TWD #4: Brioche yourself…

March 18, 2008 at 6:14 am 48 comments

I admit I was scurred when the recipe that the TWDers were making a recipe this week required me to set raisins on fire! EEP! First of all… Me and fire aren’t friends. I have been burned (literally and figuratively) many times. Second… I am a certified raisin-in-desserts-hater. Needless to say… I wussed out. But I blame Wee Treats by Tammy instead of my fire phobia for my lack of stop-drop-and-roll raisins. LOL. After seeing her pictures there was no going back to the original plan… she substituted her raisins for chocolate chips! I was sold!

Fair warning on this recipe. Its actually 3 recipes in one. Personally I think Peabody forfeits her next 2 turns. haha. I keed I keed. Peabody is one of my foodie idols. She can do no wrong. Plus I get the feeling she could probably kick my arse. LOL

While I am always nervous about recipes that I feel are beyond my skill level, I am never disappointed in the end when fellow bakers push me outside my comfort zone b/c who knows how long it would have taken me to attempt something like this on my own.

Special thanks to Nikki, Laurie and Leigh for being there for my incessant questions via gchat about batter-dough, rising times, fire phobia, pastry cream maintenance, whole milk substitutes etc…

What I learned this week:
Its ok to be scared but don’t let it stop you from trying or you might miss out on a “sweet” experience.

Hosted by Peabody @ Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Check out the Tuesdays w/ Dorie blogroll on the side menu bar.

Brioche Raisin Snails
(My variation: Brioche Chocolate Snails)

(Recipe from DG Baking: From my home to yours pages 56-57 | photos from me!)


1 cup moist, plump raisins (I substituted semi-sweet chocolate chips)
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)
1/2 recipe Pastry Cream

For glaze
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 can be kept in a covered jar for up to 1 day.)

[NOTES: Obviously I skipped the flambe raisin step b/c I used chocolate chips instead]

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.

[NOTES: I used dental floss instead of chef’s knife and it worked SO much better!]

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.

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.

To glaze—
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.

[NOTES: I followed the drop by drop instructions and probably ended up putting another tsp of water in to get it to the consistency that I wanted.]


Click image to enlarge

Husband rating: A+
He was really enjoyed the flavors and ate more than one!

Wifey rating: A
I wasn’t sure what to expect but for some reason I thought it would be much sweeter than it really was. It was definitely very yummy nonetheless. EDIT: I ate one for breakfast this morning and OHMYGOD… so good. I think its better the 2nd day!

Next week’s recipe – Caramel Topped Flan pages 395-397

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 glaze
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water


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.

[NOTES: I totally thought I messed up the dough somehow b/c of its batter like consistency and was on the verge of tossing it out to start over but after some reassurance from fellow TWDers, I pushed on and eventually it came together in the frig.]

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.

[NOTES: Mine took a while longer to rise and I have to say that I don’t think it ever got to 2x its original size. I guess you could say mine did not “rise” to the occasion. ::dabumbumbing:: Maybe my yeast is defective? *shrugs]

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.

[NOTES: I have this issue where I missed things in recipes and I totally missed the part about “overnight” so I was hopeful that my dough would turn out ok after 5 hours. Thankfully it worked great.]

Pastry Cream


2 cups whole milk (I substituted 1 cup fat free milk+1 cup heavy cream)
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.


Entry filed under: Tuesdays With Dorie. Tags: , , .

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs French Bread Crumble Penne w/ Pancetta & Spinach

48 Comments Add your own

  • 1. nikki57  |  March 18, 2008 at 6:19 am

    Mmm I want! Great job stepping out of your comfort zone!

  • 2. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 6:29 am

    NIKKI, thanks for all your help MBNB. :)

  • 3. Marie  |  March 18, 2008 at 6:31 am

    I love that you used chocolate! I am wanting to try that now myself! Yours look yummo!!

  • 4. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 6:38 am

    MARIE, thanky! The chocolate was SO good…

  • 5. noskos  |  March 18, 2008 at 6:52 am

    They look great! I bet that the chocolate tastes good in it!!

  • 6. mari  |  March 18, 2008 at 7:12 am

    Love the blow-by-blow pics! The chocolate option is sound very tempting too, I’m think chocolate AND cherries…EVIL!!!

  • 7. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 9:01 am

    NOSKOS, omg. the chocolate was divine. Mmmmm

    MARI, oohhhh choco-cherries?? I do have 1/2 the dough in the freezer… haha

  • 8. Kristina  |  March 18, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Great job! As a general rule, french pastries scare me big time! I would have totally bailed if I thought I had to make a french pastry AND flambe. Smart idea subbing the choc chips :) And I’m way impressed that in the midst of it all you still manage to pick up your camera and take pics!

  • 9. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 9:15 am

    KRISTINA, thanky! I was “this” close to bailing but I feel a sense of commitment to the other TWDers to participate and Nikki would have kicked my arse. haha. Taking pictures isn’t the hard part. I am quite the PW (picture whore) along with being a CW (comment whore). Speaking of… you should totally join!

  • 10. Michelle  |  March 18, 2008 at 9:16 am

    They look wonderful and chocolate was BRILLIANT. Now I want to make more with chocolate!

  • 11. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 9:19 am

    MICHELLE, I can’t tell you how good these were. Maybe I’ll get up the courage to do the flambe someday (haha that rhymed!) but for now my chocolate variation is just perfect. In fact, I will go eat another one right now…

  • 12. lemontartlet  |  March 18, 2008 at 10:05 am

    You’ve got me wanting to try them with walnuts and chocolate chips and cranberries, is that a lot? Your snails are so perky, they’re like the little cheerleaders of the pastry world!

