Have you ever tried to recreate your favourite french bakery classic? No? I can see why. I don’t bake pastries often, I had a terrible mille feuille incident a few months back and I haven’t revisited french classics. I was feeling particularly domesticated recently, finding myself with ample extra time to myself since I’m now a World Cup widow. Some people boredom drink and bake, I like to do both.

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Since 32 teams all playing each other generates a lot of hours of football to watch I though I would sneak in a nice home baked continental breakfast for two before kick off. Pain au raisins are my favourite French bakery classic, they’re stick, sweet and beautifully flakey. These are the perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee, so good you could close your eyes and imagine yourself sipping an espresso over looking the Seine.

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These pastries are a decadent mix of flaky pastry, plump raisins and a creamy rich custard filling. They take a little extra work and time but I assure you every bite is worth it. Try them out for your next coffee morning or split the recipe in 2 days and whip up the easiest most satisfyingly sweet lazy Sunday morning breakfast. I promise you will not regret it.

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Ingredients – Dough

  • 180g raisins
  • 180ml water
  • 4 teaspoons instant dried yeast
  • 120ml lukewarm water
  • 850 bread flour
  • 120ml cup milk
  • 180g granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 250 butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Ingredients – Custard / Creme Patissiere

  1. 4 egg yolks
  2. 60g caster sugar
  3. 25g plain flour
  4. 2 tbs cornflour
  5. 280ml milk
  6. 1tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Beat the eggs and sugar together with a whisk for a few minutes until pale.
  2. Whisk in the flour
  3. Heat the milk over the stove until just before its boiling
  4. Whisk the milk into the egg and sugar mixture
  5. Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan and heat until thick and creamy
  6. Take off the heat, cover with cling film and place in the fridge to cool.

Method

  1. Soak the raisins in the water, overnight preferably but if you can’t wait that long boil the water, pour over the raisins, pop it in the fridge then use when they’re cool.
  2. To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes in a mixing bowl. If you have a stand alone mixer use this.
  3. After 5 min, add the flour, milk, sugar, melted butter and salt to the yeast and mix on medium speed, for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is just firm enough to hold a shape.

  1. Roughly shape the dough into a ball and cover it with cling film. It needs to rest for about 30 min at room temperature.
  2. After 30 min, roll the dough into a rectangle roughly the size of an A4 piece of paper, cover it back up with the cling film and let it rise for about another 40 minutes.
  3. When the dough has risen, brush it with some melted butter and fold. The dough needs to be folded in on itself, fold one edge 2/3 of the way in and bring the opposite end in on top. The same as you would fold a letter. (see photo)Pastry.jpg
  4. Roll the dough back to its original a4 paper shape then fold the dough into thirds, again, and then cover with your gold old cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. After an hour you need to repeat this process once more.
  5. Roll the dough into a long thin rectangle about 80cm long by about 20cm wide and spread the custard over it. Drain the raisins and scatter them evenly over the custard. Roll the dough into a log (like a swiss roll) and cut it into 18 slices. Pop the slices into a greased baking tray with and give each one a few inches of space between each other. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them to rise again for 1 hour or until they have doubled in size.

This is where you can leave your creations in the fridge overnight and bake them in the morning to save time.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Beat the egg and 2 tablespoons of milk together to make an egg wash and brush over the pastries. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until they are flakey and golden brown.
  3. You can then enjoy them two ways. Sift some icing sugar over or leave plain and enjoy!

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I urge you to give these a go. If nothing else you will savour and appreciate them so much more the next time you order one in a cafe. Let me know how yours turned out but tagging @whatseatingmanchester in your social media post.

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