La Pompe à l’huile is a Provençal olive oil brioche with a delicate taste of orange blossom served at Christmastime in Provence. This recipe makes it simple to create this taste of Provence at home.
- 500g of all purpose flour (3 cups and 2 tbsps)
- 12 g of active dry yeast (2 3/4 tsp)
- 150 g of sugar (2/3 of a cup)
- 2 pinches of table salt
- 8 tbsps of olive oil
- 3 tbsps of orange blossom water (this is a key ingredient that can be difficult to find in the US – you can order it off of Amazon using this link)
- zest of one large orange
- 3/4 cup of orange juice (If your orange does not make 3/4 cup of juice – add a little water or else simply use orange juice)
- 1 egg yolk to brush on the Pompe before baking
The only tricky part about La Pompe a l’huile is making the yeast ball – a technique I had never seen before but that was easier than I expected.
First, grate the orange skin and press the juice. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry yeast, 3 tbsps of warm water (not boiling but definitely warm so that the yeast wakes up!) as well as 2 tbsps of flour.
Mix together and make into a ball shape. This is your yeast ball! It should be tightly packed – roll it in your hand for a tight shape.
Fill another mixing bowl 3/4 of the way with warm water (I like to zap in the microwave for 1 minute to make sure it is nice and warm). Take the yeast ball and set it in the warm water. If it is not floating immediately, it will come up to the surface in a few minutes. (to save on dishes you can use the same bowl you used to create the yeast ball, honestly)
Let the yeast ball double in size in the warm water – this should take about 5 minutes. Careful not to let the yeast ball too long or it will dissipate into the water (speaking from experience!)
On a clean countertop (or large cutting board – I use this cutting board for mixing dough to help contain the mess) make a well with the flour (or a volcano, whichever term you prefer!)
In the center of the well add the sugar, the olive oil, the orange zest, the orange blossom water and the salt.
Add the orange juice little by little into the center.
Begin folding in the flour – using your hands bring the flour from the outside of the well into the center. Do this just a few times.
Using a slotted spoon, spoon out the yeast ball from the warm water. Place in the center of the flour.
Continue pulling in the dry flour into the center with your hands and until a rough ball is made.
Knead the dough into a ball. Continue to knead until the dough is evenly mixed. The dough should be firm but supple to touch.
(Le Chef’s Wife tip : If you have a kitchen aid – use the dough hook and do this entire process in the kitchen aid. I have the KitchenAid Artisan Mini which is sufficient for my baking. So much simpler and neater in my opinion).
Roll out the dough using a rolling pin into a large rectangle. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick.
Taking a sharp knife . Cut deep slices into the dough in a leaf style pattern.
Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over a cookie sheet.
Carefully transfer your dough from the counter top to the cookie sheet.
Set in safe place, without a draft and uncovered, and allow to rise for 5 hours.
Do not get discouraged if you don’t see much of a rise on your dough – La Pompe à l’huile is a flat bread! The rising time allows for a light, delicious structure to the dough.
Preheat the oven to 410 degrees fahrenheit.
Mix one egg yolk with 3 drops of orange blossom water and 2 teaspoons of water. Mix well.
Using a pastry brush, dab the egg yolk mixture all over the surface of the dough.
Place the cookie sheet with the dough on the middle rack of your oven.
Immediately bring the temperature of the oven back to 350 degrees and set the timer for 15 minutes.
Check the dough – it should be firm to the touch and a rich golden brown. If needed, allow for another couple minutes in the oven.
Remove and allow to cool slightly directly on the cookie sheet.
Enjoy while it is hot!
I recommend serving La Pompe à l’huile as part of Les Treize Desserts – The traditional 13 desserts of a Provençal Christmas. La Pompe à l’huile is also delicious dunked in Le Vin Chaud, Mulled wine, or served with coffee on Christmas morning.
Keywords: Pompe à l'huile, breads, brioche, french desserts, Christmas baking