Brioche Raisin Snails: Problems and Questions

We’re starting something new this week. I know on at least a few recipes people have had problems or questions and they can sometimes get lost in the other posts. So, if you have questions or something that we should be aware of post it here and we can all do our best to help each other out. If something becomes a problem for most people (ie don’t use 70% chocolate in the gateau unless you like things extremely bitter) I’ll try to put it in the bottom of this post so everyone can be alerted to any across the board problems.


64 thoughts on “Brioche Raisin Snails: Problems and Questions

  1. I’m also a little nervous about the flaming raisins, but here’s my other question. The recipe says to stir them until the flames go out, but with what? Will a silicone spoonula be okay? I’m planning on keeping a pot of ice water near by, because I have been known to be a touch on the clumsy side.

  2. I just made the pastry cream – when she says whisk constantly… Do it. I got a thin layer of cooked egg yolks on the bottom of my pan from a little break I took that I had to strain out before I added the vanilla bean paste and butter. Did anyone else’s ever start boiling? Mine just thickened up, and I figured it was ready to pull off. Hopefully it works?

  3. Cranberries instead of raisins is what I’ll be using CB.

    Anybody got any tricks for doing the brioche by hand? Dorie doesn’t give any help for that, just says how great it is that we all have KA’s now. *snort*

  4. CB–As a fellow raisin-hater, I used dried cherries instead. They were great with the rum…flaming is not too scary. The flames went out in a couple seconds, so I didn’t even bother to stir.

  5. Haven’t started yet, but may plan to do in 3 parts/3 days. Starting with the pastry cream. I have to admit that I’m looking forward to the flaming raisins (well in my case cherries).Wish me luck!

  6. Apparently theres two of us Katrina’s…

    Katrina- Just use a pot with a lid, so if the flames get scary, just quickly put the lid on it. It will smother the flames without ruining the food with the ice water.
    But with the amount of rum, like steph said, it should go out pretty quick anyhow.

  7. I may do the cherries too. I am plum out of raisins and have a bunch of dried cherries. Im a sucker for cherries anyway. Glad to know they worked Steph! Im looking forward to the flames, Ill have hubs standing by just in case. I have always been kind of a pyro.

  8. Good to know the flames go out quickly. I’m like Laurie, a bit of a pyro and I’ve almost burned our apt building down before oops. Like CB said a wisk should work well for stirring because it won’t melt.

  9. I’m going to use currants in place of raisins.

    There isn’t that much rum, so the flames will go out quickly, just sort of shake the pan while it’s flaming; you don’t need to keep stirring. And, you could substitute rum extract; then you wouldn’t need to ignite it and you wouldn’t need 3 T.

    There’s also an easier way to make pastry cream so you don’t have to be concerned about cooking the yolks. Having a thermometer will also help.

  10. I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me. I really want to make this week’s recipe for Brioche snails, but I don’t want to waste a whole of yummy dough because I don’t have a lot of mouth’s to feed. I was thinking of cutting the recipe in half. Do you think it would work?

  11. Judy, how much rum extract would I use?

    Amanda, same sitch but the recipe recommends not cutting it in half? maybe freeze the dough for another day b/c we might end up making the other recipes she suggests using it for anyways…

  12. Amanda,
    The recipe recommends making the whole roll and freezing it for future use. That’s what I plan to do – make the roll, slice it, then freeze. I will pull out the rolls as I need them.

    I am concerned about freezing the pastry cream (Dorie says you can do it if you freeze the rolls before baking), because I haven’t had luck with that in the past. In fact, frozen pastry cream gets rather grainy, as I discovered during the Daring Bakers Bostini Cream Pie challenge. Has anyone else had experience with freezing pastry cream?

  13. Which side of the snails go on the cookie sheet? Cut side down or dough end down? I know it’s kind of a silly question but I’m picturing snails as standing up rather than laying down, although my gut says to put them cut side down.

  14. CB: I’d suggest 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp. depending on how strong you want the taste. Or more if you like.

