Strawberry Brioche Buns – Brioche bread in topped with lemon custard and strawberries and sprinkled with pearl sugar before it’s baked to perfection.
Before the strawberries officially depart for the winter, you have to make these Strawberry Brioche Buns. Not only do they have delicious strawberries on top, but they also have a creamy lemon custard underneath them to make these buns the perfect little treat.
These buns are made with a brioche dough that is buttery and super soft. They get sprinkled with pearl sugar on the outside to give them a little crunch and sweetness. These buns are the perfect mix of various flavors and textures. Good luck eating just one!
Here are my Strawberry Brioche Buns!
Making the brioche
The recipe for these buns, while it has a few steps, is not complicated at all. You’ll start by making a brioche dough. It’s just like making any other bread dough, except it has A LOT of butter. The butter gets mixed in slowly, about 1 tablespoon at a time. This ensure it all gets absorbed evenly and doesn’t leave the dough greasy.
After the dough is done, it’s left to rise for a couple hours. Because of the extra butter in the dough, it takes a little longer to rise. Once it’s about double in size, it get’s portioned into 12 even pieces and rolled into balls. These balls are left to rise for about 45 minutes until slightly puffed.
While the bread rises, the lemon custard is made. It is just a simple pastry cream made from sugar, flour, egg yolks, and lemon zest. The lemon zest packs all the lemon flavor without making the custard too tart. But the key to keeping the custard smooth is making sure to sieve the custard once it’s thick to remove the zest pieces.
Once the custard thickens up, it’s removed from heat and chilled to help it thicken up a little more.
Lastly, the strawberries are washed, hulled, and sliced to get them ready for placing on top of the buns. They are also tossed in a little lemon juice and sugar to brighten their flavor up a bit.
Assembling the buns
After the buns have puffed up, a well is formed in the center of each once to make room for the filling. First, a tablespoon of lemon custard is place in the center and spread evenly over the well in the center of the dough. Then, the custard is topped with 5-6 sliced strawberries, making sure to drain any excess juice from the berries.
Finally, before placing the buns in the oven, they are brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with pearl sugar. You can easily find pearl sugar on Amazon. The kind I bought was a little big so I smashed the pearls a little to make them a bit smaller.
The buns get baked in the oven until golden on the outside, about 18 minutes.
Tips & Tricks
- Knead the dough. Do not skimp on the kneading of the dough. This process is so important for developing the fluffy texture of the dough. If you don’t knead enough, you risk the dough being stiff and flat.
- Weigh the dough. To ensure the balls are all the same size, you can use a scale to weigh them out. Simply weigh the dough before cutting it and then divide by 12 to determine how much each ball should weigh.
- Thermometer for the custard. The custard is a very small amount that could easily burn or curdle if you don’t monitor the temperature closely. Therefore, it’s best to have a thermometer to check it as the custard thickens.
- Slice the strawberries thin. In order for the strawberries to fit nicely on top of the buns, they should be sliced thin.
Strawberry Brioche Buns
- ½ cup pearl sugar for sprinkling
- 1 large egg
For the dough:
- ⅓ cup scalded milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 package instant yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons butter unsalted
For the lemon custard:
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 2 teaspoons packed lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the strawberries:
- 10 ounces fresh strawberries
- 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- First we will begin making the dough. Heat up milk in a small sauce pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and add sugar and salt and stir. Let it cool down to lukewarm to the touch. Once milk is cool, add to a bowl of a stand mixer, along with the flour, sugar, melted butter, egg, egg yolks, and yeast. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and mix on low until dough forms. Increase speed to medium and knead dough until it's smooth and no longer sticks to the sides, about 10 minutes. If the dough is sticking for a while, add more dough until it only sticks to the bottom.
- Reduce speed to medium low. Add butter to the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time until all the butter is absorbed. Do not add the next tablespoon until you don't see the previous tablespoon anymore. Once all the butter has been added, increase the speed and knead for 6 more minutes. Once you finish kneading, shape into a ball. Lightly grease another large bowl and place the ball of dough into bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 1.5 hours.
- Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper. Once dough has risen, punch it down with your fist and remove from the bowl. Lightly dust your counter with flour and place the dough on top. Form into a disk. Cut dough into 4 even slices. Cut each slice into 3 even pieces. You should have 12 even pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure to space the balls a couple inches apart and only 6 balls per baking sheet. Cover each baking sheet with a damp rag and let them rise until fluffy, about 45 minutes.
Make the lemon custard:
- While the dough is rising, prepare the custard. Heat milk in a saucepan set over medium heat until steaming. In the meantime, whisk eggs, sugar, lemon zest, flour, corn starch, and salt in a medium bowl. It will be hard at first but eventually the mixture will turn smooth and light yellow.
- Slowly whisk hot milk into the yolk mixture. Add back to the sauce pan used to warm the milk. Whisk the mixture as it heats over medium heat. Do this until the mixture thickens and reaches 170 degrees, about 3 minutes. Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve to remove lumps and lemon zest. Whisk butter into strained custard. Cover and refrigerate to help the mixture thicken.
Make the strawberries:
- Prepare the strawberries. Hull and slicee the strawberries lengthwise. Add to a medium bowl with lemon juice and sugar. Stir and cover.
Make the buns:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure both oven racks are placed in the center of the oven. Once the balls have puffed up, remove the rag that covers them. Grab a 1/3-cup measuring cup and dip into flour. Then use it to smash the center of each ball of dough to create a well in the center. Redip the cup in flour if it starts to stick to the dough. Fill each well with about 1 tablespoons of lemon custard and about 5 or 6 strawberry slices.
- Brush the exposed edges of the buns with egg wash. To make the egg wash, whisk egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Sprinkle with pearl sugar.
- Bake both sheets of buns in preheated oven until they are golden brown on the edges, about 18-20 minutes. Make sure to switch and rotate baking sheets halfway to ensure even baking.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve immediately or within 24 hours.