Monday, March 17, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Raisin Brioche Snails

Buttery brioche. Rich pastry cream. Cinnamon. What's not to like?

Peabody, of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, selected Dorie Greenspan's Raisin Brioche Snails for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie (check out the link for the entire blogroll). And these tasty little morsels seemed to get better the longer they sat around!

First let me say that I am mightily impressed by all those bakers who made this dough by hand. It took me about 20 minutes of kneading with the Kitchen Aid to produce the brioche, while pressing on the mixer to keep it from dancing off the counter top!

I baked only half of the rolls, and froze the other half for later. A few more thoughts: next time I make this, I'm going to infuse the warm milk with half a vanilla bean pod, as it would have benefited from a stronger vanilla flavor. I am not a big raisin fan, and will use something else in the future, but flaming the raisins in rum (WOW!) was so much fun, and really gave them a lot of flavor. Note to self: rum-soaked raisins taste a whole lot better than plain old raisins.

Finally, when I made the glaze, I added a few drops of orange oil to the mixture to give it a bit more zing, and I'm glad I did. If you don't have orange oil, add some finely grated orange zest, starting with about a 1/2 teaspoon (for a full batch of glaze) and increase the amount to taste. Personally, I like a strong citrus flavor.

For the original recipe, check out Peabody's blog, or Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. Below is my adaptation of the recipe.
Brioche Raisin Snails
Adapted slightly from a recipe in Baking: From My Home to Yours

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, chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating overnight)
1 recipe Pastry Cream

For The Optional Glaze

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
About 1/2 teaspoon milk
2-3 drops orange oil, or 1/2 t. finely grated orange zest

Getting Ready: Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

If you want tips on how to flambe safely, see here and here. 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. DO NOT WALK AWAY. The raisins heat up rather quickly, and you can burn them in an instant.

Be sure you have the pan lid ready, and clear your cooking area of all flammable materials. When the raisins are very hot, pull the pan from the heat and pour the rum over the raisins. Standing back, ignite the rum. Stir 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.) If things look like they're getting out of control, clamp the lid on the pan.

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. 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 serrated 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), flat side down, leaving some puff space between them.

Lightly cover the snails with plastic wrap 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 3/3 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

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: Add the zest or orange oil to the powdered sugar. Mix the milk into the powdered sugar drop by drop, until you have a consistency that you can drizzle onto the rolls.

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.

Pastry Cream

1 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
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.

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Blogger Engineer Baker said...

Such cute buttery swirls! I agree - having a KA made this easier, but not on the mixer! Mine almost danced off the counter too.

March 18, 2008 8:28 AM  
Blogger Bumblebutton said...

Pretty pretty! And I like your idea about upping the vanilla in the pastry cream, maybe some vanilla sugar too?

March 18, 2008 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yours are so fat and tasty looking! The next day I liked them even better too, and broke up two in a bowl of ice cream.

March 18, 2008 8:58 AM  
Blogger Madam Chow said...

Erin - thank heavens for the KA!

Bumblebutton - fabulous idea about the vanilla sugar! If I do that, I'm going to leave the glaze as vanilla flavored, so as not to overpower the vanilla.

Lemontartlet - ice cream, you say? Oh, yum!

March 18, 2008 9:09 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Your swirls look great! I was thankful for my KA mixer as well!

March 18, 2008 10:05 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Your swirls look great! I was thankful for my KA mixer as well!

March 18, 2008 10:06 AM  
Blogger noskos said...

Great looking snail!!!

March 18, 2008 10:46 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

I am totally in awe of anyone who did this dough by hand as well! Your snails look perfect. I was so lucky that I could use the KA at work. I am a rather lazy sod at heart!

March 18, 2008 10:56 AM  
Blogger Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I had almost forgotten about the dancing KA mixer until I read your post. My whole freestanding butcher block was shaking!

I added half a vanilla pod to the pastry cream, and I'm really glad I did.

I like the addition of orange to your rolls, and I'll add that to my "playing around" list for next time!

March 18, 2008 11:48 AM  
Blogger CB said...

that first picture is practically perfect in every way! Great job!

March 18, 2008 12:09 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

great job! Looks wonderful! I was KA less so mine were by hand. Wish I had one now!

March 18, 2008 12:27 PM  
Blogger Di said...

Your snails look great! I have to agree that the pastry cream seemed to need something more, but I'm also not a big fan of pastry cream. I actually added a pinch of salt to mine, though I forgot to put that in my post, since I forgot until just now. And I definitely have to try glaze next time.

March 18, 2008 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Winnie said...

My Kitchen Aid was also bouncing up and down. I cant imagine doing it by hand.
I should have made the bread and used the remainder of the pastry cream to fill it. Wow that wold be a treat!

March 18, 2008 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Dianne said...

They look fabulous!

March 18, 2008 5:13 PM  
Blogger Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Lovely Snails. Congrats.

March 18, 2008 5:17 PM  
Blogger Gretchen Noelle said...

The orange sounds delicious with this! I am one of the those that did it all by hand, oh what fun! Lovely snails!!

March 18, 2008 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Erin said...

These look great! I like your idea of adding more vanilla to the pastry cream. That's amazing that you made this dough by hand!

March 18, 2008 6:41 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I like the changes you made in the basic recipe. After 20 minutes of mixing, I just gave up and hoped for the best, and that was with my big KA. Heavens knows how my smaller one would have fared.

March 18, 2008 8:22 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

My KA was dancing around the counter too - it almost danced off the edge when I turned to get something off the other counter.

Love the closeup! And I'm going to definitely use a vanilla bean next time too - great idea!

March 18, 2008 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

Oh, the close-up. That glaze looks lickable! And next time, I'm definitely adding some orange. Good call.

March 18, 2008 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Karina said...

They look delicious! I skipped the glaze, but I think next time I'll try it. Afterall, when you've already got that many calories, what's a few hundred more?! I like the idea of pumping up the vanilla flavor with a bean and vanilla sugar, the pastry cream was already so good and that would make it even better!

March 18, 2008 11:39 PM  
Blogger Jaime said...

i love the idea of adding the orange oil! great job! my KA didn't have so much trouble w/the dough as many people stated.... wonder why?

March 19, 2008 12:29 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

As always, your TWD for this week is pure beauty. Great job!

March 19, 2008 12:34 AM  
Blogger Tartelette said...

You did a fabulous job! I admire you for freezing half for later. "Later" is unknown in our house!!

March 19, 2008 1:33 AM  
Blogger cruisingkitty said...

Great looking snails! Thank goodness for KA mixers! I agree, they were better the next day!

March 19, 2008 10:06 AM  
Blogger slush said...

I am with ya, I do not think I could have done this one by hand. Bless those that did! They look fantastic, I love the sound of the orange oil!

March 19, 2008 10:26 AM  
Blogger Dolores said...

This isn't the first recipe that makes me thankful for my kitchen aid, nor will it likely be the last. You did great with it... I love the orange-infused glaze.

March 19, 2008 6:04 PM  
Blogger Julius said...

These are absolutely beautiful, Madam Chow.


from Occasional Baker

March 20, 2008 12:25 AM  
Blogger The Baker's Lamb said...

Picture perfect snails...I am jealous!

March 20, 2008 11:22 PM  
Blogger Peabody said...

They turned out great. I was more than happy to use my mixer on this one!

March 22, 2008 4:30 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I know its late....and I need to head to bed...but I would love to eat (several) of these!

March 23, 2008 10:08 PM  

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