This classic Bostock Pastry is an incredibly easy, yet fancy and delicious recipe to make! Rich brioche or croissants soaked in a sweet citrusy syrup, and baked with frangipane and sliced almonds on top. An easy “French toast” that is perfect for a dinner party, and can be made for a crowd too.
Bostock is an underrated, super easy and delicious French pastry to make. Buttery brioche soaked in citrus and almond flavors, and baked to perfection!
Bostock is a pastry that is made with a rich vienoisserie pastry base. The popular options are either brioche or croissant. Both options work well since they are buttery and rich pastries. Another reason why I love bostock is because it’s a delicious way to use up stale brioche and croissants that are 1 – 2 days old. It’s such a great pastry to make with leftover brioche and croissants, and it’s likely pastry shops created this recipe as a way to utilize leftover vienoisseries.
Why I love this recipe
- A great way to utilize stale brioche bread, or even croissants.
- This recipe elevates the stale bread to a whole new flavorful pastry!
- So easy to make, and tastes just like from a French bakery!
- Easy to adapt with other flavors.
- Perfect to make for a crowd, for afternoon tea / coffee, or brunch.
- And fancy enough for a dinner party.
For my recipe here, I’m using thick slices of my own homemade brioche bread loaf. This homemade loaf is different from store-bought brioche because it’s much richer in flavor, and softer in texture. The high egg and butter content in the homemade version makes this loaf a classic French brioche, that is a cross between cake and bread.
Bostock is quite an underrated and relatively unheralded pastry, and I don’t know why! While French toast is a great way to use up stale bread, I feel like bostock does more justice to leftover brioche and croissants. It is also a fantastic way to use up any leftover bread in your house. But if you’re like me, you will be making brioche JUST to let it get a little stale, so you can make bostock pastry!
Ingredients needed to make bostock
- Brioche bread – make sure to use thick slices of brioche bread (about 1 – 1.5 inch).
- Croissants – sliced in half, length-wise.
For the syrup
- Cream – adds richness to the syrup
- Cognac or amaretto or rum
For the topping
- Almond flour
- Orange zest
- Cognac or amaretto or rum
- Sliced almonds
How to make bostock pastry
The first step is to prep the bread slices.
You cannot make bostock with thin slices of bread because the syrup will just make the bread too soggy. You want nice and thick slices of bread to make this pastry.
If you’re using brioche, I recommend slicing the brioche into slices that are at least 1 inch, or preferably 1.5 inches thick.
Croissants can also be used. But cut the croissants in half length-wise in half and make sure the croissant half is at least 1 inch thick.
If you use thin slices, the frangipane / almond paste will weigh down on the syrup soaked bread slice and squash it. The thicker the slice, the better it will hold up against the almond topping.
Also make sure the bread is at least a little stale. Stale and slightly dry brioche slices will absorb more of the delicious syrup.
Make the frangipane / almond paste
To make my almond topping extra delicious, I make brown butter with the portion of butter. This gives a better depth of flavor to the almond paste. But feel free to skip this optional step.
Once you’ve made brown butter, let it cool to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
First, cream the butter (or brown butter) and sugar together to form a smooth paste. It doesn’t have to be very fluffy, but make sure the paste is soft and spreadable.
Next, mix in the egg, vanilla, and other extracts and flavoring. The mixture should loosen up more with the addition of eggs.
Finally add the almond flour and AP flour and fold them in to form a batter-like paste. Cover and set aside until needed. You can even refrigerate this overnight if you want to make the almond paste ahead of time. However, you will need to let it come to room temperature so that it’ll be easily spreadable and pipeable.
Make the sugar syrup
Place all the ingredients (except for the cognac) for the sugar syrup in the pot. Bring the syrup to a simmer while stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Let it simmer for about 1 – 2 minutes after the sugar has dissolved, and then stir in the cognac.
You can leave out the alcohol if you prefer. The reason why I add the cognac at the end is so that the alcohol kick is more pronounced. But do keep in mind that this is just a little bit of alcohol, so do not expect this to be like a rum baba.
Assembling bostock pastries
Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C (conventional oven).
Line a baking tray with parchment paper (make sure it’s a good non-stick brand). Place the brioche slices on the lined baking tray.
Brush each of the bread slices GENEROUSLY with the sugar syrup. Flip the bread slices over and brush the syrup on the other side as well. Use up as much of the syrup as possible, so that the bread absorbs a generous amount of it.
Next, spread or pipe a thick layer of the almond paste on top, and finally sprinkle the almond slices on top. Gently press them in, so that they stick to the almond paste.
Bake the assembled bostock in the preheated oven for about 15 – 20 minutes. The pastries are done when the bottom of the bostock turns golden brown in color as well.
An optional step is to dust the tops of the almond slices generously with powdered sugar before baking. The sugar will dissolve and create a shiny, sweet coating on the sliced almonds.
Then remove the pastries from the oven and let them cool slightly. Dust more confectioner’s sugar on top and serve while warm OR at room temperature.
