Pain aux raisins has got to be my absolute favourite pastry. I loved it before we moved to Paris and while we lived there I almost ate one of these on a daily basis (god knows how I was still able to fit through a doorway by the time I left Paris). I noticed while in Paris that pain aux raisins was typically made one of two ways, either with a brioche type dough or with croissant dough which is more common. Prior to making this recipe, I had a strong preference for the pain aux raisins made with croissant dough, but these, warm, straight out of the oven, I have to say are one of the best things I’ve eaten for a while. I think the Dr and I even did a fist bump after our first mouthful!
While we were in Paris, I took a baking class where we made pain aux raisins and one of the techniques was to soak the raisins in rum for an hour or two. Please feel free to include this step in this recipe, although I didn’t this time, it does create the most lusciously soft, plump raisins.
Pain aux raisins
Adapted from Flour Bakery
What you need:
- 1/2 basic brioche dough (see recipe)
- 1 cup raisins
For the pastry cream:
- 300g milk
- 100g caster sugar
- 1/4 cup low gluten/bread flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the glaze:
- 140g icing sugar
- 2-3 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
What to do:
Start by making the pastry cream. In a bowl mix the sugar, flour and salt. In another bowl or jug, blend the egg yolks together and then whisk in the flour mixture until completely mixed together. It should look pasty.
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk on medium heat until you can see bubbles forming on the outside. You don’t want it to completely come to a boil. Remove the milk from the heat and slowly pour into the flour/egg mixture, whisking constantly. When the milk has been fully mixed through, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and put it back on medium heat. Whisk the cream continuously for 3 mins or until it has thickened and come to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, whisk for 10 seconds and take the pan off the heat. Any longer and the cream may become grainy.
Push the pastry cream through a fine sieve into a bowl and then stir through the vanilla extract. Cover with cling film, placing the cling film directly against the pastry cream. Refrigerate until cold. This pastry cream can be made up to 3 days ahead.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle of 16 x 12 inches and about 1/4 inch thick. With the long side facing you, spread the pastry cream evenly all over the pastry and then sprinkle with raisins.
Starting from the side furthest away from you, roll the pastry towards you into a roll (like a swiss roll). Cut the ends off to make them even and clean.
Cut the roll into 10 equal slices with a long sharp knife about 1.5 inches wide. At this point you can wrap each piece in cling film and freeze for up to a week. When you want to thaw them either put them in the fridge overnight or on the bench for 2 to 3 hours and then proceed as follows.
On a baking tray lined with baking paper, put each piece cut side down spaced evenly. Cover lightly with cling film and proof in a warm place for about 2 hours or until the dough feels light and airy.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
Bake the pain aux raisins in the centre of the oven for 20-30mins or until the pastries are golden brown and paler in the middle.
Cool on the baking tray on a wire rack for 20-30mins
While the pastries are cooling, make the glaze by mixing sugar, 2 tbsp of water and vanilla extract until smooth. If the glaze needs to be thinned out to be spreadable, add the extra tbsp of water.
Spread the glaze liberally over the pain aux raisins while still warm.
Enjoy the pain aux raisins while still warm or within 4 hours of coming out of the oven. They will keep well in an air-tight container for up to 1 day and then warmed up for 5 mins in a 180C/350F oven.