Brioche Chinois aux pépites de chocolat

Brioche Chinois aux pépites de chocolat – Why not celebrate Easter with this decadently buttery brioche filled with chocolate chips and custard ?

Although this recipe is perfect for sharing with family and friends, it does come with a warning – Chinois is terribly addictive !

Whilst I love making Hot Cross Buns (The Kitchen Shed oven has been working overtime baking them for friends and neighbours) not everyone in our family is keen on dried fruit so I’ve produced the Brioche Chinois as an alternative. I did the same at Christmas with my Black Forest Chocolate Pudding as a change from traditional Christmas Pudding.

Brioche Chinois translates as Chinese Brioche although it isn’t Chinese at all. Online research suggests a number of possibilities for the term but I’ve yet to find a definitve answer – no one seems to know the actual origins and I couldn’t find an answer on French food blogs either. We first came across this delicious buttery treat on a family camping trip to the Vendée. Our boys often chose a Brioche Chinois to take back to camp and share with friends.

The brioche dough can be prepared ahead and kept in the fridge for up to three days.
Please don’t be put off by suggestions that brioche dough is difficult to make – mixing and kneading can be a bit messy (which is why I prefer to use my KitchenAid mixer) but hand mixed and kneaded works fine. Once your dough has been in the fridge, the next bit is easy as you shape whilst cold and wait for the dough to rise. I used a 23cm (9 inch) tin and I couldn’t quite fit eight Chinois swirls in, so I baked one Chinois swirl in a ramekin. A 25 cm (10 inch) tin would be better or you can always do what I did and use a ramekin to get a cute looking single Brioche Chinois.



5.0 from 5 reviews
Brioche Chinois aux pépites de chocolat
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Baking
Cuisine: French
Serves: 1 Brioche Chinois
  • 4 eggs - beaten
  • 75 ml (⅓ cup) warm milk
  • 450 g (3 ¼ cups) strong white bread flour
  • 12.5 g (2 tablespoons) dried yeast - I used Doves Farm
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 225 g (1 cup) softened butter cut into small cubes
  • 350 ml (1 ⅓ cups) cold, thick custard (you can buy ready made if you like)
  • 100 g (4 oz) dark chocolate chips
  • Egg wash
  • Optional: Perle sugar to decorate
  1. Whisk together the beaten eggs and milk.

By hand:
  1. Place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and egg mixture.
  2. Mix until it comes together and then knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth.
  3. Add the butter a cube or so at a time, kneading and scraping the dough until all the butter is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic. Don't worry, the dough will be quite sticky.

By KitchenAid:
  1. Place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar into the bowl of your mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. On a slow speed slowly pour the egg and milk mixture in a steady stream until incorporated into a soft wet dough.
  3. With the machine still running, add the butter cube by cube, until all the butter is incorporated.
  4. Continue needing for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Don't worry, the dough will be quite sticky.
  5. Place the dough into a greased bowl and spray with cooking spray. Cover and keep in the fridge overnight (will keep for up to 3 days) DON'T miss out this step or your dough will be too soft to work with.

Shape the Brioche Chinois:
  1. Remove from the fridge and tip the dough onto a well floured surface.
  2. Roll out while it is still cold into a large rectangle roughly 25 cm x 35 cm. Spread with the cold custard leaving a 5 cm border on a long edge and sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips.
  3. Roll up as tightly as you can. Start with the long side where the custard has been spread to the edge - it's a bit of a messy job but don't worry if some of the custard escapes.
  4. Cut into 8 equal pieces.
  5. Grease and line a 25 cm (10 inch) loose bottomed cake tin.
  6. Place the first piece in the centre of your greased cake tin. Place the other pieces evenly around the centre brioche swirl.
  7. Cover with a large upturned bowl or place in a large greased bag, making sure there is plenty of room for the brioche to rise, and then seal.
  8. Leave to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  9. Preheat your oven to 350°F / 180°C / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 25 cm (10 inch) loose bottomed cake tin.
  10. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar if using.
  11. Bake in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until the centre feels firm to the touch, cover with foil if the top is getting too brown.
  12. Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes before removing.
You can serve the Chinois whilst it is still warm or serve at room temperature.
If you do happen to have any left, it does freeze well.


Pin Brioche Chinois for later:

Brioche Chinois aux pépites de chocolat - a decadently buttery brioche filled with chocolate chips and creme patissiere. A perfect alternative Easter bake!Brioche Chinois aux pépites de chocolat - a decadently buttery brioche filled with chocolate chips and creme patissiere.