How to serve bostock
I do love cutting into this pastry while it’s still warm! But bostock is so good at room temperature too.
The bread is soaked in a citrusy, sweet sugar syrup with a subtle kick from the cognac (or any other brandy or rum). The almond paste on top is baked until just set, and is a great contrast to the bread on the bottom.
If you want to dress up this bostock pastry for a fancy dinner party, then you can serve this with,
- A scoop of ice cream or gelato
- A dollop of whipped cream
- Dollop of mascarpone cheese
- A berry coulis or jam on the side
- You could also drizzle some salted caramel sauce OR chocolate sauce on top, but I think that might be a little too rich and sweet.
Tips for perfecting the recipe, and substitutions
It’s important to use a rich bread as the base for this recipe. The buttery flavor from the bread adds to the final flavor profile of this pastry. That’s why I recommend brioche or croissants. Japanese milk bread could be used, particularly due to the soft luscious texture of the bread, but viennoiserie bread is better.
Yes, you can. If you have brandy extract or rum extract, you can add this instead of cognac. 1 – 2 tsp per batch of syrup should work. But you can leave that out as well, or add orange juice instead.
Another type of brandy,
Armagnac (another French brandy),
Whiskey, are all good options.
The classic version uses almonds. However, you can use a different nut instead as well.
Pistachios, hazelnut, and pecan all have a lovely flavor that would be great in bostock.
Yes, you can.
Preheat the oven to 275 F and place the sliced bread on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for about 20 – 40 minutes, flipping them once halfway through. The bread should dry out considerably, and you can then remove it from the oven when it’s at the appropriate “staleness”.
You can make parts of this pastry ahead of time – the syrup and almond topping. The syrup will last about 3 – 5 days, and the topping will last 2 days in the fridge.
However, you will need to assemble and bake the pastries on the day that you plan to serve, for best results. It can be served at room temperature, so you can make it early and let it sit until you’re ready to serve.
Alternatively, you can warm up the bostock pastry in the oven just before serving.
If you do make it ahead of time OR have leftovers – you can store it for the next day.
Place the leftover pastries in an airtight container and keep them at room temperature for up to 24 hours in a cool place. Or in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Please note, just like other pastries, bostock tastes best the same day it’s made. It’ll become stale the longer you keep it.
Bostock Pastry Recipe
For the pastry
- 6 slices brioche preferably 1 – 1.5 inches thick. About 4 – 4.5 inch squares.
- 115 g unsalted butter
- 100 g white sugar
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tbsp orange zest or 1 tsp orange extract
- 1 tbsp cognac
- 120 g almond flour (ground almonds)
- 25 g AP flour
- Sliced almonds for topping
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting on top
- 45 g heavy cream
- 135 g water
- 150 g white sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp orange zest or 2 tsp orange extract
- 2 tbsp cognac or any other type of brandy, amaretto, or rum
OPTIONAL – Making brown butter
- Place the butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat.115 g unsalted butter
- Stir to melt the butter, and then stir frequently until the milk solids start to separate.
- The separated milk solids will caramelize and start to turn a deep golden color. Remove this from the heat and transfer the butter into a different bowl to let it cool down to room temperature.
- Place the cooled brown butter (or softened regular butter) in a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt, and mix until the sugar and butter have creamed together to form a smooth paste.115 g unsalted butter, 100 g white sugar, ¼ tsp sea salt
- Add the egg, vanilla, orange zest, and cognac. Mix until well combined.1 large egg, 1 tsp vanilla, ½ tbsp orange zest, 1 tbsp cognac
- Add the almond flour and AP flour and fold them in to mix well. The almond topping is now ready to be used. Set aside until needed.120 g almond flour (ground almonds), 25 g AP flour
- Place all the ingredients (except the cognac) in a saucepan.45 g heavy cream, 135 g water, 150 g white sugar, Pinch of salt, 1 tbsp orange zest
- Heat over medium heat, while stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Bring the syrup to a simmer, and let it simmer for 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cognac. Set aside until needed. However, remember to warm it up slightly before brushing the bread slices with it since the warm syrup will soak into the bread better.2 tbsp cognac
- Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C (conventional oven).
- Line a half sheet baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the 6 slices of brioche bread on the baking tray – about 6 per half sheet baking sheet.6 slices brioche
- Generously brush the warm syrup on the slices of bread. Make sure to brush the syrup on both sides of the bread slices until a good amount of the syrup has soaked into the bread.
- Evenly spread or pipe the almond filling on top of the bread slices, making sure the layer is about ¾ cm thick.
- Sprinkle the almond slices on top and gently press them in so that they stick.Sliced almonds
- Generously dust the surface with confectioner’s sugar.Confectioner’s sugar
- Bake in the preheated oven (in the middle rack) for 15 – 20 minutes or until the bottom of the pastry turns a golden brown in color. If the topping is browning too fast, place a foil on top.
- Once the pastries have baked through, remove from the oven and let them cool slightly.
- Dust with additional confectioner’s sugar and serve the bostock pastry warm or at room temperature.Confectioner’s sugar
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