Remember that a few months ago I shared with you the recipe of how to make the perfect French Croissants? Well, today I am back with another French breakfast classic: Pain aux Raisins. During my frequent Parisian visits as a child, I would always have pain au chocolat for my breakfast, while my parents would have pain aux raisins… I used to somehow dislike the combination of flaky dough and raisins together. This made me think of how tastes change over the years… there are so many things I would not appreciate as a child and that I adore as a grown up… and so many others I would crave for all the time, and I don’t any more! So weird. Anyhow, when we visited French Polynesia (Tahiti) last August, we had some AMAZING croissants, pain au chocolat and pain aux raisins and the latter were the highlight of my daily breakfast at the Hilton in Moorea, together with their Firi Firi. They were THE BEST ever, even better than the ones we (well, my parents) used to have in Paris. They were flaky, but soft and full of pastry cream. There you have it… to tell you the truth, I had never realised that Pain aux Raisins was filled with pastry cream… I guess the ones of my childhood used to be a bit more on the “dry side”, while in Moorea I experienced the softest (yet crunchy) pastries ever. Being that croissants, pain au chocolat and pain aux raisins are all made with the same croissant dough… when I made croissants, I also tried my hands at making these Pains aux Raisins. The result was PERFECT and once again, they became my favourite from the lot of pastries I baked. And the reason is the filling. Putting pastry cream in them, makes them soft and creamy on the inside, while remaining crunchy on the outside, and this makes you want to go back for more! Also, do spend a few extra minutes to make the glaze. While it does not add any taste, the gloss makes them look extra yummy and worthy of a Parisian (or Polynesian??) pâtisserie! Make a full dose of dough and make both croissants and pain aux raisins, or make all pains aux raisins and freeze them for later! You will thank me! Enjoy! 🙂
Pain aux Raisins
The recipe for the perfect French Pain aux Raisins: flaky, buttery, soft yet crunchy on the outside!
- For the dough
- 750 gms – 3 cups all purpose flour
- 14 gms – 2 packets yeast
- 110 gms – 4 oz. + 2 tsp sugar
- 70 gms – 5 tbsp milk
- 18 gms – ¾ tbsp salt
- 53 gms – 3 ¾ tbsp butter at room temperature
- 23 gms – 1 ½ tbsp milk powder
- 300 gms – 1 ¼ cup water
- For the beurrage
- 490 gms – 4 1/3 sticks butter divided in two (at room temperature)
- For the egg wash
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 lt – 4 cups Crème pâtissière made with 1 lt – 4 cups of milk
- Raisins softened in warm water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
Sift the flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Add the salt, 110 gms – 4 oz. sugar, milk powder, milk and the 53 gms – 3 ¾ tbsp of soft butter.
Dissolve the yeast in half of the water (make sure it is lukewarm) and the 2 tsp of sugar and keep it aside to activate. When frothy, add it to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.
Knead the dough only until all the ingredients are just combined (do not overwork it as you do not want to develop the gluten in the flour). Add the remaining water as required to obtain a smooth dough.
When ready, make it into a ball and put it in a bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap and let the dough rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
Punch down the dough, pushing down on it with your fist to give it its initial size. Cover with cling wrap again and store it in the fridge for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Punch it down once more to its initial size.
At this point you can either continue with the recipe or store the dough in the refrigerator for the next day. In either case, first chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes.
When you're ready to continue with the recipe, take the dough out of the fridge and roll it into a long rectangle. Cover it in cling wrap and put it back in the fridge while you prepare your butter for the beurrage.
To make things easier, take 2 pieces of baking paper and measure them against the rolled out dough. You want to make 2 paper rectangles, each that measures 2/3 of the rolled out dough. Make a “packet” out of it so you can roll your butter inside it, without it escaping from all sides. (The packet is made by folding each paper in half. Then for about 1 inch/2.5cm on the 3 open edges, fold them inward starting with the 2 sides.)
Now divide your butter in 2 equal pieces and put them into the 2 open paper packets. Close the paper packets and roll it from the outside until it fills the packets completely. – The original recipe calls for butter from the fridge but I actually used the butter at room temperature and it worked just as well. Once the packets are evenly rolled, put them back in the fridge to firm up again. Make sure that both your rolled butter and rolled dough are very cold before proceeding or you will end up with butter everywhere and your pains aux raisins will not come out.
When your butter has firmed up again remove the paper from only one of them, take your cold dough out of the fridge and position the rectangle of butter on the lower two thirds of the rectangle. Now give it a simple turn (which means folding the bottom third up – butter on butter – and then folding the top third of the dough down, over itself). When looking at the dough now, you should see 3 layers. The steps are shown in the pictures.
Roll out the dough into a long rectangle again and repeat the same simple 3 fold turn, but without adding any more butter.
