Again I have been looking for those fabulous breakfast treats, you know the ones that I mean, the sweet, sticky treats that we can get away with eating at breakfast time, instead of having to wait until the morning or afternoon tea breaks.
So this week it has been the Pain aux Raisin, a version of a danish pastry.
As usual I started my search of the ultimate Pain aux Raisin recipe, looking for that one that ‘just feels right’ as I do with all my recipes.
I already had a few ideas and I have a sweet bread recipe that I use when nothing else feels ‘better’ but this week I thought I would try a brioche recipe. I had some time to work on it and for those of you who know, brioche dough should be made and left overnight in the fridge to firm up as it is very soft and difficult to work with if you don’t do the resting overnight in the fridge.
My search took me to Epicurious which I have been searching a lot lately, they have a great selection of recipes at the moment.
So their recipe for a brioche was a good start, it was simple and easy to work through, I did read the various reviews and went with it as it did point out that the dough was very soft, but it did firm up after a night in the fridge.
For me the results were too soft, the dough after a night in the fridge resting, did produce a firmer dough, but it was still very soft and difficult to work with. So the next time I will go back to my trusty ‘brioche type’ dough that has all the same ingredients but different quantities and the results are always great.
I did follow the stages of the recipe and the recipe for the creme-patisserie was fantastic and will now be my go-to recipe for creme-patisserie. As an aside, I now have a few new ideas for this recipe and will bring them to you soon.
Make creme-patisserie: Pour the milk into a medium sized pot and place on a medium heat and allow to come to a simmer. In a jug or bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar, and cornflour and when ready, gradually pour the hot milk into the jug while continually whisking. Pour the mixture back in to the pot and cook over a low heat, continue to whisk until the mixture begins to boil. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick and smooth, take care not to allow the custard to scorch on the bottom of the pot.
Add the vanilla and butter and whisk until it is all combined, cover the surface with clingfilm and leave to the side and allow to cool to room temperature. (No need to place in the fridge).
Add the raisins to a small bowl and add boiling water to them and leave for 10-15 minutes to allow them to plump up.
So back to the Pain aux Raisin, once the dough was ready, I rolled it out onto a very well floured surface and spread the creme-patisserie over the dough, leaving a small border on the end, (short end), so that when it was rolled, I could seal the log ready for cutting.
Then drain the raisins and distribute them as evenly as possible over the creme-patisserie. Gently and firmly start to roll the dough up like a swiss roll, I used my bread scraper to help, and in hindsight, it would have been useful to have placed a layer of grease-proof paper on the work top and rolled the dough out on top of it, as it would have helped with the rolling and wrapping that is needed next.
Roll up the dough tightly and when you get to the end, wet the edge of the dough and make sure that the edge is sticking to the swiss roll/log. Now place the log onto a large piece of grease-proof paper and wrap it up, this will help with the shape while the log is resting/proving. Cover the log with some cling-film or place in a large plastic bag as I did. I also placed the log onto my baguette tray so as to keep the round shape.
Place the log into the fridge for 1 hour to prove. Remove the log and place on the worktop, slice the log into 11-12 pieces and place them onto an oven tray about 2 inches apart. Turn on the oven (220C) and while the oven was coming up to temperature I placed the tray on top of the oven to help the swirls relax and bounce back (after the cutting).
I baked the swirls in the oven for 30 minutes, I had a little peak at 25 minutes, but they needed the additional 5 minutes until they were golden brown.
I removed them from the oven and left them to cool down while I made the glaze, I placed 2 tbsp of orange marmalade into a small bowl and added about 1 tbsp of boiling water and mixed, just to thin down the marmalade, of course this will depend on how thick you marmalade is. I then brushed some of the glaze of the swirls to give them that lovely glaze and WOW they were ready.
Next time, I will make thin icing sugar glaze and drizzle some across the top, as I think it would have just finished them off, but then I do like a little drizzle of the icing sugar glaze on these types of things.
So I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I did and of course I do hope you enjoy eating as much as we did.
Pain aux Raisin - Raisin Swirl
Delicious soft sticky buns with creme patisserie and plump raisins, ideal for breakfast and tea breaks alike. Pain aux Raisins are a great addition to any breakfast table.
Make the dough the day before and allow to rest in the fridge over night.
Make the creme patisserie, place the milk into a medium pot and place on a medium heat and bring it to a simmer.
Add the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour to a jug/bowl and whisk together, ensure it is all fully blended. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking all the time and then pour it back into the pot and return to a low heat and gradually bring to the boil.
Continue to stir the mixture while it is on the heat until it starts to thicken, once it starts to thicken, whisk hard to ensure it is smooth. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the vanilla essence and butter and whisk until it is fully combined.
Cover the creme-patisserie with a piece of cling film, (touching the top) to stop a skin from forming. Leave to one side to cool down.
Place a large piece of grease-proof paper onto the work-surface and cover well with flour, then roll out the dough to a rectangle (18 x 11 inches) and spread with the creme-patisserie, leaving a 1 inch space at one of the short ends.
Drain the raisins and evenly spread the raisins over the creme-patisserie. From the short end of the dough, using the grease-proof paper, start to roll the dough up into a log. When you come to the end of the dough, wet the end with a little water and make sure the end sticks to the length of the log.
Using the grease-proof paper, wrap the log up and place it into a plastic bag or cover with cling-film and place on a baguette tray to rest. All it to rest for 1 hour.
When ready, remove the dough from the bag and unwrap the grease-proof paper, using a sharp knife, slice the log into 11-12 slices and place onto a baking tray with grease-proof paper.
Heat the oven to 220c.
Place the tray onto of the cooker until the oven is upto temperature and then place the tray into the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove the buns from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the glaze. Place the orange marmalade and boiling water into a cup or a small bowl and mix together well.
Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the buns.
The buns will keep for a couple of days in an air-tight box.
To warm them through, place in an oven 180C for 10 minutes.
There are just some days when you need to have something different, and I do think that Easter weekend constitutes ‘some of those days’.
Of course back in the UK, I would have popped to one of the many bakery shops and bought something nice, sweet and sticky, to match the craving that hits the spot…. but here in France that usually means I head for the kitchen, which of course I am more than happy to do.
So today I had a couple of ideas and I decided to make a sweet sticky bread that is ideal for breakfast, elevenses and mid-afternoon……
This sweet bread has a few components, but it is well worth it.
Start off by making the bread, this is an ‘enriched’ dough, we use milk, butter and an egg, giving the bread that ‘brioche’ texture and taste.
The dough is a bit wetter than other doughs, and will take time to rise, but don’t worry about it, it will come good. You do need time for this bread, it works really well if you take it to the 2nd prove stage and leave it overnight to prove, and then it is ready to pop straight into the oven.
For the dough, measure out the milk and the butter and place them in a heat proof jug and place in the microwave to heat warm the milk and start to melt the butter, it doesn’t need to have completely melted. Of course this can be done in a pot on the cooker, with the same result.
Place the flour, salt, and yeast into a large bowl and mix it all together to combine the dry ingredients. I like to use my mixer with the dough hooks for this stage, start the machine and with the hooks on, add the egg and then with a fork, mix the milk and butter together and pour 2/3rds in to the bowl, continue to mix and add the remaining milk/butter mixture. Keep the hooks running for another 3-4 minutes, allowing the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured board/table and finish off the kneading by hand, (2-3 minutes) until you have a smooth dough smooth skin, pull the outer skin (gluten cloak) down and tuck under the ball, test to see if your dough is ready. Press your finger into the dough and if it bounces back fully it is ready, if not, continue kneading for a further 1 minute and test again.
Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and leave to prove until doubled in size.
While your dough is proving, make your filling, mix the butter and sugar together and make sure they are well combined before you add the fruit and nuts.
When the dough is ready, remove from the bowl and place on your lightly floured table, and push out to a rectangle. Use a rolling pin to get an even thickness of dough, 33x25cm/13x10in in size, have the long side facing you.
Spread the mixture over the dough, making sure you don’t pierce the dough in the process.
Roll the dough up, from the long side, making sure it is tight like a swiss roll. Once rolled, you need to cut the dough in half, down the length of the rolled dough. Leaving one end of the dough intact, split the dough down the length, and turn the dough up so that the cut edges are showing.
This part is a bit tricky, but just take your time, start to wrap the 2 lengths of the dough, together, crossing each piece over the other in turn, like making a dough rope. Once you have completed the ‘rope’ join the two ends of dough together to make a circle. Then place the dough on a tray or a large round tin and leave it to prove and double in size. The 2nd prove can be done overnight in a cool place or the fridge.
When the dough is ready, pre-heat the oven to 240c and place the dough in the oven for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 200c and continue cooking for a further 25 minutes.
To check the bread is ready, remove from the oven and carefully turn it upside down and tap the bottom it should sound hollow.
Make the icing for the top of your bread, place the icing sugar into a bowl and then gradually add the water to make a thick sugar paste, that can be drizzled across the top of your bread.
Allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes then brush with the marmalade to give a wonderful glaze, then leave for a further 20 minutes before adding the icing, if the bread it too hot, the icing will just run off.
Then when ready, place your bread in the centre of your table and allow everyone to cut a slice and enjoy.
I also make a lunchtime version of this bread, I will post the recipe another day.
This bread can be made ahead and frozen until needed, don’t add the icing, this can be added just before you are going to serve. Make sure the bread is completely cold, wrap it well then freeze.
When needed, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw completely before using, to warm the bread up, pre-heat the oven to 200c and place the bread in the oven for 10 minutes. Then add the icing.
See the full list of ingredients and instructions below.
Breakfast stuffed brioche bread
For the dough
250g/9oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g instant yeast
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
For the filling
90g butter, softened
70g light muscovado sugar
120g ready-to-eat dried apricot (chopped) or cranberries
50g orange marmalade
200g/7oz icing sugar
Heat the milk and melt the butter, this can be done either in the microwave or on the hob, either way the point is to warm the milk and butter and mix them together.
Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl of your mixer with the dough hooks fitted, add the salt and the yeast, mix to combine and add the egg and mix, then start adding the butter and milk mixture, starting with 2/3rds to begin with then gradually add the remaining until you have picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. Continue kneading the dough in the mixer for 3-4 minutes. Then tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and finish off the kneading by hand.
Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a lid (or disposable shower cap) and leave to rise until doubled in size. The time will depend on how warm your kitchen is.
While the dough is rising, make the filling. Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth. Add the fruit and nuts to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until all combined.
Prepare a baking tray or large cake time with baking parchment.
When the dough is ready, turn it onto a lightly floured surface, push out then roll out the dough into a rectangle, approximately 33x25cm. With the long edge facing you, Spread the fruit/nut mixture evenly over the dough.
Roll up the dough tightly (like a swiss roll). Roll it slightly to seal, then cut it in half length-ways, leaving 1 end attached, turn the dough so the cut edges are pointing upwards.
Wrap the two dough lengths together to make a rope, then join the ends of the rope to form a circle. Transfer to the baking tray/cake tin and cover with clingfilm or a plastic bag to prove for the 2nd time.
Pre-heat the oven to 240C. Bake the bread for 10 minutes then turn the oven down to 200C and continue cooking for a further 25 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
Gently heat the marmalade with a little water, then brush it over the warm loaf to glaze. Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a thick icing, drizzle over the loaf and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Leave to cool before serving.