Sunday, October 26, 2014

Crawfish “Pistolettes”

October 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Baked Goods, Feisty Fun, Jenn of NEB, Recipes

Crawfish Pistolettes

In the area of Louisiana known for its Cajun heritage, there is a wonderful seafood item known as the pistolette that I adore.  A pistolette is a small bit of bread, about the size of a dinner roll, stuffed with crawfish etouffee and rice.  The roll is typically deep fried when served.  When you find a pistolette that’s cooked just right, that first bite will make you moan in ecstasy.  Unfortunately, finding one cooked just right is the hard part.  Fried wrong, they can become leaden bombs that are on the complete opposite side of the taste spectrum.  I really love a good crawfish pistolette and am tired of trying to search for one on my own to purchase for a nice treat.  It was time to make one myself.  Be forewarned.  This is a long and time consuming recipe.  It’s one that you most likely make for a special meal or occassion.  Or just because you’ve been craving it so, so badly and decide to through a seafood dinner with your family featuring crawfish pistolettes, crabcakes, and steaks topped with crab meuniere (oh what a delicious night it was).

Crawfish Pistolettes

We’re going to start with a brown and serve roll recipe as our bread.  We’ll start with placing .55 oz of active dry yeast (16 grams) in a cup of warm tap water.  Set the yeast and water aside so that the yeast can proof.  It will bubble and foam.

Crawfish Pistolettes

While the yeast proofs, we’ll work with the rest of our liquid ingredients.  Scald six ounces of milk (3/4 cup) in a small saucepan.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Scalding milk is to bring the milk to just before the boiling point.  Look for your milk to bubble around the edges of the saucepan and to give off steam.  Scalding helps if you’re using aromatics/flavors in your recipe (such as vanilla) or if you need to melt butter or shortening.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Once the milk is heated to the scalding point, add 3.8 oz sugar (1/2 cup) and 0.4 oz salt (2 tsp).  Mix well until the sugar dissolves.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Next, add 1.5 oz (1/4 cup) shortening and continue to cook until the Crisco completely melts.  Do not let your milk boil.  In the event it seems your milk’s temperature is getting too hot and it might want to boil, reduce the temperature of your stove.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Once the shortening has been melted, remove the saucepan from the stove and allow the liquid ingredients to cool a bit.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Crawfish Pistolettes

By this point, your yeast should be nice and foamy.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Once the liquid ingredients have cooled to where there is no more steam and you can touch the saucepan without burning your hand, add the yeast/water mixture to the saucepan and mix everything together with a few swirls around the pan.

Crawfish Pistolettes

To a stand mixer, add 9-10 ounces of unbleached white flour to the mixing bowl.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Pour in the contents of the sauce pan.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Mix the ingredients until just incorporated.  Once mixed, continue to run the stand mixer and add an additional 9-10 ounces of flour, adding the flour a bit at a time.  The mixture will start to look like a dough; however, it will be a bit sticky.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Flour a work surface with 2.5 ounces (about 1/2 a cup) of flour and turn out the dough onto the surface.  Knead the last bit of flour required into the dough.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Coat a bowl with non-stick spray and place the dough into the bowl.  Turn the dough over before covering the bowl with plastic wrap or a dish towel.  When you turn over the dough, the top of it will be lightly greased where it touched the bottom of the bowl.  This is to prevent the dough from sticking to what you use to cover the bowl.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Set aside the covered bowl and allow the dough to rise in a warm spot for 90 minutes (or until doubled in size).

Crawfish Pistolettes

Once the dough has doubled, you need to punch it down.  I do this quite literally.  A balled fist into the middle of the dough with a light push.  It breaks down and expels the air that the yeast has produced.  Turn the dough out onto a surface and lightly knead it.  Divide the dough equally into 12 pieces.  My dough weighed about 36 ounces, making nice 3 ounce roll portions.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Roll each dough portion between your hands and shape into a slight oval, or football-like, shape.  Place rolls onto a greased pan and cover with a dish towel.  Allow rolls to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Once doubled in size, place rolls in a preheated 275 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes.  The goal is to bake the rolls until the inside is cooked and you’ve stopped the yeasts process, but to not allow the outside of the rolls to brown.  At this point, the brown and serve rolls are done.  If you desire, you can pick some up for later baking.  Brown and serve rolls can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for a week or two.  To finish cooking the rolls, pop them into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes to brown them.

