Pull-apart breads are alluring for their soft edges and communal approach, for the satisfaction of watching shards of bread tear away from one another as you remove your chosen morsel from the group. Pigs in blankets are a perfect match with this structure, but even if you don’t want a pull-apart presentation, I’ve got a related wrapping method that will significantly cut down your prep time: use the crescent roll dough as more of a blanket than ever before.
Here’s how it works: Unfurl your dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and divide it into two strips lengthwise, along the perforation. Pinch up the diagonal perforations to seal them. If you bought the kind sold as a single sheet, first, brava, because I rarely find them in stores, and second, use a knife to cut it in half lengthwise, leaving you with two long rectangles.
Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
Line up your piggies along the bottom edge. You can see nine dogs in the picture above, but later I squeezed in a few more per strip; 10 or 11 dogs will fit across the final dough with about a half-inch of space between them. Now it’s time to make a decision: You can wrap the dogs completely in pastry, in which case, you should place them so they are inside the line of the dough. You can also leave the end of the mini weenie out of the blanket. Both preparations have their merits: The fully wrapped dogs bake up tender and soft, and hold in the juices of the sausage, while the peek-a-boo variety are a little drier, and have a pleasant chew, because they’ve been exposed to the oven’s direct heat.
Top: Chopstick pressing between the dough, bottom: pressed, sliced, and beginning to shape. Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
Starting in the middle, pull the far side of the dough up and over the dogs. (Covering them completely? You’ll have to give it a stretch.) If your dough rips over the perforations, pinch and press it back together – it’s forgiving stuff. Next, use a chopstick, your tiny pinky finger, or the butt of a paring or butter knife to firmly press the dough between each weenie to seal the two layers together. Cut through this sealed spot but leave the folded end of the dough intact. (If the pastry was a book cover, it’s the side you’d call the spine.) Press and seal any edges that might have opened up.
Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
You can stretch the pigs in blankets slightly apart to create a long chain of pull-apart dogs to fit on your rectangular charcuterie board. You can spiral the dogs like a snail, or you can zig-zag them. I did a classic wreath shape so I could serve with a small bowl of dip in the middle. Whatever you choose, make sure the dogs are about a ¼-inch from one another, with room to puff as they bake, while creating the weak connection that is ideal for pull-apart breads. Leave them plain, or sprinkle the dogs with everything bagel seasoning, garlic powder, or za’atar. Bake according to the pastry’s package directions.
Even if you don’t want your dogs to be pull-apart, this method is remarkably faster than individually wrapping each dog. By streamlining the procedure into three moves (lining up the dogs, pressing the dough, and cutting the dough) you’ll be finished in a fraction of the time. It’s a method especially worth trying if you’re doing a big batch of a few dozen piggies. You’ll spend less time wrapping, and more time snacking.
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