pain au raisins

Pain Au Raisins

pain au raisins

As you read this I will be living it up in Paris probably eating my weight in macarons, drinking red wine and definitely eating pain au raisins!! The French really know how to breakfast, I can’t think of anything better than a steaming mug of hot coffee and a warm pastry. It makes my morning porridge pale in comparison.

This was my first time making pain au raisins, I’ve made croissants before and other danishes but pain au raisins always seemed a bit tricky! I followed Edd Kimbers recipe to the letter, and it was surprisingly simple. Danishes seem like such an out of reach bake, but honestly give them a try! Yes they’re time consuming, but the majority of that time is the pain au raisins working on themselves while you can put your feet up.

pain au raisins

So just to pre-warn you now, if you’re thinking of making these this afternoon I’m afraid thats not going to happen. This danish pastry dough must be chilled overnight, to rest and rise. They’re a labour of love and you need to be up for the challenge. But I urge you not to be put off, they really are so worth it!! And everyone will be impressed with your house wife/husband skills.

For this recipe you need to grate the butter onto the dough. This really helps in distributing the butter without it getting too warm. Warm butter is your enemy when making pastries! It does look a bit like you’ve put a load of cheese onto raw dough, but its so much easier than trying to flatten butter with a rolling pin. Believe me!

The turning process is what gives danishes their lamination i.e. all of the delicious flaky layers! You’ll need to ‘turn’ the dough at least three times before leaving it to rest overnight. By turning I mean rolling the dough into a rectangle, then folding up the bottom third and folding the top third over the bottom third so all ‘thirds’ are on top of each other. The dough is then placed in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to chill. Before repeating the process, you then ‘turn’ the dough 90 degrees so the layers are folded in a different direction.

pain au raisinspain au raisins

Now I hate custard. Like hate it! But, even I have to admit the creme patisserie is the real star in these pain au raisins. I think it was the vanilla bean paste I used, it really made such a difference to the flavour. Please try and use the highest quality vanilla you can when making it, none of that vanilla essence will cut it! Creme pat is really easy to make, and thickens surprisingly quickly. You can make it the night before with the dough and leave to cool in the fridge, meaning you’re raring to go in the morning.

To actually make the pain au raisins, you simply roll out the dough, spread on the creme pat and scatter with your raisins. Then its just a case of rolling up and slicing! Make sure you allow for additional proving time in the morning once you’ve created the classic pain au raisin shape. Though they don’t need you to watch over them, so you’re more than entitled to pop back to bed before baking time!

pain au raisins

I really hope you love these as much as I did. They taste best fresh out the oven, but the remainders were still enjoyed by my work colleagues the next day!

Pain Au Raisins

Yield: 16 Pain Au Raisins

Pain Au Raisins

Ingredients

  • 75g raisins
    Dough
  • 60ml whole milk, lukewarm
  • 60ml water, lukewarm
  • 125g plain flour
  • 125g strong white bread flour
  • 7g fast action dried yeast
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 225g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 large egg
    Creme Patisserie
  • 1 vanilla pod or 2tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 25g cornflour
    Glaze
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Instructions

  • To make the dough, mix the milk and water in a medium bowl to combine and set aside. Then put the flours, yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Dice 125g of the butter into small pieces and add to the food processor. Then pulse once or twice just to mix together. Don't overmix at this stage! You still want to be able to see chunks of butter.
  • Tip the butter and flour mixture into the liquids and using a spatula, fold together whilst still maintaining the chunks of butter. Once you have formed a rough dough, tip this out onto a lightly floured surface and work very lightly into a ball of dough. Form into a flat rectangle, wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, put the remaining butter into the freezer to chill it thoroughly.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out into a long rectangle three times as long as it is wide - roughly 15x45cm. Take the butter out of the freezer and and coarsely grate it over the bottom two-thirds of the dough. Fold the top third of the dough over the middle-third, then fold the bottom third over the other-two thirds as if folding a letter. This is your first turn. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and turn the dough 90 degrees so that the open ends are facing you. Then repeat the rolling and folding process twice more, giving the dough a total of three turns. Wrap the finished dough in clingfilm and put in the fridge overnight before baking.
  • To make the creme patissiere, place either the seeds of vanilla pod or the vanilla bean paste into a medium saucepan. Pour over the milk and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat.
  • Meanwhile, put the egg and yolks in a heatproof bowl and whisk in the sugar and cornflour until smooth. Pour the boiling milk over, whisking constantly to combine. Pour this mixture back into the pan and return to a medium heat. Whisk constantly until thickened, cooking for a few minutes extra to remove the taste of the cornflour.
  • Pour the creme patissiere into a clean bowl and press a piece of clingfilm onto the surface to stop it forming a skin. Then pop into the fridge to chill overnight.
  • Put the raisins into a small bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside for 30 minutes. This plumps up the fruit and stops them from burning as they bake.
  • Line a large baking tray with parchment and set aside. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 24x48cm with the short edge facing you, then trim to square off the edges. Spread the creme patissiere across the pastry leaving a clear border of 2.5cm along one far edge.
  • Drain the raisins and sprinkle over the filling. Brush the beaten egg down the 2.5cm border, and then roll up the dough into a tight swirl using the egg washed border to stick the dough together. Cut into 16 equal slices and place onto the prepared baking tray. Lightly cover the tray with clingfilm, and leave to prove in a warm place for 2-3 hours until almost doubled in size and puffy to the touch.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Brush the beaten egg over the top of the pastries, then place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Notes

