This is one of the great traditional appetizers of France
for the brioche dough
2 packages yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cured and cooked French garlic sausage (about 2 inches wide and 10 inches long)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1. Make the brioche dough: whisk the yeast into the lukewarm milk. Place 1 1/4 cups flour in a large mixing bowl and stir in the milk mixture. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is blended well. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, blending well. Then add the remaining flour, and blend well.
3. Add the yeast mixture and knead until smooth, about 15 minutes. (The dough should still be slightly sticky; if it's not, add a little more milk.)
4. Place dough in a lightly buttered bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it doubles, about 2 hours.
5. Punch the dough down and cover again. Keep refrigerated at least 2 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
7. When ready to use, roll out dough on an oiled baking sheet into a rectangle 2 inches longer than the sausage on each end and twice as wide. Cut the dough down the middle into 2 long halves. Center the sausage on one piece of the dough. Place the other piece of dough on top and squeeze the edges to seal. Make a design with the extra dough if desired. Let sit for 15 minutes. Brush the top of the dough with cream, and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cut into crosswise slices, approximately 3/4 inch thick, and serve immediately.
This is one of the great traditional appetizers of France. The diner is presented with what looks like a slice of bread with a red circle in the middle. The bread, of course, is brioche, and the red circle is French garlic sausage, or saucisson l'ail; the intensity of the sausage plays perfectly against the mildness and sweetness of the brioche. Now that wide sausages approximating the French garlic sausage are more widely available in the United States, there's no reason not to dazzle your guests with this great dish. Even if you can't find saucisson l'ail, a great Italian cotechino -- or even a wide kielbasa -- will yield a delicious dish. Serve with warm French potato salad (dressed with vinaigrette only) and a tangle of greens for a wonderful first course. Serves 12 as a first course