    For the dough, it’s probably easier to make the full recipe, then take the second half and either freeze it for future use or make a brioche loaf, which can then be frozen or made into sandwiches, french toast, etc. That’s probably what I’ll do, since there is just one of me at the moment.

    The recipe also only requires 1/2 recipe of pastry cream, so you don’t need to make the whole recipe. If you have any left over, use it like pudding.

  15. I don’t have a stand mixer either but I’m sure we can do it without. I mean, way back before stand mixers they had to do it somehow, right? We just might be a little exhausted afterwards. ;)

  16. Dough: Make the full batch. What I did with my second batch was rolled it out and filled it with cinnamon roll filling. I then wrapped it up good and tight and put it in the freezer. The night before you want to make them, place them in the fridge. Cut them up in the morning, let them rise for about 30 minutes and bake off.
    Also, do not panic if your dough does not rise in the time given. These are estimates and Dorie can not possibly know the temperature of your house. Concentrate on the dough doubling in size. Mine took more than the time suggested as it is still cooler in these parts.
    Pastry Cream: Yes, you should be whisking the whole time. You also want to carefully add the 1/4 cup of hot milk …this is when you really want to be whisking. Continue to pour the remaining milk VERY slowly.
    Raisins: This is where you have to get brave. Make sure that your overhead fan is on. And keep your face away from the pan!!!
    If you have a gas stove like me it is much, much easier. If you have a gas stove, take your pan off the heat source and pour in the alcohol. Bring it back to the heat source and tilt the pan slightly as to bring the alcohol towards the flame. It will ignite. Let it burn off initially and then swirl it slightly. It will NOT burn off immediately like many people said. It will not go away until ALL of the alcohol has been burned off. If you stir it, which if you are a newbie I don’t recommend(because it might freak you out), because it will keep reigniting it until it runs out.
    If you do not have a gas stove, I suggest a long match. I do not suggest the BBQ ignighters as I have seen that go bad on some people.
    If you are still truley afraid, I would just cook the raisins and alcohol together until the alcohol has cooked off. You will not get the same flavor, as flambee does cause the food to chemically change, but you might feel better about not setting anything on fire.

  17. I made the dough by hand, I got my hands in it and mixed and mixed and mixed. For the last 10 minutes of beating it asks for, the dough/batter is runny, I used a hand mixer with dough hooks until it slightly started pulling away. I didn’t exactly follow the every 30 minutes instructions. I did make the full batch of dough and with the second half, I cooked them up as rolls in muffin tins with an egg wash. Delicious!

    Just made rum raisins and I can attest to the “a bit scary, but really fun” time I just had. The rum did *not* burn off quickly and I stirred with a “soup spoon” which, if you have sometime bigger and fireproof, use it! I am putting the pieces together tomorrow. We shall see how things turn out!

  18. i think most of the questions have been answered, but i wanted to add that i was VERY scared of flaming the raisins b/c all i had was short matches…but it worked out ok for me. i just carefully put the match close to the rum and it ignited! i stirred it w/a wooden spoon w/o any issues (though the wooden spoon was damp)

    oh, and pastry cream is supposed to freeze ok as long as there is cornstarch in it, which this recipe has.

  19. Mine are rising now. I did the flambé-thing and I didn’t like it. And I wisked the cream in a bain-marie in a rounded pan. That worked fine. I had difficulties to cut the log, I used dental floss.

    And I have to admit for the North European palate it’s to late for the cinnamon/raisin/sugar combination, for me this means winter :-)

  20. I used a wooden spoon (long handled of course!) to stir my flaming raisins too with no problems! I sure wish I had thought of using a length of dental floss to cut my rolls! I used the chef’s knife and kept having to flour it in between cuts. They are delicious though!

  21. Is there a picture of the finished product somewhere on the internet? I’ve looked but haven’t found anything.
    I’m having trouble imagining the final results…

  22. Made the dough, part by hand, part with my handmixer. It’s now in the fridge to stop the rising. And I have a lot of respect for everybody else without a stand mixer!!!!! You need lots of elbow grease to get this thing together!!

