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Monday, July 9, 2012

French Style Brioche Sweet Rolls *Pain aux Raisins*

I have never had pain aux raisins before, but I have been teaching myself to bake a number of traditional French pastries using French recipes.  Pain aux raisins is soft, tender, and fluffy with a dark, golden sweetness from the rum-soaked raisins, and a nice creamy, rich creamy surprise from the custard baked into the roll.  Even if you don't like raisins, you'll enjoy this special treat since the raisins are plumped and completely transformed by the rum.  

This sweet treat is a very common French viennoiserie, or pastry.  Viennoiserie is a class of pastry that doesn't have a true translation in English, but it encompasses things like croissants, brioche, pain aux chocolat,and  pain aux raisin.  These are all very elegant pastries that seem super complicated to us Americans, but in France, these are everyday pastries that are ubiquitous when it comes to bakery fare.  Surprise your friends and family with this delicious, fine and elegant treat!  It looks just as wonderful as it tastes!


After the first rising and punch down, brioche is fine for freezing.  Just wrap the dough tightly in plastic and place in a freezer bag, being sure to press out all air.

Michel Roux's Pastry Cream from Pastry
6 egg yolks
1/2 c + 2TB sugar
1/4c all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
          *if you don't have the bean, use about 1 TB of good vanilla extract

rum soaked raisins *Kid friendly, the rum cooks out
150 g raisins (maybe about 1/2 c)
6.5 TB dark rum (my favorite for baking is Barbancourt)

1. In a heat safe bowl, whisk together the yolks and 1/3 of the sugar until a ribbon like, or thick glossy consistency that forms a brief fold or ribbon when poured,  is achieved.

2. Bring the milk, vanilla bean, and the rest of the sugar to a boil.  Once a boil is reached, gradually pour the milk into the bowl with the yolk mixture, whisking continuously.

3. Return the mixture to a pan over medium heat.  Cook for 2 minutes, whisking continuously.

4. Set custard aside to cool.  Protect the custard from developing a skin on the top by either sifting powdered sugar over it or placing thin slices of butter over the top.

1. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 1/3" thickness.  Spread a layer of cooled custard over the dough and sprinkle the rum soaked raisins evenly across the dough.  Tightly roll the dough length-wise.

2. Slice the rolls in about 2 inch thickness.  You can do this either with a metal pastry cutter or by placing unflavored floss or thread under the roll and pulling each end to the opposite side to cut through the dough.

3. Place the rolls into a well-greased pan or baking sheet and allow to double in size.  Brush with an egg wash of egg and 1 TB of milk.  Bake at 375 until golden brown, about 15-17 minutes or so.  Brush the eggs with egg wash a second time midway through baking.


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