I’m also entering into a few linkys this year:

I’m entering Brioche Chinois into:
  • Dom’s new blog challenge, Eggcellent over at Belleau Kitchen. I used 8 eggs in total (I made the custard with four egg yolks) and they are definitely free range and local to us as I see the chickens happily roaming around in our neighbour’s garden.
  • Lavender & Lovage’s Tea Time Treats (co-hosted by Karen at  Lavender & Lovage and Janie at Hedgecombers) this month over at Lavender & Lovage.

And linking to:


44 thoughts on “Brioche Chinois aux pépites de chocolat”

  • Chocolate chips and custard in a brioche bread? Holy moses you are speaking my love language. Looks fantastic!

  • So many of my favorite things rolled into one! Anyone would be lucky to wake up to that on Easter. I’d trade all my jelly beans for a bite!

  • Ooooh! I’ve actually never heard of this before but I am a huge fan of making brioche. As a matter of fact I made some brioche donuts today (with my kitchenaid of course). I’m really not sure why people are so intimidated by it because I find it pretty easy to make. I’m definitely going to need to give these beauties a try because they are so pretty.

  • I spent over 20 years in France and go back regularly, I have never heard of brioche Chinois. Don’t want to be pedantic but brioche’s article is une therefore it should be chinoise. Nationalities are not capitalised in French. The only thing I can think of is : a pointy sieve is called un chinois so may be something to do with the shape.

    • Hi Pebble Soup, thanks for dropping by. When we lived and worked full-time in France (for the most part in Brittany so perhaps it’s a regional thing ?) Chinois was available in Super U and some local boulangeries. Since originally writing my post it seems Chinois is now turning up in UK supermarkets as well. As for the grammar irregularities and etymology question, I think the mists of time come into play as it seems no one knows definitively why and when the word “Chinois” came to be used in this way.

  • This looks so delicious!!! unfortunately I can’t pronounce it :p but that doesn’t stop me from tasting (i hope :p) Thanks so much for linking up to #YumTum this week x

    • Thanks Charlotte, I think the French would frown at my try at pronouncing it, lol. A pleasure to link up with #YumTum x

  • This would be gorgeous for Easter! I haven’t made my own brioche – top tip to leave it in the fridge first! Those kind of tips make all the difference. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #bloggerclubuk x

  • This really sounds amazing Sarah, I love the idea of a thick custard in it. M E & I love enriched doughs – they’re so lovely and silky to work with too. This said I’ve never made a brioche, I’d make it by hand because although our stand mixer comes with a dough hook I’m not convinced it kneads very well. #YumTum
    Angela x

  • I’ve never heard of this before, it sounds wonderful with that custard filling. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!!

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  • Oh wow my boy loves brioche buns, I did not realise you could make them at home. This one looks delicious, I may have a go when I’m feeling brave! #MMWBH
    Sabrina x

  • What a lovely Easter treat – brioche is one of the things on my list to make this year and this one looks stunning 🙂

    • Thanks Vicki & always a pleasure to link up with #tastytuesdays
      Thanks for pinning too, look forward to popping over to your Easter baking Board x

    • Thanks Alison, hope you get time to make my Brioche Chinois & your hubby enjoys it as much as we do. Let me know how you get on 🙂

  • Mmm this looks absolutely divine- custard and choc chips too, what’s not to love?! Interesting to know that you can make the dough in a Kitchen Aid, makes me feel more confident that I could give it a go #tastytuesdays

    • Thanks Becky, hope you do have a go at making Brioche Chinois, the KitchenAid does make the job easier. Let me know how you get on 🙂

    • Thanks Becky, the KitchenAid definitely makes easy work of the brioche dough. Hope you do have a go at making the Brioche chinois, let me know how you get on 🙂

  • Yum, it looks gorgeous! I just read a few places which suggest it is from the expression “pour moi, c’est du chinois” as it was called Schneckenkuchen from Germany and they couldn’t pronounce it! Not entirely sure how true that might be… 😉

    • Thanks Lucy. I wasn’t sure either, it does make sense though, Chinois does look like German Snail Cake & it is much easier to pronounce 🙂

  • oh how beautiful is that bread cake… I adore breads like this, they are so rich and comforting and so delicate too. A real art form that you’ve clearly mastered. Love your blog and thank you so much for entering Simply Eggcellent xx

    • Thanks for such a lovely compliment Dom, it’s very much appreciated. Baking has always been close to my heart since making bread with my Dad.xx

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