This now exists as Tuesdays with Dorie, a group founded by Laurie of Quirky Cupcake with of 80+ bloggers (and growing) from all over the world devoted to trying every single recipe in Baking. As a debut entry to this group, I present my rendition of Ms Greenspan's Brioche Raisin Snails:
This treat requires an investment of time. There are three components to make: plumped and flambéed raisins, pastry cream, and brioche dough that needs an overnight rest in the refrigerator. The quantities of each component are more than ample, however, as only half recipes are needed.
An intermediate skill in baking and pastry-making comes in handy for this project. The pastry cream is the easiest component, and there are subtleties that need to be recognized in flambéing and especially in turning out brioche (see "Notes" section below). These do not take kindly to short cuts - I know this first hand. My first batch, made in a hurry, used brioche dough that had not adequately rested. They were leaden in weight and, well, unpalatable. It is good that I had dough and pastry cream to spare for a second iteration. The first and next pictures are the results of this recursion.
I rarely return to any yeasted recipes and I initially thought that this one would not be an exception. Ms Greenspan calls for a trinity of yeast-heat-patience; I have plenty of the first two but not quite enough of the last virtue. Or, more accurately, I am always pressed for time so the demands of multiple slow-rises are hard to accommodate.
However, I was so intrigued by brioche doughs that I just had to make another batch. The results of this third rendition - even more improved - are shown over the next few photos.
Consulting several cookbooks, I found considerable variation in brioche recipes. A Google searchyielded even more fascinating and promising collection: a master recipe from Paula Wolfert, modified considerably by Nick Malgieri who created a quick and easy version, and updated by Rose Levy Beranbaum (see her basic brioche).
Ms Greenspan's brioche, made with a cup and a half of butter, tastes luxurious and is worth every calorie. Admittedly, this does not hold at bay the guilt that wells up inside me as I take a bite into these pastries and wonder if those three sticks of butter will somehow find their way onto my waist.
These snails are delectable for sure - the brioche is buttery and the pastry cream luxurious. The biggest surprise comes from the flambéing raisins. Ms Greenspan is spot on when she says this little fillip adds great flavour.
I remain an ardent fan of Baking: From my Home to Yours and invite you to view my other Dorie Greenspan posts: Devil's Food White-Out Chocolate Cake, Dressy Chocolate Loaf, and Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.
- Special thanks to Jaime of Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats for suggesting this wonderful Dorie Greenspan appreciation group blog.
- More love for Ms Greenspan can be read over at Weekend Cookbook Challenge.
- The full recipe for these Brioche Raisin Snails can be found on pages 56 to 57 of Baking, which is available through Amazon, or try checking out the hostess' site (Thanks, Peabody!) where a version of the recipe is posted. Peabody's blog is also a sight to see - be prepared to be amazed.
- Pastry cream. Don't sweat this. Two key things: temper the egg yolks slowly, and whisk continuously through the entire process. To get rid of the cornstarch taste, be sure to cook the mixture for a further two minutes after it has thickened and boiled - you should be whisking quite vigorously at this point.
- Flambéed raisins. It is worth the effort. Your raisins will not flambé unless they are hot. Caution: never add liquor to a pan on a burner. Take the pan off the burner, add the liquor, then return to the burner (keeping your hands and face away from the pan contents. the pan must be under an burner hood for the next step. Use a long match to light the raisin and liquor. Lastly, the liquor needs to burn off, stir with a long spoon if you wish, but know this step takes a while.
- Brioche. I will defer to Ms Greenspan's instructions as written. Rest the dough at least 10 hours in the fridge (according to Cooks Illustrated). A dental floss can make cutting the filled and rolled dough easier. Slip a good length under the rolled dough then make an overhand knot over the dough. When the knot is made it will have cut through the dough neatly.
- Please browse on to Tuesdays with Dorie and see everyone's beautiful works.