Friday, September 30, 2011

Pain aux Raisins

Cleaning out the fridge for the next leg of our journey, I’m left with a serious quandary. What to do with the large bag of pasas (raisins) I’ve bought for yeast making, a bowl of said yeast (that I’m not really motivated to make more bread), a large sack o flour and the biggest slab of butter (the only convenient way to buy butter in San Marcos)…I’ve ever seen in my life?

Hmmmm. [Tapping finger on my chinny chin chin]. I look at the boy.

By Jove, I’ve got it!

Pain aux raisins is by far the most ambitious and one of those baking experience where you score a serious touch down when it comes out of the oven and into a salivating mouth.  Did I have enough patience and gumption for the ever so fickle and demanding pâte feuilletée (puff pastry)? How is it physically possible to fold that much butter into flour!? [In my best dirty harry look, I throw some flour over my shoulders]. Bring it!

What I’ve learned: The first batch of pain aux raisins was very flaky and….dry like a palmier. The taste and the texture…pretty spot on but I didn’t allow enough time for the dough to proof before baking (it must double in size and especially with homemade yeast, you need to allow, ample, ample space and time for the yeast to do it’s thing). Also, I let the first batch bake for 45 minutes at 180 C / 360 F (which was much too, much time). So, note to self, allow the dough to proof (2-2/1/2 hrs…yes trust me) and use a higher temperature 190 C / 375 F for 25 - 30 mins (what worked for me was to cut the heat at around 25 mins, let sit in the oven for another 5; that did the trick).

The result…..oh la la la, oui, oui! Who needs a parisian bakery, when you can enjoy, these lovelies out of your own oven. Enjoy the recipe & pictures. May the butter gods be with you! Buen prochevo.

Pain Aux Raisins Recipe (16-18 lovely buns)

2 tablespoon of dry yeast
1/2 c of water
1/3 c + 2 c of flour
½ c of butter
1/3 c of sugar
2 tablespoons salt
¾ c milk
3 c butter
creme pâtissière
1 egg yolk for brushing

Creme Patisserie Recipe
1 c milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or a vanilla pod
1/4 c sugar
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons flour

For the dough. Create the poolish or sponge. Whisk the yeast, water and 1/3 c flour. Pour the mixture inside a mixer (with a dough blade). Add remaining 2 cups of flour, salt, sugar and milk. Slowly add the ½ c butter.

When the butter is incorporated, remove the dough and let it rest for 1 hour. Punch the dough and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for another 2 hours.

On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 10in x 12in rectangle. To fold the butter, visually section the rectangle into 3rds. Butter 2/3 of the rectangle, leaving an unbuttered flap at the top.  Fold the unbuttered flap over the rectangle, then fold again, the remaining 3rd. You’ll now have a thin long rectangle. Roll out the sides of the dough to the original rectangle. Then fold again in 3rds, working from the width. Let the dough rest for another 2 hours. One last fold, then rest again in the fridge until it’s nice and cold.

For the pastry crème. Boil milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and reserve. In a bowl, whisk egg yolk. Gradually add flour and mix until the mixture smooth. Ladle in boiled milk to temper the eggs. Return the mixture to saucepan and cook over low heat. Add vanilla. Stir continuously until the mixture is thick and custardy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Final assembly. Roll out the chilled dough into a 10in x 12in rectangle. Spread the pastry crème. Add a good handful of raisins to cover the surface. Make sure to add raisins on the side of the dough. Roll into a log. Slice into 1 inch pieces. Place on an oiled tray pan. Allow the dough to proof in a warm place (oven with the light on) for another good 2-2 ½ hours or until it has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F. Reduce the oven temperature to 190 C /375 F and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Let it rest for another 5 minutes in the pan before serving.

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