Brioche Raisin Snails

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These snails are great for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  They also make your home smell wonderful while they’re baking!

Baking notes:

  • 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:

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:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk yolks together with sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended.
  3. While still whisking, drizzle in 1/4 cup of hot milk to temper the egg yolks so they don’t curdle.
  4. While still whisking, pour in the rest of the milk.
  5. Put pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously and constantly, bring mixture to a boil.
  6. Keep at a boil for 1-2 minutes and continue whisking.
  7. Remove pan from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.
  8. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in butter, stirring until it is fully incorporated.
  9. Whisk until the pastry cream is smooth and silky.
  10. Scrape into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface.  Refrigerate until cold.

 

Assemble the snails:

  1. Line 1 large or 2 small baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. 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.)
  3. Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl.
  4. Dust a surface thoroughly with flour.  Roll the dough into a rectangle 12″ x 16″ in size, with the short end towards you.
  5. Spread pastry cream across dough, leaving 1″ bare strip along the side furthest from you.
  6. Scatter raisins or cranberries over pastry cream.
  7. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  8. Starting with the side closest to you, roll dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can.
  9. With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motion, cut the log into slices 1″ thick.
  10. Put snails on the baking sheets, leaving some puff space between them.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.)
  13. With a spatula, transfer snails to a cooling rack.
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