Salmon in a Brioche Crust

Preparation time: 45 min, plus 1 hr 30 min rising, 20 min chilling and 20 min proving, Cooking time: 55 min, Cals per serving: 580


serves: 8
450 g (1 lb) sliced smoked salmon, chilled
1 large egg white
3 tbsp double cream
1 lemon, rind finely grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
800g (1 lb 12 oz) skinless salmon fillet, cut from the middle
225 g (8 oz) spinach, trimmed, blanched and dried
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tsp pink peppercorns

for the brioche dough

375g (13 oz) strong white bread flour, sifted plus extra to dust
2 tsp easy-blend yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, beaten
100 g (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
oil for greasing

to garnish

lemon wedges
fresh chives
crushed pink peppercorns


1. To make the brioche dough, place the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast, sugar and salt and mix. Make a well in the centre and mix in the eggs, butter and 100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) cold water to make a pliable dough.

2. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. (A soft dough will give a light texture; try not to add any extra flour when kneading.) Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover with greased clingfilm. Allow to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume.

3. Meanwhile, make the filling: put 125 g (4 oz) of the salmon in a food processor and whiz for 10 seconds until smooth. Using the pulse button, add the egg white slowly.Transfer to a small bowl and beat in the cream gradually, then add the lemon rind, juice and chives. Season with pepper (don't add salt as smoked salmon is salty). Cover and chill for 10 minutes.

4. Halve the salmon fillet horizontally. Spread the bottom half with smoked salmon mixture and place the other half fillet on top. Place a sheet of clingfilm, three times the width of the fillet, on a clean surface,. Cover two-thirds of the clingfilm with the remaining smoked salmon, season with pepper, then cover with spinach leaves. Place the stuffed fillet at the other end of the clingfilm; season. Using the clingfilm, completely wrap the fillet in the spinach and smoked salmon. Chill for 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan oven/Gas Mark 6. Place a large baking sheet in the oven to heat. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the brioche dough to a rectangle measuring about 33 cm (13 in) by 40cm (16 in) or large enough to wrap around the salmon easily. Place the salmon in the centre and lightly brush the edges of the dough with a little of the egg yolk, mixed with 1 tablespoon of water. Fold the brioche around the fish, sealing the edges, then trim off any excess pastry. Invert the salmon to a floured baking sheet, seam-side down.

6. Brush the surface with a little more egg wash and decorate with the brioche trimmings. Brush again with the egg wash and score the surface lightly with the back of a knife. Dot with peppercorns and leave to prove in a warm place for 20 minutes or until it feels spongy. Place the baking sheet on to the hot baking sheet in the oven and cook for 50 to 55 minutes until deep golden brown. Serve hot garnished with lemon, chives and peppercorns. If serving cold, carefully transfer to a cooling rack.

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