Escargot

Escargot

By
From
The Tivoli Road Baker
Makes
12
Photographer
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

This is our take on the French pain au raisin – spiced fruit studded through rolls of croissant pastry. We like to add custard after baking, and finish with a sprinkle of pistachios to create textural contrast.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
50g currants
50g raisins
50g sultanas
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 quantity Croissant pastry
1/2 quantity see method for ingredients
1 egg
50g full-cream (whole) milk
pinch salt

Method

  1. Place the currants, raisins and sultanas in a small bowl. Cover with warm water and leave to soak at room temperature for 1 hour. Drain well, then combine with the spices and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll your rested croissant pastry out into a rectangle roughly 30 × 40 cm (12 × 16 in) and about 8 mm (¼ in) thick, with the long edge towards you.
  3. Trim all the edges to create a neat rectangle, then use a spatula to spread a thin layer of custard (around 1/4 cup) over the surface of the dough, leaving a 2 cm (¾ in) border along the bottom edge. Reserve the rest of the custard for finishing the pastries after baking. Spread the spiced fruit evenly over the custard.
  4. Starting from the top edge of your dough sheet, roll the pastry down firmly and evenly towards you, being careful not to stretch the pastry, as this will make the dough too tight and affect the final shape of your escargots. When you’ve finished rolling you should have a long cylinder with a spiral of fruit running through the middle and the seam on the bench, underneath the roll of pastry.
  5. Line two trays with baking paper. Use a bread knife to trim one end of the roll of pastry, then cut it into 3 cm (1¼ in)-wide pieces.
  6. Take one piece, holding it with a spiral facing up. Stretch the end of the roll out a little and tuck it in under the base of the pastry (this will stop them unravelling when they bake). Repeat for each escargot, placing them with the tucked-in end underneath the pastry, and spacing them out evenly on the trays to allow for the eventual rise.
  7. Lightly cover the trays with plastic wrap and leave them in a warm place (ideally 22–26°C/72–79°F) to rise. At the bakery we have the luxury of a prover/ retarder that provides the ideal conditions for proving pastries, but when I’m at home I gauge the weather and adjust my method accordingly. On a cool day, you can use your oven as a proving box by placing a roasting pan filled with boiling water at the bottom and leaving it for about 5 minutes, to create steam. Once the oven is slightly warm, place the trays of pastries (still lightly covered in plastic wrap) in to prove. On a warm day you can just leave them lightly covered on a bench to prove.
  8. Leave the escargot until they have risen by half – the time will vary depending on the temperature and humidity of the day, but this should take around 1–2 hours. You should be able to see the layers in the pastry, and you can test to see if it’s ready by lightly pressing into the dough. If your finger leaves a dent in the pastry, it’s ready; if the dough springs back it needs some more time proving.
  9. Preheat the oven to 190°C (370°F). (If you’ve used the oven to prove your escargot, make sure you remove them and the tray of water before you turn the oven on!)
  10. Make an egg wash by lightly beating together the egg, milk and salt. Take your first tray and lightly brush the border of each pastry with egg wash. Refrigerate the other tray until ready to bake.
  11. Place the tray on the middle shelf of the heated oven, and reduce the temperature to 170°C (340°F). Bake for 10 minutes, then check your escargot and turn the tray, if needed, and bake for a further 4–5 minutes, until they are golden and flaky.
  12. Remove the first tray from the oven, return the temperature to 190°C (370°F) and repeat with the second tray. (You may find you can bake two trays at once if you have a good fan-forced oven).
  13. While the second tray is baking, gently warm the jam in a small saucepan over a low heat, and thin with a little water if necessary, to make a glaze. Once baked, transfer the escargot to a wire rack and allow them to cool for a few minutes before brushing with the warmed glaze.
  14. Once cooled, pipe or spoon a little vanilla custard into any gaps, as desired, then sprinkle with pistachios and serve.

Bakery notes

  • Feel free to adjust the fruits and spices to your taste here. For a more traditional pain au raisin, you can omit the custard when finishing your escargot.

    This shape and the filling makes escargot a more forgiving pastry. At the bakery we combine all the scraps and trimmings from the croissant production, give it a fold and roll it out to make our escargot.
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