I recently went to a fantastic ‘Bring Home the Baking‘ class at the Akaroa Cooking School with some lovely girlfriends. It’s got me baking up a storm. I found the class inspiring and encouraging and interesting. And what more can you ask from education? Apart from a delicious lunch, which was also included.
This is a brioche-based ‘pain au raisin’, not a croissant dough based one. You slather the dough in a rich vanilla custard to stick on the raisins and roll it all up like a carpet. It takes time and, as with all cooking, benefits from the best ingredients you can find. I wanted to bake these when I got up to be ready for morning tea so started at 7pm the night before. Makes 20 pastries.
500g strong flour (I used New Zealand Bio Grains organic stoneground white flour)
Two teaspoons salt
50g white sugar
12g instant yeast dissolved in 60ml warm water
Six free-range eggs
200g unsalted butter at room temperature
Mix the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Beat together the water and yeast mixture with the eggs and add to the dry ingredients. Bring together with a spatula and tip onto a floured work surface. Knead with floured hands for about ten minutes. Add 50g of the butter, knead for another minute. Continue adding chunks of butter and kneading until the dough is stretchy and smooth and all the butter incorporated. Put the dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with a large plate. Leave at room temperature for an hour.
Meanwhile make the creme patissiere. Heat 150ml milk in a pan until just boiling. Put the yolks of three large eggs in a heatproof bowl with a teaspoon of vanilla paste, a tablespoon of caster sugar and a tablespoon of corn flour. Pour over the hot milk and then return to the pan, and heat gently whisking constantly until thickened. Return to the heatproof bowl and allow to cool before chilling in the fridge overnight. Cover 200g raisins with boiling water, drain, cover and put in the fridge overnight.
Tip out the dough onto a floured work surface and stretch and fold it five or six times. Return to the covered bowl and leave in the fridge overnight.
After 12 hours, cut the dough in half and roll out into two even squares each 30x30cm. Spread each with the creme patissiere and sprinkle with the raisins. Roll up tightly and slice each roll into ten 3cm wide slices and place cut side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper or silicone. Cover with Glad wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour or so. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C fan bake. Make an egg wash by beating an egg with an equal volume of milk. Brush over the pain aux raisin just before putting in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Don’t overcook or the raisins will burn. Cool on a wire rack.