My guy wanted to sample a loaf of freshly baked bread I had made earlier in the week. I knew it wouldn’t survive with maximum freshness until Saturday, when I’d see him next, and I was trying to determine the best way to supply him with the baked goodness he craved. Toast with jam? Yawn! French toast? Been there, done that! Then, I remembered bostock.
Oh yes, bostock!
If French toast and a bear claw had a love child, bostock would be the result. This addictive breakfast confection is made by soaking a thick slice of enriched bread, like brioche, in flavorful syrup, slathering it with a generous layer of homemade almond cream paste and finishing it off with crunchy sliced almonds. The pastry is then baked until the almond topping is puffed, golden and crispy. It needs nothing more than a sprinkling of powdered sugar to finish it off. Fancy enough for a brunch gathering, this tasty treat first appeared in Europe as a way for bakers to use up day-old brioche bread but became such a beloved treat that bakers had to start baking more brioche just to keep up with the demand. I’ve seen some bakers sandwich a layer of jam between the syrup and almond paste to gild the lily, but I prefer the simplicity of the original.
It may seem like a lot of work for a busy weekend morning, but it’s actually simple to prepare. The syrup and almond cream paste can be made the day before. Then, in the morning, just slather the bread with the syrup and almond cream while the oven heats up, sprinkle with almonds, bake for about 20 minutes while you have your first cup of coffee (or some morning canoodling) and they’re ready. Breakfast is served!
Almond-Orange Bostock Pastry
The REAL French toast. Crispy almond cream paste topped pastries flavored with orange flower syrup.
- Orange Flower Syrup
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon orange flower water
- 1 teaspoon orange zest Almond Cream Paste
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup almond flour a.k.a. almond meal, toasted until fragrant
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 large egg
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract Bostock
- 6 slices brioche, challah or other enriched bread, sliced 1” thick
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Make Syrup: Heat water and sugar in a small saucepan until sugar has dissolved. Turn off heat and add orange flower water and zest. Set aside.
- Make Almond Cream Paste: In a medium bowl, stir butter, toasted almond flour, powdered sugar, and salt together until well combined. Add egg and extracts and blend well.
- Make Bostock: Preheat oven to 350⁰ F. Brush both sides of brioche slices well with orange flower syrup. Liberally spread tops of slices with 3-4 tablespoons of almond cream paste and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Place bostock on lined sheet pan and bake 18-22 minutes until tops are golden and almond cream is slightly puffy. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.