THE ASCENT OF THE PASTRYARCHY
You awake to the melodic chime of the belfry ringing out through town square. The once-soft thudding rhythm of hoof to earth changes cadence to a sharp 'clip-clop-clip-clop' of cobblestone as your horse-drawn caravan enters the city gates. You pull back the canvas flap of the carriage and shield your eyes as they adjust to the resplendent light reflecting from the marble walls that tower toward the heavens.
Ciceronia; the last stronghold of the known world, a shining beacon of hope for all mankind in the Kingdom of Hazemourn. As you enter the grand marketplace your caravan lurches to a shuddering halt. You leap from the carriage and make your way towards a homely looking tavern marked with a tattered grey sigil above the door. After eighteen harrowing months of questing, you've finally arrived at "The Whale's Brother."
You strain to focus in the near darkness of the tavern; the humble surroundings are a stark contrast to the pristine walls of polished marble just outside. Warily, you approach the bar. Tomish the Barman, a long-bearded dwarf, grunts an introduction with a pour of grog as dark and brooding as the tavern itself.
You bring the tankard to your nose and take several short sniffs, as tradition dictates in this fair land. A rush of aromatic, exotic spices whips through your nostrils. With the first sip, an intoxicating mélange of cassia bark, vanilla, and spirited bourbon dances across your palate. As The Oracle foretold; this was indeed an elixir of incomparable magnitude.
With an ear-splitting crackle, a flash of white light blinds the room and a hooded figure appears in the dark tavern. Every hair on your spine stands as the ominous figure steps toward you, pulling back an emerald hood to reveal herself as Ilindsandra, Tamer of Eventbrite and infamous Troll Slayer.
“It isn’t safe here,” she warns you, forebodingly. “We must make haste and leave this pla-“ Ilindsandra is cut short as the tavern door crashes inward with a deafening SLAM! A roaring mob of heavily armored orcs pile into the tavern, brandishing bludgeons and bloody keyboards. To your left, Ilindsandra begins reading from the fabled Tome of Terms and Conditions, filling the room with the violet glow of ancient Eff Five magic.
Suddenly, the click of flintlock catches your ear. You whip to the right to see Tomish brandishing a heavily patinaed musket, snarling like an enraged Manbearpig -- the time has come to fight for you life: ROLL FOR INITIATIVE!
Try your hand at the Whale's Brother Tavern's
Toffee-Drizzled Cinnamon Pull-Apart bread
We're diving deep today, folks, so take an arcane knowledge test and prepare to enter the wizarding world of baking! Or, if the thought of making your own brioche makes you fail your will check, substitute a can of Pillsbury Grand Buttermilk Biscuits to spend less time in the kitchen and more time adventuring with your party!
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup warm whole milk
- 2 envelops of dry yeast
- 3 + 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp of kosher salt
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 + 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into room temperature tablespoon-sized pieces
PRO TIP: Save some time and prepare your dough a day in advance!
- In the bowl of your standing mixer add warm water, milk, and dry active yeast. Whisk to dissolve the yeast.
- Sift the flour and salt together, then add to the mixing bowl. Mix on low until the contents begin to combine.
- Keep the mixer on low and individually add eggs and sugar.
- Increase the mixing speed to medium and blend until a dough begins to form.
- Reduce speed slightly and begin adding butter; one tablespoon at a time until thoroughly combined.
- Increase speed to medium-high and mix until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour.
- After an hour of resting, your dough will have magically doubled in size!
- Lift the dough around the edges of the bowl, allowing it to deflate.
- Re-cover with plastic and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this step 3 more times.
- Re-cover the bowl in plastic and allow to chill, refrigerate overnight.
- 1 brioche recipe (above)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tb cinnamon
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 1 Bundt pan
Assembling the brioche
- Heat oven to 350°F and grease Bundt pan with unsalted butter.
- Cut brioche into 1x1 inch pillows.
- In a small saucepan, add unsalted butter, melt over medium heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add brown sugar and whisk to combine.
- Place granulated sugar and cinnamon into a bowl.
- In small batches, add the dough pieces to the bowl and coast them thoroughly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Arrange coated balls into the Bundt pan, evenly stacking them upon one another.
- Pour the melted butter and brown sugar mixture over the dough.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. A finished brioche should be golden brown and firm with a delicate spring when pressed.
- Remove from the oven and invert on a cooling rack. Allow the bread to cool in the inverted pan for approximately 10 minutes.
- 1 can Carnation brand condensed milk
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tb of brown sugar
- 6 Tb of unsalted butter
The final blow
- In a non-stick sauce pan over low heat, combine unsalted butter and brown sugar. Stir constantly.
- Once the sugar has dissolved into the melted butter, add the condensed milk. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Boil the mixture for approximately one minute until it forms a thick caramel toffee.
- Pour the toffee sauce over your finished pull-apart bread.
- #LEVELUP and garnish with candied pecans or toasted chopped walnuts!
My quest in creating this new food and beer pairing was to encourage group interaction -- specifically around a tabletop with my fellow Pathfinders! Cinnamon-sugar and butter create a praline-like caramel that is absolutely incredible when paired with pillowy brioche.
The toffee sauce adds another layer of gooey depth, and the rich, bourbon heat of Roll for Initiative provides a pleasant contrast to temper the sweetness. Even if your party wipes at the hands (or more appropriately; eye tentacles) of a Beholder, any brave adventurer is sure to have an epic time slaying this perfectly drizzled Toffee Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread alongside a flagon of Roll for Initiative.
Don't miss the public sale this Sunday at noon!