This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, Brioche Raisin Snails, was chosen by Peabody over at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. At first I was a little intimidated by this recipe since it combined three different elements: brioche dough, pastry cream, and then the assembly of the actual snails. Sneaky, that Peabody is… she squeezed in three recipes 😉 I am actually thrilled that she chose this recipe, as brioche has been something on my “must attempt” list and I had never made pastry cream before, so this gave me a perfect reason to try two new things!
I’ll start out with the basis for this recipe – the brioche dough. I am in love. Seriously. So in love that I am going to dedicate an entire blog post just to my brioche (stay tuned). I have been wanting to try brioche for some time and am glad that I finally got the opportunity. I have to say that I give total kudos to the TWD-ers that made this recipe by hand. My KA sounded as though it was on its last leg and got so hot that I couldn’t even touch the top without burning my hand. “She got a good workout,” Nick said 😉 I didn’t have any trouble with the rising, however both rises took longer in my kitchen than Dorie estimated (about an hour and 10 minutes for the first rise, and about 2.5 hours after it came out of the fridge). I made a loaf of brioche with the other half of the dough recipe that wasn’t being used for the snails and oh the buttery goodness! This is some seriously good bread. I can’t say enough about it…. but I will try, in another blog post 😉
On to the pastry cream. As I said, I had never made pastry cream before, so this was another first for me. I watched a couple of videos online to make sure that I knew what it should look like at the different stages. While mine looked like the videos, it seemed thick to me. But, it tasted divine and it didn’t cause me any problems, so I assume I did everything just right 🙂
And now the raisin snails themselves. I have a confession. I did not flambe the raisins with the rum. I have an enormous, unfounded, and quite ridiculous fear of fire. I can’t explain it. I was going to have Nick ignite the raisins and rum for me this weekend, but we never got around to it, so I merely soaked my raisins in water and let them plump up. Terribly boring, I know. I also took the advice of some others and cut my rolls using dental floss. Genius! I didn’t have to squish them!
The finished product… the Brioche Raisin Snails themselves… were absolutely delicious. They were flaky and tasted like a light, buttery pastry. This may seem like a complicated and time consuming recipe, but each element can be broken down and done easily and fairly quickly. Of course there is the waiting time for the dough to rise, but these rolls are definitely worth it. These would be a wonderful show stopping pastry to set out for breakfast or brunch guests. Trust me, everyone will think you are a domestic goddess!!
EDIT: I just ate another one after dinner tonight and I have to say – these are insanely better the second day! They were incredible when they were freshly made, but after sitting for a day tightly wrapped (as Dorie suggested) the flavors really came together and the dough was remarkably like a danish. YUM!
Our group is still growing, so head on over to the Tuesdays With Dorie blog and scroll through the blogroll to see the snail creations that the rest of the group came up with!
Brioche Raisin Snails
(Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home To Yours” pages 56-57)
1 cup moist, plump raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 recipe for Golden Brioche Loaves (follows), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating overnight)
1/2 recipe Pastry Cream (follows)
For The Optional Glaze
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
About 1 teaspoon water
Drop of pure vanilla extract
Getting Ready: Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan, cover them with hot water and let them steep for about 4 minutes, until they are plumped. Drain the raisins, return them to the saucepan and, stirring constantly, warm them over low heat. When the raisins are very hot, pull the pan from the heat and pour over the rum. Standing back, ignite the rum. Stair until the flames go out, then cover and set aside. (The raisins and rum an be kept in a covered jar for up to 1 day.)
Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
On a flour dusted surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 16 inches long, with a short end toward you. Spread the pastry cream across the dough, leaving 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Scatter the raisins over the pastry cream and sprinkle the raisins and cream with the cinnamon sugar. Starting wit the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it up to 2 months; see Storing for further instructions. Or, if you do not want to make the full recipe, use as much of the dough as you’d like and freeze the remainder.)
With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends if they’re ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into rounds a scant 1 inch thick. Put the snails on the lined baking sheet(s), leaving some puff space between them.
Lightly cover the snails with wax paper and set the baking sheet(s) in a warm place until the snails have doubles in volume–they’ll be puffy and soft–about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Getting Ready To Bake: When the snails have almost fully risen, preheat the oven: depending on the number of baking sheets you have, either center a rack in the oven or position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the wax paper, and bake the snails for about 25 minutes (rotate the sheets if you’re using two, from top to bottom and front to back after 15 minutes), or until they are puffed and richly browned. Using a metal spatula, transfer the snails onto a cooling rack.
If You Want To Glaze The Snails: Put a piece of wax paper under the rack of warm rolls to act as a drip catcher. Put the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl, and stir in a teaspoon of water. Keep adding water drop by drop until you have an icing that falls from the tip of a spoon. Add the vanilla extract, then drizzle the icing over the hot snails.
Golden Brioche Loaves
2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm
For The Glaze
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can– this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you’re doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you’ll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature
Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk– this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly–as I always do–put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.