I never used to be interested in anything red bean, growing up. Which is funny, given that it was one of the first Asian desserts I’ve made on this blog. Maybe like the Eastern equivalent of vanilla ice cream, it struck me as boring, and (knowing me and my tendency towards decadence) I always liked to opt for the sweeter, creamier yellow custard steamed buns, or the lotus paste mooncakes, leaving their red bean sisters to my parents. But recently good old red beans have experienced a little resurgence for me — as richer foods tend to overwhelm me more easily these days, red bean paste and sweets have truly grown on me as a comforting, home-like sweet that is flavorful but not cloying.
Which was why I decided a few weeks ago to stick it in a very new love of mine — glorious, glorious brioche. (Did I just say that rich foods tend to overwhelm me? Did I? Hmm.) Brioche has been on my to-make list for months, but I’ve been scared off by the idea of hand-kneading it, with its illogical 40% fat content, a stick of butter masquerading as a dough. And then the genius godsends that are Sarah Kieffer and Artisan Bread in 5 came into my life, and … the rest is history. The result is a slow-rise, no-knead (!) brioche that is just as decadent and delicious as its traditionally hand-kneaded counterpart — still fluffy, soft, and sweet, but with only half the butter and little to none of the fuss. I’m obsessed.