Ever heard of schnecken? Neither had I, but it turns out these are the German version of the Chelsea buns. The pastries, whose name literally means ‘snails’ and clearly refers to their pinwheel shape, are made from a dough enriched with sour cream and are usually topped with a sticky cinnamon glaze. Now, the pastries below only have the shape of a schnecke, but are in fact pinwheels – sweet ones, to be precise. The recipe comes from a very interesting book I bought on my last trip to Spain: Bollería, by Xavier Barriga. This Basque pastry chef, who I understand is a bit of a celebrity, has some really fresh takes on some pastry classics, such as roulades, brioches and, obviously, pinwheels.
The yeasted and laminated dough is the same as you would use for croissants, except faster, no fuss and a lot tastier. In fact, you could use the same dough to make croissants or pains au chocolat! The filling here is gorgeous: fresh strawberry jam dotted with dark chocolate chips and sprinkled with pistachios. The chips tend to melt slightly in the hot jam, while the pistachios retain their crunch, thus providing for a feast for the senses both in terms of flavour and texture. I have made my own cheat’s strawberry jam here, but feel free to use a shop-bought one if you prefer.
Ingredients (for the pastry)
- 500g strong bread flour
- 10g salt
- 40g caster sugar
- 25g unsalted butter, melted
- 250ml icy cold water
- 1 x 7g sachet of fast action yeast
- 280g unsalted butter, fridge-cold
Ingredients (for the strawberry jam)
- 300g strawberries
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp plum jam
- 1 tsp corn flour
- 1 tbsp water
Ingredients (for the filling & decoration)
- 50g dark chocolate chips
- 70g pistachios, roughly ground
- 1 medium egg, slightly beaten
- Start with the pastry, so then you have plenty of time to chill it. The rising is left to the very last phase and the dough should be kept as cold as possible to avoid proving.
- If you have a freestanding mixer, put all of the ingredients in there and mix with the hook attachment until a soft dough forms. You might have to add some extra water or keep some back from the quantity above, this depends on the weather conditions and, most importantly, on your flour. Turn out the dough onto a work surface (don’t flour it!) and knead until smooth and pliable. Roll the dough to a ball and place it in a bowl, then cover with cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least 1 hour.
- In the meantime, you can make your strawberry jam. Wash, hull and halve the strawberries and put them in a saucepan over a medium heat with the sugar. Stir occasionally, until the sugar has melted and mixed with some of the strawberry juices. Leave to cook for about 15 minutes, until the strawberries have lost their shape and you are left with a slightly mushy purée. Now add the plum jam and mix that in. In a small bowl, mix the corn flour with the water, then pour that in. This will help to thicken the jam. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then once you have reached a spreadable consistency tumble the jam into a small bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool down completely.
- Once your dough has rested enough, take it out of the fridge and punch down it. Turn it out onto a slightly floured surface, then roll it out to a large rectangle. Place the cold butter between two sheets of baking parchment, then use a rolling pin to bash it down and make it both pliable and slimmer. You are aiming for 1cm thick and the width of half of your pastry rectangle. Once your butter has been beaten into submission, place it on one half of the pastry and pull the rest of the pastry on top to cover it. Press it down to seal the pastry around the butter, then turn the rectangle around so that the shorter edge is facing you and start rolling the pastry up and down. You want to distribute the butter evenly and stretch the pastry to a long thinnish rectangle. Once you have doubled the length of the pastry, fold the top third back on itself and the bottom third on top of this one, then give the dough a 90 degree turn and repeat.
- Repeat this procedure for a total of 4 times, then wrap the pastry in cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours. You will notice that towards the end of the last turn the pastry will not roll out as much as before: this is due to the gluten in the pastry, so it needs to rest to allow the gluten to relax.
- Once you pastry has had plenty of chilling time, take it out of the fridge and roll it out to a big rectangle, approximately 25x50cm. Use a sharp knife to trim the edges.
- Spread an even layer of jam on top, leaving about 2 cm alongside one of the longer edges (this will help when rolling it up). Sprinkle the chocolate chips and about 2/3 of the ground pistachios on top, then get rolling! Starting from the long edge (the one without the big border), start rolling the pastry on itself and try to make it into a tight roll. Once you have created your sausauge-like roll, wrap it in clingfilm and chill it for another 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, line two baking trays with parchment.
- Take your sausage-like roll out of the fridge, unwrap it and use a very sharp knife to cut even slices, approximately 1cm thick. Don’t worry if they look a bit squashed when you put them on your tray, they will turn out beautifully in the oven. Put the slices evenly spaced on the tray and leave to prove for 1 hour in a warm environment. Towards the end of the proving time, pre-heat your oven to 210C.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until golden on top, then turn the oven down to 180C and bake for a further 7 minutes to ensure the centre is cooked too. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on wire racks, then enjoy!