    Pain Au Raisins are best eaten on the day of baking, but can be refreshed in the oven the next day for 10 minutes at 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4.

    Recipe adapted from Edd Kimber's Patisserie Made Simple.

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/02/19/pain-au-raisins/

     

    caramel macchiato cake

    Caramel Macchiato Cake

    Tea and toast. Cheese and crackers. Coffee and cake. Some pairings are just meant to be. But caramel makes everything better right?

    If I’m not keeping it simple with an americano, my Starbucks order is always a caramel macchiato. The strong coffee mixed with vanilla and caramel just works so well. And why not turn the things you love into cake?!

    caramel macchiato layer cakecaramel macchiato layer cake

    I think coffee cake is really underrated. Usually paired with walnuts and a sickly sweet buttercream, it just doesn’t do it justice. This cake though is paired with the dreamiest silkiest buttercream you ever did taste. Its a classic swiss meringue buttercream with 175ml of glorious caramel. AHH. I could just eat the buttercream from the bowl. It was my first time using my KMix to make buttercream and oh god the difference. It just made it so light, and even easier to spread on the finished cake.

    caramel macchiato layer cakecaramel macchiato layer cake

    But, back to the cake! The sponge has instant coffee, a full cup of freshly brewed coffee AND a coffee soak to add when baked. So you could say I like coffee… though the caramel SMB cuts through it all to balance the bitterness out. Now I couldn’t call it a caramel macchiato cake without the signature caramel topping could I? I popped some caramel into a piping bag and went to TOWN. I promise you though, the cake really isn’t as sweet as it sounds with all that caramel flying around. I think thats why I love swiss meringue buttercream so much. It may be richer than regular buttercream with the additional butter, but its so much less sweet! No teeth-grinding icing sugar round here thank you very much.

    caramel macchiato layer cakecaramel macchiato layer cake

    The whole cake was actually surprisingly quick to make, I made it in an afternoon last weekend and I was enjoying a slice after dinner. I also didn’t make my own caramel for once, as it was a spontaneous bake and that sped the process up! I used a jar of Bonne Maman’s caramel and its really delicious if you fancy being lazy too. If not, my recipe for salted caramel here would work really well, just remember to omit the salt. Although salted caramel buttercream with coffee would be delicious too!

    caramel macchiato cakecaramel macchiato cake

    Let me know if you try it, it’s the perfect Sunday afternoon treat with, you guessed it, a cup of coffee!

    Caramel Macchiato Cake

    Caramel Macchiato Cake

    Ingredients

      Cake
    • 390g plain flour
    • 2 1/2tsp baking powder
    • 1/2tsp salt
    • 1tsp instant coffee granules or espresso powder
    • 225g unsalted butter
    • 300g caster sugar
    • 67g soft light brown sugar
    • 2tsp vanilla extract
    • 4 eggs, room temperature
    • 188ml whole milk
    • 188ml strong, hot coffee
      Coffee Soak
    • 125ml water
    • 100g caster sugar
    • 1tsp instant coffee granules or espresso powder
      Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
    • 150ml egg whites, room temperature
    • 250g caster sugar
    • 450g unsalted butter, room temperature cubed
    • 1tsp vanilla extract
    • 175ml caramel (plus extra for drizzle)

