--from How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. Ryland Peters & Small; $27.95
Makes about 19
- 2 cups white bread flour
- 11⁄2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 g fresh yeast or 11⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1⁄2 cup warm water
- 10 tablespoons butter, slightly soft
- 1 cup (dark) raisins
- smooth apricot jam, for glazing
- confectioners’ sugar, for glazing (optional)
- 21⁄2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper
1) In one (smaller) mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt together. This is the dry mixture.
2) In another (larger) mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. This is the wet mixture.
3) Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix until it comes together.
4) Cover with the bowl that had the dry mixture in it.
5) Let stand for 10 minutes.
6) After 10 minutes, the dough is ready to be kneaded. Leaving it in the bowl, pull a portion of the dough up from the side and press it into the middle. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat this process with another portion of dough. Repeat another 8 times. The whole process should only take about 10 seconds and the dough should start to resist.
7) Cover the bowl again and let stand for 10 minutes.
8) Now repeat Steps 6 and 7 twice. Repeat Step 6 one last time.
9) Cover and let rest in the refrigerator overnight. If you are using active dry yeast, let the dough to rise for another 30 minutes at room temperature before putting it into the refrigerator overnight. This will give the yeast a kick-start.
10) Remove the dough from the refrigerator.
11) Turn the dough out onto the work surface.
12) Pull the dough outward from the edges until you have a rough square about 5 inches.
13) Cut the butter to achieve a rectangle roughly half the size of your square of dough.
14) Make sure the dough is about the same thickness as the rectangle of butter.
15) Place the butter diagonally across the middle of the square of dough.
16) Fold the corners of the dough toward the middle so that they envelop the butter and you get a neat package. Stretch the dough if necessary to completely encase the butter.
17) Press down on the dough using a rolling pin to distribute the butter evenly through it inside the envelope.
18) Start rolling the dough lengthwise until you have a long rectangle about 1⁄2 inch thick.
19) Fold the bottom third of the rectangle over.
20) Fold the top third over.
21) You should now have 3 rectangular pieces of dough piled on top of each other; this is your first turn. Make a small indentation into the dough with your fingertip to remind you that you have made one turn.
22) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
23) Remove the dough from the refrigerator and repeat Steps 17–21 twice.
24) You will now have given the pastry 3 turns and should have 3 indentations.
25) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 40 minutes.
To make the custard
1) In a small mixing bowl, mix the flour and cornstarch with about one quarter of the milk using a balloon whisk. Whisk until smooth.
2) Add the egg to the flour mixture.
3) In a saucepan, put the remaining milk, sugar and vanilla extract and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil.
4) When it comes to a boil, add the flour mixture and whisk vigorously.
5) Keep whisking over the heat until it starts to thicken, then cook for a further 2 minutes.
6) Remove from the heat and transfer the custard to a bowl.
7) Place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming.
8) Let cool and refrigerate until needed.
9) The custard will keep, refrigerated, for 24 hours.
To finish the pains aux raisins
1) Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches.
2) Spread the custard on the dough using the back of a spoon. You may not need all the custard.
3) Sprinkle the raisins evenly over the custard.
4) Now roll up the dough from a longer side to make a long log.
5) Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6) Remove the dough from the refrigerator, discard the plastic wrap and cut the dough into roughly 3⁄4-inch slices. You should get about 19 slices.
7) Lay each pastry flat on the prepared baking sheets. Tuck the end of each swirl of pastry underneath to help it retain its shape during baking. Allow a little space between them so that they have room to rise.
8) Let rise until you see the folds in the pastry separating.
9) Preheat the oven to 240˚C (475˚F) Gas 9. Place a roasting pan at the bottom of the oven. Fill a cup with water.
10) Place the baking sheets in the preheated oven, pour the reserved cupful of water onto the hot roasting pan and lower the oven temperature to 220˚C (425˚F) Gas 7.
11) Bake for about 12–15 minutes, or until golden brown. Lower the oven temperature if it looks like the raisins are burning. And don’t worry if you see butter seeping out of the pastries during baking – it should all be absorbed when the pastries cool.
12) While the pastries cool slightly, warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan.
13) Brush the warm jam over each warm pastry.
14) To make an icing, if you like, mix a few tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar with a small amount of cold water in a small bowl. Add more water and stir until you have a smooth, runny consistency.
15) When the pastries are cold, drizzle the icing over them.