But we want to stuff these rolls with a tasty filling.  Instead of refrigerating or freezing them, we’ll set them aside, covered with towel, and allow them to cool as we cook the filling.  I’m going to make a crawfish etouffe; however, feel free to fill these rolls with a sausage, shrimp, or other filling that you prefer.

Crawfish Pistolettes

To make the crawfish etoufee, place 3-4 tablespoons of butter in a pan and allow it to melt.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Add 2-3 cups of “creole seasonings” to the melted butter.  I buy this pre-chopped, either fresh or frozen, in supermarkets in my area.  It is typically a mixture of onion, bell pepper, celery, and parsley.  I also add two cloves of finely diced garlic to the pan as well.

Crawfish Pistolettes

To the pan you want to add your seasonings: black pepper, salt, onion powder, dried parsley, Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s), and garlic powder.  While we are using onions, parsley, and garlic in our etouffee, my mom has always taught me that adding a bit of these seasonings helps to deepen the flavor.

Crawfish Pistolettes

On a low heat, cook down your seasonings and vegetables until some of the mixture begins to fall apart and the butter browns a bit.  An etouffee is going to take time to cook.  Low heat and a long cooking time is the best.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Once the vegetables have sufficiently cooked down, add one pound of cleaned crawfish tails.  You can also substitute chopped shrimp instead of the crawfish.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Cook the crawfish a bit and then add a tablespoon of flour and 1/4 cup of water.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Mix the flour and water into the ingredients and continue to cook the mixture on a low heat.  As you cook, the water and flour mixes with the butter and thickens into a roux.  If your roux isn’t as browned as you like, continue to cook or add a bit of Kitchen Bouquet (my mom’s secret weapon) to the mixture.  As well, taste the mixture to see if it has the right flavor profile for you.  This etouffee wasn’t quite spicy enough for my tastes.  Like the Feisty Foodie, I am a bit of a spice wuss, but I do like my etouffe to have a small punch.  Either add cayenne powder or a few dashes of hot sauce to the etouffee.  Once cooked, remove the etouffee from its heat source and allow it to cool.

Crawfish Pistolettes

While the crawfish etouffee cools, cut each roll about 3/4 of the way down it’s length from top to bottom.  With your fingers, either scoop out the middle part of the roll or smoosh (that’s a technical cooking term HA!) the soft part to the sides.  You need to create a well on each side of the bread roll.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Fill the wells with crawfish etouffee.  If you desire, slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water) can be brushed around the inside edge of the roll to help close the cut roll.

Crawfish Pistolettes

Place stuffed rolls onto a pan (these were the two test bakes) and brush the tops with melted butter.  Bake the rolls in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Crawfish Pistolettes

I will admit that my test rolls I baked a wee bit too long (12/13 minutes).  Watch the temp of your oven and how long you’re baking.  I was distracted by photo taking as I worked on this recipe.  But the two test rolls weren’t burnt and were completely wonderful.  The remaining rolls were cooked to perfection and shared with family.  Everyone raved.  I can’t give a better recommendation than that.

Happy Baking everyone! ~Jenn of Not Exactly Bento


Ingredients for Bread:
Roll recipe taken from Cooks.com

  • 0.55 oz/16 grams (2 packets) of active dry yeast
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) water
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) milk
  • 3.8 oz (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 0.4 oz (2 tsp) salt
  • 1.5 oz (1/4 cup) Crisco
  • 20-23 oz (4 – 4.5 cup) flour

Ingredients for the Etoufee

  • 3-4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of pre-chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, and parsley
  • 2 cloves of finely diced garlic
  • The following seasonings to taste: black pepper, salt, onion powder, dried parsley, Cajun seasonings, garlic powder, and hot sauce
  • 1 pound of cleaned crawfish tails

