Never in a million years would we have dreamed that, in less than seven year’s time, we’d be blessed with five delightful grandchildren! Four of them belong to our daughter, Cait and her husband …………….. the daughter who always dreamed of being “the career woman“, living in the big city, having the big job, the thought of a family existing only in the quite distant future …………… then …………… along came Prince Charming ………….. and EVERYTHING changed ……………. and I do mean everything!
So nowdays they’re Mom and Dad extraordinaire; with three girls and a baby boy in tow, we lovingly (and laughingly) refer to them as “the herd” ……….
……………… “the herd from London” that is, since that’s where they’ve made their home for the past three years.
Scott and I get super excited when we get the opportunity to spend time with them, so with our “herd” arriving from across the “big pond” tomorrow afternoon, I’ve had fun planning some special things ……………… including these fun French Piggies for the girlies.
Are you wondering why I call them “French”? ………….. They don’t look particularly sophisticated or debonair like you would expect “French” pigs to look? …………… I must agree, you’re quite right, but I do have a very authentic reason for calling them “French”. You see their made from a super simple, super delicious, croissant recipe which takes a fraction of the time and effort required than traditional French croissants. So they’re not only cute and fun…. they’re flaky, buttery and very delicious, just like the real deal!
I saw the “piggy” idea on a Croatian blog called Coolinarika (the literal translation is Smile – don’t you love that?!) I had a hard time deciphering the recipe, so I used my own croissant recipe, but their technique for the cute little pig faces. They turned out fun and perfect for a celebration, especially if you’re expecting “a herd”. Can you imagine the delight on your guest’s faces when they peek under under the white napkin in the bread basket and see these guys staring back out? ……………..
P.S. See the yummy jam in the photo? It’s become a favorite here at The Cafe; a fabulous Ruby Red Grapefruit & Strawberry Marmalade. It’s a quick and easy freezer marmalade, fresh and beyond delicious – check back later this week for the recipe!
French Piggy Croissant Rolls
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water,
¼ cup butter, melted
5 cups flour
1 cup cold butter
⅓ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
¾ cup whole milk
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1. Cut butter into small pieces and spread out on a dinner size plate. Place plate in the freezer while you’re doing steps 2 and 3.
2. Place warm water in a large bowl. Add yeast and sugar and stir well. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until foamy and bubbly.
3. Add melted butter, 1 cup of flour, sugar and salt and stir to combine. Cover with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 30 minutes.
4. Add milk and egg. Stir until smooth.
5. Put remaining 4 cups flour in the bowl of a food processor and add the 1 cup of cold butter. Mix briefly until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Don’t over mix, you want small bits of butter to make a flaky dough. Add to yeast mixture and stir until all flour is incorporated but again, don’t overmix. Cover and let sit in the fridge for 8 hours (or overnight).
6. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
7. Punch dough down and divide into two equal sections. Knead one section on a lightly floured surface about 6 times. Roll into a circle,1/4 inch thick. With a 3 inch circle cutter, cut as many circles as you can (about 12) and place them 2 inches apart on one of the prepared sheet pans.
8. Using leftover scraps of dough and a small circle cutter about 1 inch in diameter, (I used a turkey baster without the bulb) cut out same number of small circles for the noses.
9. For ears, use a slightly larger cutter (I used the lid of a spice container). about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Cut out half as many of these smaller circles. Cut each of these circles in half, then in quarters.
10. Brush larger circles with egg wash. Place smaller circles on lower center portion of circles for noses. Place two quartered sections on upper sides of circles for ears. Use peppercorns, coriander seeds or other small edible seeds for the eyes and the nostrils. Carefully brush all over with egg wash, trying to keep egg mixture from dripping onto parchment paper. Allow to rise for 20 minutes, uncovered.
11. Bake for 15 -20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool.
12. Repeat with remaining half of dough.