Of the many reasons I love my dear sister—things like, you know, she’s always there for me, she’s one of the kindest and smartest people I know, and she is beyond generous with everything she does—I’ve recently homed in on one of the most important. Regardless of the time of day, regardless of the time of year, my sister—who is a gifted improvisational cook, by the way—always, ALWAYS has a batch of homemade pigs-in-the-blanket in the freezer.
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To my mind, having a steady supply of pastry-wrapped pork products close to hand is a sign of advanced intelligence. Because no matter which guests my sister has over at her place—be they grandparents or little nieces and nephews; food-loving lawyers, cops, or advertising executives; farmers, chefs, or restaurant owners; or me—it seems that all of them (excepting vegetarians, though I have seen even a few of those make exceptions for these little piggies) will unabashedly gobble up pigs-in-the-blanket.
Though we have no problem serving these bad-boys at, say, every gathering we will ever have, pigs-in-the-blanket are particularly crucial for winter parties, and they couldn’t be easier to prepare.
yield: Makes 20
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening
1/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 large egg yolk
10 frankfurters, ends trimmed and frankfurters halved crosswise
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Preheat oven to 375°F. and grease a large baking sheet. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and wheat germ. Blend in shortening with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl whisk together buttermilk or yogurt and yolk and stir into flour mixture, stirring until mixture just forms a moist dough. Knead dough 4 times on a floured surface and with a floured rolling pin roll out into a 12-inch square. Cut dough into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips and roll a strip around middle of a frankfurter until dough just overlaps. Cut pig-in-blanket free from strip and make 19 more pigs-in-blankets in same manner, arranging them, seam sides down, as they are made on prepared baking sheet. Pigs-in-blankets may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bake pigs-in-blankets in upper third of oven until pale golden, about 15 minutes. Makes 20 pigs-in-blankets. add notes
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