    Did the raisins, had real big problems with that!!!! What rum do I use?? Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Bacardi Spice, Bacardi 8, choices, choices :-)
    The flambé-ing was a breeze, nice red flames :-)

    Just finished the cream. So I’m ready to put this thing together tomorrow.. If I can still lift my arm :-D

  23. Just made mine! So delicious! I don’t have a stand mixer so I had to make my dough by hand. It took some elbow grease but in the end wasn’t terribly hard to do. But there were moments I wished I had forked over the dough (haha…pun intended) for a KA.

    I put them together this morning and it was so hard not to eat one right out of the oven. I think I lasted 10 minutes! lol.

    Oh and using the dental floss to cut the log was genius! So easy and a clean cut!

  24. So fun to read everyone’s experiences. I am hoping to make my dough this afternoon. Bought myself some rum last night and anxious to see how flambeed craisins taste. haha. Can’t wait to see everyone’s pictures come tuesday!

  25. I made mine Th/Fri. I had the same question on how to bake them. I put them up to look like a snail but some of them fell over. They were lot’s of work but a huge hit with my family. I have fire issues so I just put the rum in a warm pan and didn’t ignite. It tasted fine.

    I might try them with the cranberries with the second half of the dough!

  26. I made my dough and pastry cream yesterday and baked the rolls today. I made the whole batch (24) even though it’s just the two of us! The only problem I had with my buns, was that my hubby couldn’t keep his hands off them! He’s already had four and I finally had to hide the rest of them!

  27. Is there any way to make the dough and not refridgerate it. My refridgerator is acting up and the new one wont be here until monday. If i put the dough in the fridge overnight, it will probably be frozen in the morning. Will this be a problem?

  28. Some feed back, rising under parchment works fine! I dusted it with flour before I put it over the snails.
    Also I cut down on the raisins since we are not to crazy about them, well big mistake!! they are fabulous in the recipe.
    And the end result….. ow my gawd! These snails are SO good!!!!

  29. is it ok to freeze the pastry cream? they are rising under the parchement paper right now and they look a little runny. I put them in the oven and got my oven warm since my house is impossible cold. I didn’t ruin them, did I? I just turned my oven to its warm setting and put them in there for like 10 minutes.

  30. Just finished my first TWD recipe.


    Good pastry cream, tasted a bit “lean” compared to other pastry creams I’ve made.

    Flambé raisins – wow, what a difference. Dorie wasn’t kidding when said this small step has a huge impact.

    Brioche – sadly, a failure. I’m sure it’s my fault. I made it rushed and probably made some mistakes along the way.

    Looking forward to the next weeks.

  31. I made the dough, pastry cream, and braisins (dried blueberries) today. We’re going to put everything together tomorrow and bake the rolls! All the components have come together really nicely so I’m excited for the finished product.

  32. Y’all, this girl feels really silly for worrying about doing the brioche by hand. It was really easy, and not a pain in the butt like I was expecting it to be. The dough mixed up with no trouble, the battery feel was really pleasent and my hands smelled great all night. *giggle*

  33. My dough is in the fridge now. I am yet to tackle the pastry cream or raisins. The baby gave me a whopper of a head cold, hoping to get them made tonight or tomorrow am.

    Glad to hear everyone loves them so far!

  34. Am freaking out about the 1st rising – it’s been sitting in a bowl on my coffee table, heater is on, and it’s not moved in an hour! I read Peabody’s encouraging comments about dough rising time but for my dough not to have risen at all! I am having horrible visions of having to bake a poundcake or some such nice but ordinary thing for the office, but I promised them the Snails.

  35. Okay I made the brioche earlier and it seemed to come together well – it took about an hour and 10 minutes to double in size. It didn’t really rise much in the fridge after the first hour or so. So buttery and we stole a couple nibs of dough – mmmm!

    The pastry cream came together well – at first I thought it was maybe too thick (I have never made pastry cream before) but after doing some online research and watching some videos, I am feeling confident that it’s the correct texture.