    Instructions

  • Firstly, preheat the oven to 175C/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line three 8-inch cake tins.
  • In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder and set aside.
  • Then using an electric mixer, beat the butter for a few minutes until smooth. Add both the sugars and increase the speed to medium-high. Keep mixing until the butter and sugars are creamed together and the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla extract followed by the eggs one at a time making sure they are each fully incorporated.
  • Then in alternating batches, add in half of the dry ingredients, the whole milk and the remaining dry ingredients mixing on low in between. Only mix until the batter is just combined. Then with the mixer on low, stream in the hot coffee and mix until smooth.
  • Evenly distribute the batter between the three pans, and bake for 24-26 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the tins for 10 minutes on a wire rack, before removing the cakes from the tins.
  • For the coffee soak, pour all the ingredients into a saucepan and place over a medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a slight boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool until ready to use.
  • For the swiss meringue buttercream, place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and gently whisk by hand to combine. Then place over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisking occasionally heat the egg mixture until it reaches 160F (70C) on a candy thermometer. Once you've reached the right temperature, take the bowl off the heat and fit onto a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture for 8-10 minutes until it holds medium-stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the bowl should have reached room temperature. Stop the mixer and swap the whisk attachment out for the paddle.
  • Then with the mixer on low, add in the butter a few cubes at a time, then the vanilla and finally the caramel. Once all incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 3-5 minutes until the buttercream is silky smooth.
  • To assemble the cake, place one of the sponges onto your serving plate, brush liberally with the coffee soak and spread on 1/4 of the buttercream. Repeat with the next sponge, and then place the final sponge on top brushing with the remaining coffee soak. Cover the entire cake with the remaining buttercream, smoothing or swirling as desired. Finally place the remaining caramel into a piping bag and drizzle over back and forth.
  • Notes

    Can be kept air-tight for up to one week.

    Adapted from The Cake Blog's Caramel Cuppuccino Cake.

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/02/05/caramel-macchiato-cake/

    pistachio & raspbeery financiers

    Pistachio & Raspberry Financiers

    I’m backkkkkk! Sorry for the month hiatus, it wasn’t intentional! Who knew January was so busy!? I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year though! I’m back with a french classic and one of my favourite treats ever! A pistachio & raspberry financier.

    pistachio & raspberry financiers

    I first came across the financier when I worked in London Bridge. I used to walk through Borough Market on my lunch break and would have to fight the urge to buy everything!! My favourite stall there was called Comptoir Gourmand and they sold the most wonderful array of french cakes and pastries, including a vibrant green pistachio financier. It was the best thing, my mouths watering even thinking of it!

    I love the dense moist texture, and the pistachio flavour just works so well. I’d always had it on my mental ‘to-bake’ list and I finally ticked it off last week! So a little history lesson for you here, the financier was created by a Parisian baker who worked in the financial district of the city. He wanted to create a bake for his customers that they could eat on the go and wouldn’t be crumbly and messy like a croissant. And so the financier was born. The name makes sense now right? Just to add to their banking background they are also traditionally made in a rectangular shape to resemble a ‘gold bar’. Obviously, this only really works if you stick to the original recipe and don’t turn them green!

    pistachio & raspberry financiers

    Pistachio and raspberry is one of my favourite flavour combinations, and the fresh raspberries in these financiers give such a tart hit. Financiers are actually really easy to make, and you can keep the dough chilled in the fridge for up to three days which is perfect if you want to prep ahead. And means you can impress visitors by having a fresh batch of cakes whipped up in minutes! I made 12 small cakes, but you could make 6 large instead – and actually I think next time I would just make the 6. Quality over quantity ya know?

    pistachio & raspberry financiers

    For the recipe I used a 50:50 ratio of ground almonds and ground pistachios. As I was adapting a recipe I didn’t want the pistachio’s higher fat content to change the bake too much. Now I’ve not seen ground pistachios in any supermarkets round me (though I have seen Sainsburys stocking ground hazelnuts which is exciting!), so I just blitzed my own. I was worried that the nuts might release too much oil as I blitzed, but actually it was fine and got to the same consistency as supermarket ground almonds really quickly.

    One key step to the financiers is to brown the butter, which essentially means to heat the butter in a saucepan until it turns a golden brown colour. This gives a wonderfully nutty flavour to the bake which I think is so unique.

    pistachio & raspberry financiers

    I think these are a delight with a cup of tea on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The perfect bake for the miserably cold days we’ve been having recently!

