Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie

Baking: From My Home to Yours (2006), the latest outing by prolific and multi-awarded cookbook writer Dorie Greenspan, is easily her most accessible and familiar tome. She veers away from her status quo of stylized Parisian pastries and hews closer to America. It is a personal favourite and I knew that it was only a matter of time before Ms Greenspan - or her cookbook - would have its fan club.

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.


Notes:

  • 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.

25 comments:

Annemarie said...

Your pics look wonderful, and th e "snails" look even better! Great job!

noskos said...

Yeah, another guy!!! I was starting to feel lonely :-)
Good job on your snails!! Welcome to TWD!

chelley325 said...

Great job on the snails and welcome to the group! :)

Ann said...

Beautiful work!

lemontartlet said...

Second times worked out great! Your snails look very tasty.

Cheri said...

Welcome to TWD! Your snails look very tasty!

slush said...

Beautiful snails Julius! So glad you joined TWD, I know noskos is happy another dude is in the group! LOL

Marie said...

Wonderful looking snails Julius! I love a guy that can cook and well, if he can bake then, even better! Welcome to the group!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Welcome aboard! I love your blog, and I look forward to keeping track of all your baking exploits.

CB said...

Your blog write up was very well organized. I really enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures. Welcome to TWD! "See" you next week! :)
Clara

Julie said...

Delicious! I have to admit, I've never directly tried any of Greenspan's recipes, but the more I see, the more I know I need to! Great play on your title, too!

Madam Chow said...

Great tips. And it seems that I feel about pastry the way you do about cake!

Erin said...

Great job on the snails! Welcome to TWD!

Rachel said...

Welcome to TWD! Glad to have you. Great job on the snails BTW. :)

Jaime said...

welcome to TWD! :) it's nice to have another guy join the group :) just a small note, you slightly mixed up the name of my blog (it's good eats 'n sweet treats) but thank you for the shout out! :) i knew it would be something you were interested in!

great job on this challenge too!

cruisingkitty said...

Great looking snails and your photos are fantastic too! Loved your notes at the end!

Dolores said...

I'm so glad you've joined the Dorie group Julius... I love the tips and tricks you provide in your posts.

The Baker's Lamb said...

Nice snails, the raisins look delicious!

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

Welcome to the group. I really enjoy your blog and your attention to the details. Looking forward to seeing more.

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Lovely looking Snails! A great blog - it's now on my faves.

Katrina said...

your snails look fabulous! I'm glad the second batch turned out for you.
Eventually as we work through the book, I know we'll have to do the dough again... I guess next time we'll all be pros at it!

Heather said...

Welcome to the group! Your snails look tasty!

Robb said...

Julius, I have to agree that I rarely cook a yeasted thing again. My only exception has been Rose Levy Beranbaum's Sticky Buns recipe from her Cake Bible.

I know you've seen that one!

Again, your postings make me swoon. The pics, the copy, the insight. Thanks.

Robb
Bake Through

Peabody said...

No need to feel guilt after eating these. I am sure all the effort you put into making them burned any calories you gained while eating them. :)
Way to keep at it with the brioche...it does not liked to be rushed.

Babeth said...

Whouhaou great job! Your Brioche raisin snails just look like ones from a French bakery stall!