Making the Bread Rolls

  • Measure all your ingredients out first.
  • Place the .55 oz of active dry yeast (16 grams) in a cup of warm tap water. Set the yeast and water aside so that the yeast can proof. It will bubble and foam.
  • While the yeast proofs, scald six ounces of milk (3/4 cup) in a small saucepan.
  • Once the milk is heated to the scalding point, add 3.8 oz sugar (1/2 cup) and 0.4 oz salt (2 tsp). Mix well until the sugar dissolves.
  • Next, add 1.5 oz (1/4 cup) shortening and continue to cook until the Crisco completely melts. Do not let your milk boil.
  • Once the shortening has been melted, remove the saucepan from the stove and allow the liquid ingredients to cool sufficiently.
  • Once the milk/shortening mixture has cooled sufficiently, add the water/yeast to the saucepan and stir together.
  • Add 10 ounces of unbleached white flour to a mixing bowl.
  • Pour in the contents of the sauce pan.
  • Using a stand mixer, mix the ingredients until just incorporated.
  • Once mixed, add an additional 10 ounces of flour, adding the flour a bit at a time.
  • Flour a work surface with 2.5 ounces (about 1/2 a cup) of flour and turn out the dough onto the surface. Knead the last bit of flour required into the dough.
  • Coat a large bowl with non-stick spray and place the dough into the bowl. Turn the dough over before covering the bowl with plastic wrap or a dish towel.
  • Set aside the covered bowl and allow the dough to rise in a warm spot for 90 minutes (or until doubled in size).
  • Once the dough has doubled, punch it down.
  • Turn the dough out onto a surface and lightly knead it.
  • Divide the dough equally into 12 portions and roll into football shaped dinner rolls.
  • Place rolls onto a greased pan and cover with a dish towel. Allow rolls to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Once doubled in size, place rolls in a preheated 275 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
  • Bake until the rolls are cooked but not browned.
  • Remove rolls from oven and set aside.

Making the Etoufee

  • Melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter in a pan.
  • Add 2 cups of pre-chopped “creole seasonings” to the pan: onion, bell pepper, celery, and parsley. Also add two cloves of finely diced garlic to the pan.
  • To taste add black pepper, salt, onion powder, dried parsley, Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s), and garlic powder.
  • On a low heat, cook seasonings and vegetables until some of the mixture begins to fall apart and the butter browns.
  • Once the vegetables have sufficiently cooked down, add one pound of cleaned crawfish tails.
  • Add a few drops of hot sauce.
  • Cook the crawfish for a few seconds and add a tablespoon of flour and 1/4 cup of water.
  • Add 1/8 tsp of Kitchen Bouquet.
  • Mix the flour and water into the ingredients and continue to cook the mixture on a low heat until the flour and water thicken into a roux-like base.
  • Once things seem well cooked and browned, taste to adjust seasonings and heat profile to your liking.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.

Assembling the Pistolettes

  • Cut each roll to open it.
  • Remove the soft interior of the roll, or “smoosh” the interior to the sides. You need to make a well for the crawfish etoufee.
  • Fill the roll with crawfish etouffee.
  • If desired, use a slurry of water/cornstarch to seal the rolls back together.
  • Place stuffed rolls onto a greased pan brush the tops with melted butter.
  • Bake the rolls in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, untile nicely browned.
  • Serve warm and cry with delight!
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Comments

6 Responses to “Crawfish “Pistolettes””
  1. TT says:

    those look awesome!

    but not worth the effort to make myself, haha

  2. T.C. says:

    Nice crawfish treat. I wonder how greasy and delicious the fried bread version is.

  3. CT says:

    Looks really good! Like TT, it might be a little too much effort for me… HOWEVER, it give me the great idea of buying parbaked rolls (i’m really averse to making breads, I don’t know why) and making my own etoufee to stuff them!

  4. Hungry says:

    These look fabulous! I can see why a lot of places don’t make it perfectly. Lots of steps and prep. But the reward looks delicious!

  5. Aimee Self says:

    Wow Jenn! They look great and that crawfish is gorgeous! Now if I could just bake like you…; )

  6. Tonisha says:

    I would make every effort making this bread. Its a bit much but gud gawd this looks scrumptious. I will be making this along with the crawfish bread tomorrow.

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