    Pistachio & Raspberry Financiers

    Yield: 12 small or 6 large

    Pistachio & Raspberry Financiers

    Ingredients

    • 120g unsalted butter, diced
    • 50g ground almonds
    • 50g ground pistachios
    • 25g plain flour
    • 125g icing sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • 4 large egg whites
    • 1tsp vanilla extract
    • 12 raspberries, quartered
    • 20g pistachios, chopped

    Instructions

  • Heat the butter in a small pan over a medium heat and cook until the butter has foamed and then turned golden brown. This will take a little while, so stick with it. Pour the browned butter into a small heatproof bowl and set aside.
  • Put the ground almonds, ground pistachios, flour, icing sugar and salt in a bowl and mix together until combined. Then add the egg whites and vanilla extract and stir to form a thick paste. Pour in the slightly cooled butter and stir until you have a smooth batter. Press a sheet of clingfilm onto the surface of the batter and put into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours before baking.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6 and lightly grease your mini-loaf pans or place your mini-loaf cases onto a baking tray. Spoon the batter evenly into the pans/cases, filling them half full. Press 4 quarters of a raspberry into each financier and top with chopped pistachios. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they have started to brown around the edges. Leave to cool in the pans for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely, or just place the cases onto the wire rack straight away to cool.
  • Notes

    Batter can be kept covered in the fridge for up to three days before baking.

    Financiers keep up to two days in an air tight container, but taste best on the day of baking.

    Recipe adapted from Edd Kimber's Patisserie Made Simple.

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/01/23/pistachio-raspberry-financiers/

    chocolate christmas bark

    Chocolate Christmas Bark

    chocolate-christmas-bark-1 chocolate-christmas-bark-2

    Its less than a week to go guys!! I’m so excited!! Yet also so stressed that I haven’t finished everyones presents yet. That’s the only problem with making and baking presents, it always takes so much longer than you imagine! But this chocolate christmas bark is the perfect quick gift, that actually looks quite fancy!

    Chocolate bark is ALL over Pinterest, especially at Christmas time. Its not really a very common treat over here in the UK, but I love how simple yet creative chocolate bark can be that I had to give it a go. You could literally chuck anything you like on there, its completely up to you.

    I wanted to make mine really festive, so I added dried cranberries, pistachios, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, golden raisons and sprinkles!! Sprinkles at Christmas is just a given right?

    chocolate christmas bark

    You could easily make the chocolate christmas bark as gifts if you tempered the chocolate. That way you don’t need to store the bark in the fridge, and instead they can sit pretty under the tree! Tempering isn’t as hard as it sounds, so long as you have a digital thermometer. You can get them really cheaply on Amazon, so if you think you’ll get into a bark making mood it might be worth investing!

    Its a case of ensuring the chocolate heats, cools and then heats again but to exact temperatures. Not too tricky! Then you can make slabs of chocolate christmas bark to your hearts content. So have I tempted you? Chocolate! Pistachios (my fave!)! Cranberries! Can it get anymore christmasy!?

    chocolate christmas bark

    There isn’t really an exact ‘recipe’ to my chocolate christmas bark, as you could really use anything you like! But I’ve given some guidelines below!

    Chocolate Christmas Bark

    Chocolate Christmas Bark

    Ingredients

    • 400g milk chocolate
    • 100g white chocolate
    • 120g mix of dried fruit and nuts (I used the Waitrose Fruit & Nut Mix)
    • handful of chopped pistachios
    • handful of sprinkles

    Instructions

  • Firstly, line a large baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
  • Put three-quarters of the chocolate in a bain-marie and melt on a very low heat. Stirring ocassionally, melt the chocolate slowly until you reach 45C on a thermometer. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining chocolate, stirring continuously until the chocolate has melted and it has lowered in temperature to 27-28C.
  • Return the bowl to the heat and stirring constantly, heat it for 1 minute or until it has increased to 28-29C. Spread the chocolate evenly onto the prepared baking paper. Scatter your dried fruit, nuts and sprinkles over the chocolate.
  • Then repeat the tempering process for the white chocolate and drizzle over the chocolate bark.
  • Leave to set at room temperature, and then break into shards. Store in an air-tight container.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2016/12/20/chocolate-christmas-bark/