In December, I ran into my friend Nordea McCoy of Nordea Soaperie on a day where she wasn’t selling in a market. She was just a civilian shopper like me. She was carrying a plastic container, and she was hellbent on filling it up with something called “bruffins.” She told me that they were amazing, and she couldn’t believe I didn’t already know all about them.
Well, you don’t have to tell me twice about something worth eating. And, of course, Nordea could not have been more right.
The Bruffin is a buttery, flaky brioche dough that is rolled around a variety of international ingredients. It is baked in beautiful parchment papers and adorned with the flag of the nation that inspired it. Smorgasburg is the only place in New York to get your hands on a Bruffin.
That day I brought home this collection of Bruffins:
British Bruffin: Bacon and Cheddar
French Bruffin: Lardons (bacon), Brie, Herbs de Provence and Gruyère
Greek Bruffin: Spiced Beef, Spinach and Feta
Italian Bruffin: Pepperoni, Pesto and Parmesan
Spanish Bruffin: Chorizo and Manchego
Speciality Bruffin: Chocolate, Salt Caramel and Caramelized Bacon
Specialty Sweet Bruffin: Chocolate, Salt Caramel and Caramelize Bacon. Yes, you read that right.
I resisted the urge to eat them all immediately, as we were visiting my sister-in-law and her family in Connecticut the next day. The second we arrived at her house, we popped all the Bruffins in the oven. When they were warm, we discussed each one as we munched. While we had our own preferences (I was partial to the Greek and the Italian), we agreed that they were all scrumptious. By the time we got to the chocolate bacon bruffin that we had saved for dessert, we were covered in butter and brioche flakes. We had each eaten the equivalent of 1.5 Bruffins, and we were stuffed.
Then name “Bruffin” originates in the combination of “Breakfast” + “Muffin.” According to Bruffin Architect (my term) Medy Youcef, the original idea was to “create a handheld, full meal that would satisfy your appetite in the morning and provide real nourishment.” It had to be practical, quick to eat and, above all, very tasty. Mission accomplished!
Medy is originally from France, and he came to New York to study multi-media and cooking. He has a degree in furniture design. His connection with baking is through his family, who own bakeries in France and Algiers.
Bruffins aren’t just for breakfast. In fact, the actual Breakfast Bruffin, made with egg, cheese, sweet sausage, buttermilk pancake and maple syrup, was only introduced two weeks ago.
Medy and his business partner Michael Begley have created a core collection of Bruffins that are available every weekend at Smorgasburg, which are those listed above by nationality plus the American Bruffin, which has Buffalo chicken and blue cheese. They have a rotating list of additional flavors that come and go every two weeks. Two weeks ago, for example, they made Japanese Bruffins, with chicken teriyaki and scallions. Taking its place this weekend is the new Moroccan Bruffin, made with merguez lamb sausage and Moroccan ratatouille. Next in the rotation will be the Thai Bruffin, which features peanut chicken. They also make the German Bruffin with beef frank, sauerkraut and mustard. And there’s a Korean Bruffin in the works featuring kimchi. They have not actually created eighty flavors yet, per the headline above, but I’m sure it won’t be long.
There are sweet Bruffins too, like the aforementioned chocolate, salt caramel and caramelized bacon one. They also make a blueberry pancake cheesecake Bruffin. Seasonal flavors have included creamy pumpkin and pecan, apple walnut crumb, and apple cinnamon marzipan. I can’t wait to see what they create with the bounty of summer produce.
The Bruffin Bowl: French Onion Soup with a French Bruffin Floating on Top of Melted Gruyére Cheese (Photo courtesy of The Bruffin)
And then there’s the Bruffin Bowl. Given the ridiculous winter temperatures these days, who doesn’t want melting gruyère cheese and a French Bruffin floating in a bowl of steamy, hot French onion soup? Or a sliced Spanish Bruffin in tortilla soup sprinkled with manchego cheese? The Bruffin Bowls have been very popular, and customers have been asking to mix and match the Bruffins with the soups, like the Italian Bruffin in the tortilla soup.
Of course I had to ask the Cronut©/Bruffin question. Beyond their cute compound names, the Bruffin isn’t necessarily the new Cronut. Medy’s says that cronuts are a dessert or a pastry, while Bruffins are an actual meal in a muffin. The thought behind the Bruffin includes not only compelling flavors, but also nutritional value. A Bruffin is certainly the perfect snack for browsing and shopping at the Brooklyn Flea, which is sharing the warehouse space in Williamsburg with Smorgasburg for the winter.
Big Bruffin News: Medy and Michael will be opening one and possibly two Bruffin Bars in Manhattan within the next few months. We will be able to grab a Bruffin without having to wait for the weekend! (Keep your eye out for the BLT: Bruffin Lettuce & Tomato!)
The second bit of news is that soon you will be able to order Bruffins online! So you won’t even have to be in New York to enjoy these lovely, flakey treats. The new website will be ready in about 3 weeks, so start counting down…..now!
Here’s to yet another incredible success story coming out of markets of New York City!
British Bruffin: Bacon and Cheddar Cheese
French Bruffin: Lardons (bacon), Brie, Herbs de Provence, and Gruyère.
Greek Bruffin: Spiced Beef, Spinach and Feta Cheese
Italian Bruffin: Pepperoni, Pesto, and Parmesan cheese.
Spain: Chorizo and Manchego Cheese
Specialty Bruffin: Chocolate Chip, Salt Caramel and Chocolate Covered Bacon
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