, extra for dusting (1 cup = 150g)
  • 7 g active dry yeast (1 envelope)
  • 70 g ( 1/3 cup) sugar
  • 100 ml (1/3 cup one tablespoon) whole milk, 1 tablespoon extra for brushing
  • 4 eggs

  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 150 g (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 50 g (1/2 cup chopped) walnuts
  • 100 g (3.5 ounces) dark chocolate (70% cocoa), finely chopped
  • 1 3/4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 40 g (1/3 cup) dried sour cherries, roughly chopped



Place the flour, yeast and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Gently warm the milk in a saucepan over a low heat until tepid, about 30°C (85°F). Turn the mixer on to medium speed and pour the milk into the dry ingredients, along with three of the eggs and the orange zest. Mix for 3–4 minutes until combined into a sticky yet elastic dough. With the motor still running, add
 the butter, a tablespoon at a time, ensuring it is incorporated before adding more. Once all the butter has been added, mix for another 2–3 minutes until the dough is elastic. Transfer to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with butter and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Knock back the dough, cover again and place in the fridge to prove for at least 6 hours or overnight.


Meanwhile, to make the filling, lightly toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan over a low–medium heat for 1–2 minutes or until just colored. Allow to cool, then chop them finely and combine with the remaining ingredients. Set aside.


Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.


Tip the dough onto a lightly floured bench and, using your hands or 
a rolling pin, push or roll the dough out to a rectangle about 40 cm
 × 20 cm (16 in x 8 in), flouring the dough as you need. Scatter the filling evenly over the rectangle of dough, then fold the short edges in so they meet in the middle, so it looks like an open book. Then fold the dough in half along where the edges meet (like closing a book). You will now have a long, flat shape. You can cut the buns like this, or roll gently, from the longer edge, into a log shape. Trim the rough ends, then cut the log into eight pieces about 6 cm wide. Arrange on the prepared tray with 4 cm (1.5 in) of space between each bun to allow them to expand. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes for a final proof. Lightly whisk the remaining egg with the extra tablespoon of milk and brush over the top of the buns. Bake for 18–20 minutes until golden and risen. Allow to cool slightly on the tray before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve warm, or at room temperature on the day of baking.

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