March 18, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie- Brioche Raisin Snails

Well this week was my first Tuesdays with Dorie challenge and I have to admit I wasn't very excited about it until I read the recipe and realized it was basically going to be a pudding filled cinnamon roll (but I have to say, the buttery light brioche was tastier than your average bread recipe!) I didn't have any raisins and I don't use alcohol so I just omitted them all together, though I think next time I will try the suggestion of using Craisins or dried blueberries. I did make a few rolls with mini chocolate chips inside and they were the closest thing to pain au chocolat I've had since Paris.

Based on what I read so far in the cookbook, I don't think Dorie is too keen on substitutions but they were delicious anyways and I'll try to be a little more faithful next time. The recipe is pretty in depth but the bread was so yummy and the end result was totally worth it. I made half of the dough into rolls and the other half into a Brioche loaf and both are totally gone already. :) The pastry filling/pudding was also great and I'll admit, baby and I just ate the leftover half after making the rolls! I used my handmixer on low to do the whisking since my wrists can't take all that continual whisking and it turned out just fine. Dorie recommends boiling it for a minute or two at the end but just like the last time a made a similar recipe, my pudding didn't quite follow the rules and thickened suddenly then was good to go. I would be sure to whisk diligently because the pudding has it's own timetable!

Brioche Raisin Snails
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 (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating overnight)

1/2 recipe Pastry Cream (see below)

For The Optional Glaze (I didn't use this but they would have been prettier if I had!)
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
About 1 teaspoon water
Drop of pure vanilla extract

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. (I used dental floss and it was easy and clean)

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 2/3 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

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.) 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 (mine took just over 20 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
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.


  1. Your brioche loaf looks every bit as charming as any I've ever seen. Such gorgeous snails!

  2. Great job! It all looks wonderful!!

  3. Welcome to TWD!! Your snails looks great!

  4. Wow, what a first recipe to make! It looks like your snails turned out great. I'll have to try your chocolate chip idea when I make these again--sounds terrific.

  5. Welcome to TWD! Your snails and the brioche loaf look wonderfurl!

  6. Ohh, I love the idea of using chocolate chips in them! Now I am wanting to make them again! I love the way your little brioched
    loaf looks! Everything looks wonderful!

  7. Welcome aboard! Chocolate chip brioche snails sound to die for!

  8. I lurve the choco chips! Welcome to TWD. Great job!

  9. They look wonderful! I love the idea of chocolate chips. I wish I had thought of that!

  10. Your brioche looks beautiful!! Nice pictures, and great blog. I look forward to visiting!

    Picky Palate

  11. That looks beautiful! Welcome to TWD, it's my second week and the third recipe.

  12. Welcome to TWD! Great job on your first challenge!

  13. Welcome to the group. The snails look great- I think they would be great with chocolate chips too!

  14. Wonderful that you just enjoyed the pastry cream right out of the bowl! The snails look terrific, you did a fabulous job!

  15. Snail-a-rific! Great job. I wish I had thought to use chocolate. What a smarty!

  16. great job! i doubled the recipe with my extra brioche dough and was happy i did :)

    welcome to TWD!

  17. What a first recipe for us to come in on! Next time, I'll try chocolate chips in a few. My husband wouldn't touch the raisins, but chocolate would lure him in. Good call!

  18. Chocolate Chips! What a neat idea!

  19. Welcome to the group. Looks like you conquered your first challenge. I look forward to seeing more.