With crawfish season in full swing, now is the time to make Chef Meg Bickford’s elevated take on this seasonal favorite, which incorporates several cheeses, as well as herbs, sundried tomatoes and mushrooms into a brioche dough with the crawfish. This is one of those all-day or weekend projects for the serious kitchen geek. It is worth the effort but knowing most mere mortals (this includes me) will shy away from sourcing mozzarella cheese curds and making brioche dough from scratch, Bickford offers some substitutions, which we share in the Notes section.

  1. Mozzarella cheese curds are available at Restaurant Depot.
  2. BelGioioso brand fresh mozzarella may be substituted for the crab boil mozzarella. Cut two pounds of drained fresh mozzarella into 1/4-inch cubes and use it as instructed to use the crab boil mozzarella curds. 
  3. Can’t get your head around that brioche dough? That’s OK, neither could I. As a substitution Bickford recommends store-bought raw pizza dough or bread dough. I used Bridgeford bread dough from the freezer section at Rouses. The dough comes in packages of three frozen loaves. For each loaf of crawfish bread, you will need 1 1/2 loaves of the defrosted dough. Bundle 1 1/2 loaves of the raw dough together then roll out into a 12-inch long by 10-inch-wide rectangle and continue with recipe as directed above
  4. To achieve the popovers as pictured above, I stuffed a cut pinwheel into each of six one-cup wells in a non-stick popover pan. Bake until the bread is deep golden then allow the popover to cool completely to room temperature before inverting the pan or they will break up. One-cup muffin tins could also be used. Popover pans are available on Amazon.

Creole Crawfish Bread Popovers



20-24 servings


  • 9 1/2 tablespoons warm whole milk

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon yeast

  • 1 1/2 pounds all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

  • 6 large eggs

  • 1 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen cheese curds, chilled 

  • 1 gallon hot water (160-165° F) seasoned with
    3 tablespoons crab boil powder

  • 1 gallon warm water (90-100° F)

  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced

  • 4 ribs celery, diced

  • 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms (cremini, oyster, or shitake) sliced

  • 8 ounces sundried tomato, rehydrated and chopped

  • 2 pounds crawfish tails

  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

  • Creole seasoning to taste (start with 1/2 tablespoon)

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 pounds pepper jack cheese, diced or shredded

  • 2 pounds diced “crab boiled” mozzarella cheese (see recipe, above)

  • 4 large eggs

  • 4 tablespoons water


  • First, make the brioche dough 
  • Combine the milk, honey, and yeast together in a small bowl to make the sponge. Place bowl in a warm place (such as on top of an oven) to allow it to bloom (foamy bubbles will appear on top of the mixture, it will become fragrant, and it will begin to rise), 5 to 10 minutes. 
  • Add the flour, salt, and black pepper to a stand mixer fitted with a straight dough hook. 
  • Add the yeast mixture to the flour in the mixer. Mix on slow speed for 3 minutes. 
  • Crack the eggs in a separate bowl and add to mixer all at once. Knead on slow speed for 15 minutes. 
  • Add the butter in stages, allowing the additions to incorporate before adding more. Continue kneading on slow speed until the dough has a smooth and satiny appearance, 10 to15 minutes more. 
  • Add the butter in stages, allowing the additions to incorporate before adding more. Continue kneading on slow speed until the dough has a smooth and satiny appearance, 10 to15 minutes more. 
  • Punch the dough down to release the trapped air. Loosely cover with plastic and set in refrigerator overnight (Keep in mind the dough will grow again, so give it room in a large bowl or container). 


  • Make the crab boiled mozzarella cheese curds
  • Cut the mozzarella curd into 1-inch cubes. 
  • Place the cut curds in a large mixing bowl and pour just enough warm water to cover. Never pour water directly on top of the curds, instead pour the water along the sloped side of the bowl to gently envelope the curds. This brings the curds to temperature gradually.
  • Let the curds stand for a few minutes until they have warmed through. Test by picking the largest piece of curd in the bowl and splitting it open. If it still feels cold on the inside, pour some water off and reintroduce warm water. Warming the curds through helps them melt evenly once hot water is introduced.
  • When the curds have warmed through, drain off the water from the warm curds. Pour the hot seasoned water (160°F) around the edges of the bowl. Let the curds sit for about 2 minutes until they begin to soften and melt. Use a wooden spoon to gently fold the curds over each other in the bowl. The temperature of the water should be uncomfortably hot to the touch. If the temperature drops, skim off some warm water and add hotter water to raise the temperature of the bowl. 
  • Keeping the curd mass submerged in super-hot water, gently pull one end of it away from your body while pushing the rest in the bowl with your other hand. Imagine you are straightening a long stocking. Keep as much of the ball submerged under water as possible. This will keep the curd smooth and silky.
  • Once the curd is loosely elastic and stretched, pour off excess water and place cheese into a baking dish to set. Once the cheese cools and firms up, cut the cheese into 1/4-inch cubes.


  • Make the crawfish filling:
  • Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  • Add the onions, peppers and celery, sauté until translucent, about 7 minutes. 
  • Add the mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and liquid from mushrooms has moistly evaporated, about 10 to 13 minutes. 
  • Fold in the crawfish and herbs. Season with Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper. 
  • Turn heat off and let mixture set for about 10 minutes. 
  • Fold in one pound of pepper jack cheese. The cheese should not be completely melted. 
  • Spoon mixture on to a sheet tray and cool in the refrigerator. 
  • Once cooled, fold in the remaining pound of pepper jack cheese and the mozzarella cheese.


  • Assemble and bake the crawfish bread: 
  • First, make the egg wash by beating the eggs with the water. 
  • Cut the brioche dough ball into two even pieces. Allow brioche dough to temper for a few minutes before rolling the dough into two rectangles of equal size, about 12 inches long and 10-inches wide. 
  • Brush the dough with the egg wash and season with Creole seasoning. Reserve the remaining egg wash.
  • Place the chilled filling on the long side of one of the dough rectangles, leaving one inch from the edge to seal. Spread half of the filling evenly across the dough to create an even layer, about the same height as the dough itself.
  • Roll the dough like a pinwheel as tight as you can to create a log, sealing at the end with the inch of clean dough. 
  • Repeat the process with the remaining rectangle of dough.
  • With a serrated knife, saw the rolled dough logs into portions, turning pinwheel side up (they should resemble a savory cinnamon roll).
  • To bake, place the rolls of crawfish bread into two oiled 9-X-13 baking dishes, tucked closely together. Cover and proof again in a warm place until the rolls puff up about twenty-five percent in size, about 15 minutes in a 70 ºF room. 
  • Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
  • Gently brush tops of the pinwheels with egg wash and bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.