La chinoise, the mythical brioche from the East



Chinois, it’s Chinese people, it’s over-complicated language, that’s it, just this cake.


Te recipe is secret… Even myself, I don’t know what I put in it.

another chinois
Yes, that changes each time.




Alibaba said : open sesame…

That’s a cousin of the baba au rhum (Rum baba), famous in my place of origine.
That was a way to recycle dried sesame potica :

The cake was soaked in a light syrup of awamori (sweet rice sake) and kurozato (Okinawa black sugar).

It’s the custom to serve the baba au rhum with cream (whipped or custard ) and with fruit salad.
Here grapes and whipped silky tofu.

Served very fresh, that was good like a sin !

Another way to recycle brioche/chinois/potica…

Pain Perdu Marie-Antoinette

Potica has the blues

It’s a black sesame variation of the povitica. I had eaten blue poppy seed potica (same as povitica under other skies it seems), but we can buy the pop’s only at the homeopathic counter here… No kidding, you only find the mini-bag to decorate 1 small loaf. To fill a potica, I’d need the whole stock of several stores. But black sesame, I get bags of 10 kg if I want and here is very cheap.
I used a small kougloff mold to make it pretty… see that below. LOL.

What happened is sesame and walnuts are 2 different beasts. The sesame mix was super-dry. The walnut one, super-runny. Before rolling I tweaked both adding more egg mix to sesame, and some starch to walnut. That worked for the walnut only.

classic walnut povitica

Just baked.

Scary !!!

I had to trim the base.

Ribbon magic. It’s nearly not ugly…

Different patterns. It looks pretty.
Unfortunately, I found it a bit too dry. Next time, I’ll do like a frangipane (custard cream + almond, I’ll do custard cream + sesame).

Or I’ll turn the sesame into “neri goma” (tahini).

Like for these :
mutant croissants

Or like these :
Venitian stair-snail breads

l.o recycling

Walnut povitica

A little trip to Slovenia with this month’s Daring Baker Challenge.

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

So it’s a series of 3 posts, including this one with the classic walnut version.

sesame potica (on line soon)

ali baba (on line soon)

So here is the making of :

Rolling it.



Crack crack… paint it with coffee. Ribbon up…

Now it looks nice, no ?

The inside could be finer, more like lace… Well, next time !
I’m glad as that’s a progress since my bi-color chinois in one color…
chinois (French povitica)


(NB: English walnuts… are walnuts !)

Povitica (makes 4 loaves)


To activate the Yeast:
2 Teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) Sugar
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
½ Cup (120ml) Warm Water
2 Tablespoons (30ml/14 gm/½ oz/2 sachets) Dry Yeast

2 Cups (480ml) Whole Milk
¾ Cup (180 ml/170gm/6 oz) Sugar
3 Teaspoons (15 ml/18 gm/2/3 oz) Table Salt
4 Large Eggs
½ Cup (120ml/115 gm/one stick/4 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
8 cups (1.92 l/1.12 kg/39½ oz/2½ lb) All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

Walnut Filling:
7 Cups (1.68 l/1.12 kg/2.5 lbs) Ground English Walnuts
1 Cup (240ml) Whole Milk
1 Cup (240ml/225 gm/2 sticks/8 oz) Unsalted Butter
2 Whole Eggs, Beaten
1 Teaspoon (5ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Cups (480ml/450 gm/16 oz) Sugar
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/4 gm) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) Cinnamon

½ Cup (120 ml) Cold STRONG Coffee
2 Tablespoons (30 ml/28 gm/1 oz) Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter


To Activate Yeast:
1. In a small bowl, stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, and the yeast into ½ cup warm water and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes

To Make the Dough:
3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C.
4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup (180 gm/170 gm/6 oz) sugar, and the salt until combined.
5. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz) of flour.

6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.

7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. Note: I did not use all 8 cups of flour

8. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (they will each weight about 1.25 pounds/565 grams)
9. Place dough in 4 lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.

To Make the Filling
10. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
11. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
12. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.
13. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
14. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
15. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.

To Roll and Assemble the Dough:
16. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.
17. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)
18. Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches (25½ cm by 30½ cm) in diameter.

19. Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons (5ml to 7 ½ ml/4 gm to 7 gm) of melted butter on top.
20. Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough out from the center until the dough is thin and uniformly opaque. You can also use your rolling pin, if you prefer.
21. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it out, but also to make sure that it isn’t sticking.
22. When you think it the dough is thin enough, try to get it a little thinner. It should be so thin that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath.

23. Spoon filling (see below for recipe) evenly over dough until covered.

24. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll.

25. Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced.

26. Repeat with remaining three loaves, coiling each rope of dough in its own loaf pan.
27. Brush the top of each loaf with a mixture of ½ cup (120 ml) of cold STRONG coffee and 2 tablespoons (30ml/28 gm/1 oz) of sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this.

28. Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
29. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
30. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
31. Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.
32. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
33. Check the bread at 30 minutes to ensure that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil if you need to.
34. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes, still in the bread pan. Remember, the bread weighs about 2.5 and it needs to be able to hold its own weight, which is difficult when still warm and fresh out of the oven. Allowing it to cool in the pan helps the loaf to hold its shape.
35. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife

Chinois lost in translation and in photo rendition

This sweet bread, this brioche is a chinois in my old country. Chinois means Chinese, and also complicated -like Chinese languages. That’s why… No, no. Here is the real story :
Once upon a time, it was called Schneckenkuchen, snail-cake. A German name because all those surdough cakes come from Wien Austria, via Germany. Back then everybody could speak German, or they pretended, or they would just shut it up.
But some Parisians came, ate the cake and like it. He asked :
“-C’est quoi ?
-Un Schneckenkuchen, Monsieur.
-Un quoi ?
-Un Schneck… OK, un chinois.”
So the name was changed into chinois.
And inside, the stuffing of custard cream and rum raisin was changed into better versions, one for each baker.

I hoped it would be more photogenic.
You can see it is rolled and stuff ? Yes, my sweet bread is white.
A “light version”.It is sourdough based, with flour, eggs, rice bran, a little sugar and butter. I let it raise overnight in the fridge.

And the stuffing white, like this… white on white, I know.

The stuffing is made of :

Dry fruit mix, that I cut finely (too fine for you to see. And diced almonds, honey, brandy, tea, melted butter. All together, one night. That becomes a sweet paste.

I rolled it as a cylinder, then as a big snail. Kurozato (black sugar), almonds, butter on top.