Pigs in a blanket are one of those classic food snacks that are best served hot — I can’t envisage any person wanting their little piggies plated cold with cold beverage.
But when you have a lot of batches already baked, and they’re getting cold pretty fast, what can you do to keep them warm for later? Without scorching or burning them?
In this article, we’ll explore the different techniques you can try out to keep your freshly baked pigs in a blanket warm after bringing them out from the oven.
Keep Them Warm In A Crock Pot
The Crock Pot is a popular kitchen appliance commonly used to keep food items warm after bringing them down from the heat. You can use it to achieve the same goal with pigs in a blanket.
To use a slow cooker to keep pigs in a blanket warm, follow the procedure below.
First, create a layer of pigs in a blanket in the bottom of the slow cooker (making sure to spread them well), after which you top it with parchment paper and create a second layer over the parchment paper.
Continue in this fashion until you can no longer create a layer of the piggies in your crock pot. Lid the pot and proceed to set it to the “Low” or the “Keep Warm” setting — 165°F.
The layer of parchment paper will help prevent the pigs in a blanket on top from sticking to the ones underneath them, even though the pigs in a blanket right next to each other can still stick together, but it’s way easier to separate them when stuck in this manner than from top to bottom.
Using the slow cooker method, you should be able to keep your pigs in the blanket warm for at least 2 hour or more, but make sure to remove them as early as you can to avoid over cooking them “under low heat” which will cause moisture from the sausage and dough to evaporate and be trapped inside and outside of the dough and make it a bit soggy.
Keep Them Warm In The Oven
While the oven is another method you can use to keep pigs in a blanket warm, and even build a layer of satisfying crunch on them, it’s not always recommended for such a purpose due to how easily it is to scorch or even burn the pigs in a blanket.
Using the oven method, your pigs in the blanket would only be able to keep for 30 minutes to 1 hour, provided you diligently follow the steps provided below.
So how do you warm your cold pigs in the blanket in the oven?
First, make sure the pigs in the blanket have cooled down a bit by letting them sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Next, do not preheat, but put them (layered on a cookie sheet) in an oven set to the lowest heat possible, or 225°F. Keep them in there for no longer than 1 hour, making sure to consistently check them to avoid scorching.
If you find that the oven gets too hot along the way, you can keep the door ajar so heat can escape from the interior of the oven which will reduce the temperature inside to one that easily accommodates warming.
Use A Warming Tray
By far, the best method to keep your pigs in a blanket warm is the warming tray. If you have one, skip the oven and crock pot and go for it, because it does a lot more and doesn’t come with all the problems that both techniques do: sogginess as well as scorching or burning.
The only downsides to this method is that you can only do small batches at a time, and so if you’re hosting a party at home or elsewhere with the warming tray transported, that might prove a constraint for you.
To warm pigs in a blanket using a warming tray, place them on the heatproof tray in a single layer and maintain them at a warm setting.
Can You Serve Pigs In A Blanket Cold?
You can serve pigs in a blanket cold if you want, but the normal and best way to serve it is when it’s warm. Cold pigs in a blanket will deliver a softer texture on the crust and a milder flavor of the sausage inside. Hot, however, are both crispy and bold in flavor.
To serve pigs in a blanket cold, allow them to cool to room temperature, but never leave them to sit for longer than 2 hours outside especially when the ambient temperature is above 70°F. They can harbour bacteria in the sausage which can make you sick when you consume it.
You can even use the refrigerator to cool things down quickly. Simply pop them inside the oven, uncovered, right after bringing them down from the heat.
Cold pigs in a blanket can be served in the exact same way as the hot variety: with ketchup mustard, ranch dressing, hot or cold beverage, sauce etc.
Can You Make Pigs In A Blanket Ahead Of Time And Reheat?
Pigs in a blanket really don’t need all that prep ahead work due to how easy it is to make them, but if for some reason you want to have them ready beforehand, then it’s possible to make pigs in a blanket ahead of time and reheat them for later.
You can do that in two ways actually. Either baked or unbaked.
For the baked version, cook everything according to the recipe instructions and let them cool on the counter while keeping a watchful eye on the 2 hour threshold dictated by food safety guidelines.
Next, transfer them to a plastic storage bag or even container and seal properly (remove as much air as possible from the bag). Place them in the refrigerator to store for no more than 3 days.
When you’re ready to serve, reheat them in the oven for about 4 to 5 minutes or until they heat through completely. You can also use the microwave to reheat them, but make sure to do so at bursts of 10 seconds to prevent running into a stiffened end product.
For the unbaked version, you’re quite limited in the amount of time you can store them in the fridge. They will only keep for several hours or overnight.
To save pigs in a blanket the unbaked style, follow the recipe up till the point of wrapping the drought around the sausage. Do so, but hold back on the egg wash.
Layer them on a cookie sheet that can fit comfortably inside your fridge. Cover the top with a plastic wrap and place them inside the refrigerator to store.
When you’re ready to use them, brush the egg wash on them and bake for the amount of time specified in the recipe.
How Do You Keep Pigs In A Blanket From Getting Soggy?
If your pigs in a blanket ever turned soggy in dry storage like the counter (after bringing them out of the oven), it’s because of moisture accumulation on the inside caused by the sausage.
Note also that storing your pigs in a blanket in a tight covering outside the refrigerator can also cause moisture to be trapped inside the covering which would deposit on the crust and make it soggy.
Warming them in a humid medium like the crock pot too can lead to sogginess.
For the first cause which is related to the sausage inside, make sure to use the specified type of dough which is mostly puff pastry or croissant dough and pat dry the sausage with a paper towel to remove excess moisture on it before wrapping it with the dough.
When warming pigs in a blanket with the slow cooker, it would help to have them baked in the oven with an egg wash layer which would help develop a crispy layer that becomes tough for moisture to penetrate.
It would also help to bake pigs in a blanket at a high temperature for a short duration of time as opposed to lower temperature in a shorter duration of time which will cause a quick evaporation of any moisture that may accumulate.
How Long Can Pigs In A Blanket Sit Out?
Pigs in a blanket, because they contain meat product in them, are not recommended to be left out for longer than 2 hours after baking, 1 hour if the ambient temperature is above 70°F, according to food safety guidelines.
Beyond this time, bacteria can easily grow in the sausage as the food cools down which can cause food poisoning when ingested.
The best way to handle pigs in a blanket after bringing them out from the oven is to either keep them warm using the techniques we mentioned above, or refrigerate them for 3 to 4 days.