Now cover the folded dough in cling wrap and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, then in the fridge for 1 hour.
Now roll out the dough again into a long rectangle approximately the same size as before, and repeat the same simple 3 fold turns, the first one with the remaining butter and the next one without.
Make sure you flour your work surface regularly so that the dough doesn't stick. And use a brush to remove the flour when you fold the dough.
Now you should have made 4 single turns in all, one with added butter, one without, a rest period, then one turn with the second packet of butter and another with no added butter.
The dough is now ready, but I suggest you leave it in the fridge overnight to rest so it will be much easier for you to shape your pain aux raisins (and the butter will firm up again and it won’t leak everywhere. Don’t be hasty, you don’t want to ruin all your hard work!).
The next day, divide the dough in 3 pieces and roll them into 2.5 mm – 0.1 inch thick sheets (if the dough starts to become warm, put it back in the fridge to cool down – I find it easier to work on 1 piece of dough at a time, while keeping the rest covered in the fridge).
Drain, rinse and dry the raisins.
Spread 1/3 of the pastry cream on 1 of the rolled dough rectangles and sprinkle 1/3 of the raisins on the top.
Roll the dough on itself starting from the larger edge, as if you were making a Swiss roll.
Wrap the roll of filled dough with cling wrap and place it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes – in the meantime repeat the same process for the rest of the dough.
When the wrapped rolls have hardened a bit, you can cut them into neat 2.5 cm – 1 inch slices using a sharp knife.
Put the slices on a baking tray covered with baking paper, leaving 5 cm – 2 inches of space between them.
Let them rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours at room temperature. Make sure to loosely cover them with cling wrap so the surface doesn't dry out.
Bake them for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on their size), or until golden brown in an oven which has been preheated to 220°C – 430°F and lowered to 190°C – 375°F immediately after putting them in.
In a small sauce pan, bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil and make a syrup.
Once the pains aux raisins have been baked, brush them with the syrup and put them back in the oven for an extra 2 minutes. This will make them look glossy and even more mouth-watering!
Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before eating them!
As making pains aux raisins is quite time consuming, I suggest you make the above full dose. You can freeze them after you bake them, just let them cool down completely before wrapping them in foil. When you want to eat them, simply take them out of the freezer and put them in a pre-heated oven at 190°C – 375°F for 5 minutes.
Lizzy (Good Things) says
Manuela, this looks mouthwateringly good!
Betsy @ Desserts Required says
These look amazing. I wish I lived near you. I would simply bring over some coffee and enjoy what you baked! 🙂
Oh boy, I wish I had one of those right now! I also wish I hadn’t just decided to settle on olives and chevre for dinner.
Manuela, I love your new recipes. I read your blog and was so excited. I just came across it and now I am reading it like crazy. I love to make all my own breads. Thanks for such a wonderful blog.
Awww thank you so much Bea!!! 🙂
New Zealand Guy says
Thank you so much for sharing your recipe and for the step by step instructions. I made them today. You made something complex into something simple. I am in New Zealand by the way and want to go to Tahiti.
Thanks! I am so glad you liked my recipe and you found it helpful! 🙂 You will LOVE Tahiti! I would love to go back one day!
Question: can I make the crème pâtisserie a day in advance, or must it be done immediately before?
You can definitely make it the day before and keep it in the fridge. Make sure you cover it with cling wrap when it’s still warm, so you don’t get the skin on the top. 🙂
Hello, this looks delicious! Do you use salted or unsalted butter ? Thanks.
Hi Miriam. I always used unsalted butter. 🙂
I am not sure if you still check this…but when you say use only half the water I don’t see where I am supposed to use the other half….??
Hi Kathy! Thanks for letting me know! I will fix the recipe immediately. The original idea is that it make take a little less than 300 grams of water and to add it slowly while kneading. That’s why I said to dissolve the yeast in half the water – I will fox the rest. 🙂 However, I made this recipe a few times and 300 grams has always worked for me. 🙂 Enjoy!
Thank you for the recipe. When you write yeast, is it dry or “alive” yeast?
Hej Signe! I always use dry active yeast (in powder), as that’s what I usually find at the supermarket here in Australia. Happy baking and let me know how you like these Pains aux raisins. 🙂 Knus!
Janet Levy says
I have a few questions about ingredients.
1) Do you use active dry, rapid rise or instant yeast?
2) For the milk powder, is that nonfat dried milk?
3) Are you using butter that is 82% butterfat or “European-style” butter?
Hi Janet. I always use active dry yeast. For this recipe, I’d recommend a higher fat content. I use full cream/full fat dried milk powder. Also, I am not sure about the 2 kinds of butter you mention, as both in Europe and in Australia, we only have “normal” butter. The one I use is 83.6% butterfat. I hope it helps. 🙂
super content d’avoir trouve ton site !!! excited about trying to make this recipe today.