Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kitchen Cheat: Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Every now and then you stumble on a product or idea that has no real purpose other than making life easier in the kitchen. You could do it yourself, but if there's an easier option, why not take it? When strapped for cash or time, sometimes it's easier to let someone else do the work for you.

I call these concepts my Kitchen Cheats. 

So, quick and fun (and dangerous!!) discovery that I’m totally going to use for my next dinner party – Pillsbury Crescent Sheets. Oh my heck, it’s a total cheat, but I have no problem with that. Sometimes, you need something simple, to make something extraordinary, and if it can save me the time and energy of making a dough myself, heck yes, I’m going to do it!

(Photo from Pillsbury)

The concept is simple – you know the delicious Pillsbury Crescent Rolls you’ve been having for years? The buttery, flaky kind that come into die-cut triangles that you roll up into something akin to a croissant? Well, someone figured out that Pillsbury could make a boatload of money, (and home cooks could have a whole lot of fun!) by NOT cutting triangles into the dough and leaving it for the general public to figure out what to do with it. The cost is pretty decent – I bought 2 rolls for $4.00, and the time on it is pretty simple, too. About 10 minutes at 350°F will give you a nice, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside crust for whatever you’re making.

I’ve been seeing the recipes all over the place online and finally decided to investigate the possibilities for myself. Home cooks have been having a lot of fun with this one. I’ve seen recipes for Ham Florentine Mini Cups, Blue Cheese and Red Onion Jam Crescent Thumbprints, Bacon and Cheese Tartlets, Broccolli Braids, Stromboli…the list goes on and on. I saw everything from quick and easy party appetizers to full family dinners made simpler by having delicious buttery dough pre-made for you. (What family-man or woman couldn’t use a hand, right?)

I decided to start simple. When cooking, I like to see just what the product can do before I go getting all experimental with it. I figured a simple Baked Brie would be an easy way to test the waters, so to speak. I planned on making a nice, mushroom and brie dish to go on some crackers, but when I got home, I tasted the mushrooms I picked out. Ugh. They totally tasted…CHEMICAL. Like they’d been resting in a chlorine pool. Not good at ALL.

(See? This is why you should taste everything before you cook with it, right?)

So, I scrapped the mushrooms and decided to just wrap the brie and see what happened. Now, most recipes I saw called for an egg white wash. I opted for olive oil instead, but it worked. A quick brush over the crust of the brie, and I carefully laid the crescent roll over the top and used my fingers to pinch up the edges. I threw it in the oven at 375°F for about 12 minutes and waited.

(If you follow me at all, you know I’m awful with waiting. I peek under pot lids and crack open oven doors all the time, and today was no exception. I just get a weird bit of satisfaction out of watching bread get all golden and pretty.)
Let me tell you, my friends, this snack was AMAZING. The outer shell was crispy and golden, the inside of the brie was melty and warm. I cannot WAIT to try this out at my next event. I’m thinking of taking another stab at the mushrooms, or possibly trying a carmelized pecan layer in with the brie next time. I’m also looking forward to experimenting with the Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and finding out what else I can wrap and create. I already have an idea for a savory sweet potato tartlet…

**Should probably say that this blog is my opinion only, I didn’t get any money or goodies from Pillsbury for talking about them. I just found the product, decided to give it a shot, and wrote about it. **

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