Pains au Chocolat

Croissant dough takes, as my son would say, “a minute”. For those of us older than 40, “a minute” means serious time.  It’s not your everyday dough. Christmas breakfast calls for something special, though, so 3AM did not seem an unreasonable hour for kneading.

With no one but Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd keeping me company in the wee hours (can you guess the movie?), unto us this day a batch of pains au chocolat was born.

DSC_0040_3187 copyCroissant dough:

  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 500 all-purpose flour
  • 12 g fine salt
  • 50 super fine sugar
  • 275 g butter, cold but not hard
  • eggwash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk)

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Dissolve the yeast in the milk.

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Put the flour, salt and sugar in an electric mixer with a dough hook and mix on low gradually adding the yeast and milk mixture… Previously, this is the point in the recipe  where I would just curse and begin mixing feverishly by hand but (if you didn’t already notice in the previous pictures)…. this year I have a fancy new mixer!

Yes! Santa came early and brought me my Christmas wish. Thank you, Santa! Much love to you who shall remain nameless… xxx

DSC_0005_3152 copyDSC_0006_3153 copyStop mixing when the dough comes away from the sides. BTW, I had to add a little more milk to the recipe to get the right texture in the mixer.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size (45 – 60 minutes). Knock back the dough by flipping it over to let the carbon gas escape. Cover the bowl again and chill for 4 hours. Now do you see why I got up at 3AM?

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Shape the dough into a ball and cut a cross in the center about 1 1/4″ deep. Roll out the 4 sides into flaps.

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Bash the holy heck out of your butter until it’s a flat rectangle. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Place it in the center of the dough and fold the flaps over to envelop the butter completely.

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DSC_0013_3160 copyFirst turn: On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough into a rectangle about 24″ x 12″. Fold in three.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Second turn: Turn your dough a quarter turn, roll it out and fold into thirds again. Chill for another 30 minutes.

Third turn: Yes, do it all again.  Chill for 30 minutes (but no more than an hour).

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Now roll the chilled dough into a rectangle about 20″ x 18″ and 1/4″ thick.

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Cut the rectangle into 4 long bands about 4 1/2″ wide. Cut the bands into 2 3/4″ – 3″ rectangles. I did one band at a time.

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Lay a stick of semi-sweet chocolate about 1 1/4″ from the top of the rectangle. Fold the top over and lay another chocolate strip at the cut edge. Fold again to envelop the chocolate.

DSC_0023_3170 copyDSC_0024_3171 copyDSC_0025_3172 copyTransfer these beauties to a baking sheet and brush lightly with egg wash. Put them in a proofer and let rise for 2 hours.

Don’t have a proofer? Sure you do. Heat a small bowl of water to boiling in your microwave (about 3 minutes). Now you have a well insulated little steam box, which is all a proofer is, really. Scoot the bowl aside and put your baking sheet(s) in. For a 2 hour proof, I take my sheets out and “resteam” the box about every 30 minutes.

As an aside, this is also a great way to clean your microwave. Just steam and wipe. But I digress…

DSC_0028_3175 copyWhen the pastries are about double in size, preheat your oven to 340 degrees. Brush them again lightly with egg wash and bake for 12 minutes, or until golden.

Transfer to a wire rack and serve warm. Merry Christmas, ya’ll.

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This recipe is from the always fabulous Michel Roux’s, “Pastry”.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sandy says:

    They turned out beautifully !


    1. Gretacooks says:

      Thanks, Sandy! I made some to freeze so I’m still enjoying them. 🙂


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