Article

Custard and raisin bread

Categories: Friday feeling

Sweet brioche braids interwoven with squidgy custard and studded with plump raisins

There’s something strangely satisfying about plaiting: hair, string, grass, your dad’s tie collection. It’s quite sensuously pleasing—and while the plaiting of the latter loses its appeal with age, or your dad’s rage/retirement, the plaiting of some things never does.

Specifically, the plaiting of dough. “It’s a nice feeling,” says Yulia at Karaway Bakery. “I help make it sometimes, and it’s very”—she mimes a smooth, graceful weaving movement. Made with sweet brioche, the resulting bun has its roots in the traditional brioche and cream cheese vatrushka from Russia. But while the thick plait seems indebted to the braids of a rosy-cheeked serf woman fresh out the 19th century, they contain a distinctly English twist.

Custard. Buttercup-yellow, sweet, squidgy custard, interwoven with the brioche braids and studded with black raisins. Where the brioche runs dense, it lifts it, enriching the dough still further with a warm, heady vanilla flavour and scent.

Devour greedily
“I like it on its own or toasted with jam and chocolate spread—something sweet,” smiles Yulia cheekily. We’ve no toaster in our office, so in the spirit of indulging still further we purchase a pat of butter from Neal’s Yard Dairy, smother it on a slice and devour it greedily.