These snails are great for breakfast or an afternoon snack. They also make your home smell wonderful while they’re baking!
- If you don’t like or don’t have raisins, you can substitute dried cranberries.
- The snails are best if you don’t eat them straight out of the oven. Let them cool until they’re just warm or even reach room temperature.
- The snails taste best the day they’re made. If they last any longer, you should wrap them in plastic to store them. Heat them briefly in a 350ºF oven before eating.
- You can wrap the log of dough or the cut snails airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. To use frozen dough/snails, defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
Brioche Raisin Snails
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
Yield: 12 snails
For the dough:
- 1/2 recipe brioche dough
For pastry cream (can be prepared up to 3 days before):
- 1 cup milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/6 cup cornstarch, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature
For the filling:
- 1 cup moist, plump raisins OR cranberries
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Prepare the pastry cream:
- In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk yolks together with sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended.
- While still whisking, drizzle in 1/4 cup of hot milk to temper the egg yolks so they don’t curdle.
- While still whisking, pour in the rest of the milk.
- Put pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously and constantly, bring mixture to a boil.
- Keep at a boil for 1-2 minutes and continue whisking.
- Remove pan from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.
- Let mixture sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in butter, stirring until it is fully incorporated.
- Whisk until the pastry cream is smooth and silky.
- Scrape into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface. Refrigerate until cold.
Assemble the snails:
- Line 1 large or 2 small baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Boil a little water in a small saucepan and toss in raisins or cranberries. Turn off heat and let steep for 2 minutes (or less if you’re impatient like me). Drain raisins or cranberries and pat dry. (I tried skipping this step for cranberries and the snails turned out fine.)
- Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl.
- Dust a surface thoroughly with flour. Roll the dough into a rectangle 12″ x 16″ in size, with the short end towards you.
- Spread pastry cream across dough, leaving 1″ bare strip along the side furthest from you.
- Scatter raisins or cranberries over pastry cream.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- Starting with the side closest to you, roll dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can.
- With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motion, cut the log into slices 1″ thick.
- Put snails on the baking sheets, leaving some puff space between them.
- Lightly cover snails with wax paper and put baking sheet(s) in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until snails have doubled in volume.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Remove wax paper and bake snails for 25 minutes, or until they are puffed and richly browned. (If you’re using 2 baking sheets, rotate sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 15 minutes.)
- With a spatula, transfer snails to a cooling rack.