  • 13. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 10:10 am

    LT, naaaaaaah. do it! perky snails. I’d say thats a fabulous compliment… it works for boobs right? ;)

  • 14. slush  |  March 18, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Setting fire to the raisins was my fav part! LOL Great job Clara! This was a character building recipe I think. A tough one, but so worth all the effort. xo

  • 15. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 11:15 am

    SLUSH, i know… i am such a wuss. ::hangs head::

  • 16. Madam Chow  |  March 18, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I totally agree that these are better the second day! And why didn’t I think of chocolate chips?

  • 17. Dianne  |  March 18, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Chocolate…Yum! That was a great addition.

  • 18. Erin  |  March 18, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    These look great! I’d love to try them with chocolate too!

  • 19. Heather Peskin  |  March 18, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Fantastic idea to use chocolate instead of raisins – I will try that with my half ball of brioche dough when I take it out of the freezer. Also think the floss idea is great – it was tricky to just use a knife. Lovely job.

  • 20. kate  |  March 18, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    good for you for soldiering on! and good choice on the chocolate/raisin swap!

  • 21. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    MADAMCHOW, I wish I could say it was my fabulous idea but it was all Tammy. I was lucky enough to procrastinate and saw her picture first. haha.

    DIANNE, oh is always a welcome addition right? ;)

    ERIN, thanky! definitely give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.

    HEATHER, the dental floss saved my life b/c that knife was not “cutting” it (pun intended)!

    KATE, thanky! I prefer chocolate to raisins anyday! So… when you gonna join the club? huh huh? ;)

  • 22. Judy  |  March 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I like the sound of chocolate. Mine took longer to rise initially, too, but it’s partly because of the kind of dough. Sweet doughs take longer or need an extra boost from a pre-ferment. Great job.

  • 23. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    JUDY, ah good to know! I am a yeast novice so the science of it escapes me. I am glad it wasn’t just me. haha

  • 24. Dolores  |  March 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    You did a GREAT job stepping outside of your comfort zone. How ever did you cut your rolls so perfectly uniformly?!?

  • 25. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    DOLORES, aaaww thanks so much! I am a dental floss believer now! so much easier than the knife!

  • 26. Natalie  |  March 18, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    They look great! I was totally expecting to flop with at least one part of this!

  • 27. Gretchen Noelle  |  March 18, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    I think you should still be required to flamee something. :)
    These look great, I am sure they were delicious and I love the uniform look of all the snails. Adorable.

  • 28. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    NATALIE, me too! I think we both did fabulous… ::high five::

    GRETCHEN, You inviting me to your house? I hope you have insurance… haha.

  • 29. Rachel  |  March 18, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    The fire wasn’t too bad. I just had B there ready with the fire extinguisher!

  • 30. Di  |  March 18, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Congrats on overcoming your fears and getting the recipe done! Your snails look great. I love the chocolate idea. For a confirmed chocoholic, I’ve been doing an awful lot of non-chocolate baking lately. My daughter Brianna must agree, because she talked me into making brownies tonight. Not that it was hard.

  • 31. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    RACHEL, haha. T wasn’t around to protect me so I made the executive decision to xnay the fire. But I’ll do it one of these days…

    DI, haha I like the way your daughter thinks. I could really go for a brownie right about now. Mmmmm…

  • 32. KN  |  March 18, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    LOVE the chocolate!!

  • 33. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    KN, thanky! I am glad I went with chocolate. Its so yummy…

  • 34. Jaime  |  March 18, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    god job!! glad you rose to the challenge :)

  • 35. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    JAIME, thanky. I rose but my yeast didn’t! haha.

  • 36. Rebecca  |  March 18, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    The Snail Mantra: I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, and that’s OK.

  • 37. CB  |  March 18, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    REBECCA, love the snail mantra! words to live by… haha

  • 38. Helen  |  March 19, 2008 at 3:05 am

    Wow! Yours look fantastic! After seeing these and reading everyone’s comments – I am even tempted to have another go!

  • 39. April  |  March 19, 2008 at 4:30 am

    These look so good! I like that you used chocolate chips. Everything is better with a little chocolate!

  • 40. CB  |  March 19, 2008 at 5:56 am

    HELEN, me too! I have the other 1/2 of the dough in my freezer just itching to try all the other variations that I read about.

    APRIL, honestly I am not a huge choco fan but I have to admit these were so freaking fabulous with the crossiant-like brioche texture, smooth pastry cream and melted chocolate. Mmmmm…

  • 41. Heather  |  March 20, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Yum! Love the chocolate idea! Great job!

  • 42. CB  |  March 20, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    HEATHER, thanky! It was so goood. I wish I had some leftover to have one right now. But they were gone in 2 days!

  • 43. peabody  |  March 24, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Oh chocolate…good idea. Yeah, they are not super sweet, but I love them so. Glad to see they got an A.

  • 44. CB  |  March 24, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    PEABODY, oh it was SO good with the choco chips. I can see why you love them… the 2nd day I got addicted.

  • 45. Ashlee  |  March 25, 2008 at 3:14 am

    I love your idea of using chocolate chips instead of raisins, i’m pretty sure that change would have made me love instead of like these!!!

  • 46. CB  |  March 25, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    ASHLEE, I am not a raisin fan so i was gonna do flambeed craisins instead but after seeing the chocolate chips I knew there was no choice. It was so good! :)

  • 47. smellslikehome  |  March 27, 2008 at 6:54 am

    oh my WORD! i bet these were incredible with chocolate chips!!!

  • 48. CB  |  March 27, 2008 at 7:58 am

    SMELLS, dare I say they were divine? oh i dare… haha


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