    Haven’t done the raisins yet, but am just planning on soaking them tomorrow (no flambay, I have an unfounded and huge fear of fire) and putting everything together. Can’t wait!

  36. Have a unbaked loaf of brioche in the freezer, plus half of the snails roll, and all the baked-off snails have been consumed, with great lip-smacking joy I might add!

    Although Dorie says they are at their best the day of, I have to disagree. I baked mine on Saturday night just before going out to dinner, ate one and thought it was good, but not dynamite, then ate two for breakfast on Sunday afternoon and thought they were divine!

    My favorite part was flambeing the cherries (my raisin substitute), and next time I make these (and there will be a next time), I’d like to try Lori’s raisin substitute of dried blueberries. YUM!

  37. I have serious respect for anyone that mixed the dough by hand… I put it in the trusty KA, and for the 10 minutes had to stand there and ‘hold’ the top of the mixer to keep it from dancing across the counter, it was working that hard. TWD or another 10pg french bread is going to be the death of my KA one of these days… heh heh.

    Of course with birthdays and visiting the inlaws, I didn’t get the chance to start till sunday, so the dough and flambe’d craisins (only sub my store had) are chilling out in the fridge to be baked tonight. Talk about cutting it close!

    Anyone have thoughts on the shelf-life/portability of these? I’d love to send some to my brother who just got home from a surgery last week…. I’m wondering if I bake them tonight and overnight them tommorow, would they survive? The dairy in them worries me.

  38. I just joined TWD this week, so this was my first project with the group!
    The dough went together nicely, although I did have to add an extra 1/3 cup flour at the end to get the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl. Boy, did it take a long time to rise! The cream never did boil, it just got thick real quick at the end. Very tasty!

    Flaming with a butane wand went fine without burning anything. I’ve flamed lots of things in my day so it wasn’t a big deal for me. I had trouble getting good pictures of the flames though.

    The dough rolled out like a dream, kind of like danish dough. It took a longer bake time than the recipe said, but my oven may be off a little. The snails could have used a bit more cinnamon sugar inside. I used the rest of the rum from the drained raisins for my icing. The rum definitely made those raisins scream!

    3 days later, they’re still just as good as the day I made them. Just had one for breakfast. Darn, they’re almost all gone!

  39. I just finished mine not to long ago. I made the dough a few days ago and made the pastry cream last night. The raisins were a breeze but next time I will probably tried blueberries or cranberries. The cherries sound good as well. I haven’t had a chance to taste anything yet. They are on the cooling rack and I cannot wait.

  40. Well, my dough is happily sitting in the fridge doing absolutely nothing! I had it in a lovely warm kitchen for about 1 1/2 hours and it only rose a tiny bit…it is now 1.20am and I cannot wait any longer…I have a feeling the butter isn’t the greatest as it seemed to be separating from the dough but I’ll have to wait until morning for the finished result. Thanks for all the tips everyone – I’ll def be using dental floss to cut!

  41. I’ve got just one word to say about this week’s challenge: WOW!!

    I’ve visited a bunch of your blogs to see the Brioche Raisin Snails and I’m so excited by how beautiful your snails are. I know I didn’t convert many of to the raisin-lovers club :), but it’s fabulous to see how expertly you managed with the brioche dough (one of my favorite doughs in the universe). Bravo to all of you for doing so well with such an ambitious recipe. And hooray to Peabody for choosing it.

    Just a word — too late, I know — on making the dough without a mixer. As someone commented (and as many of you proved this week), of course, it’s possible — it’s how it was done before the electric mixer was invented!

    When I learned to make brioche, we beat (and beat and beat and beat) the dough by hand, so that we would learn how the dough feels and how it changes. I remember thinking that I was beating forever, but I also remember that when I finished, I felt that the dough would be mine forever, that I now had it in my muscles.

    Once again — congratulations! The snails are terrific!

  42. Pingback: Dorie Approved! « Tuesdays with Dorie

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