Friday, February 4, 2011

Pain aux Raisins

One of the things I miss the most about Paris is Paul and more particularly their pain aux raisins (or L'Escargot). I've tried it in almost every Paul boulangerie in the city as well in many other pastry shops and can definitely say that the best pains aux raisins or at least my favourite are in Paul at Palais des Congrés. They are always warm and generously glazed, shiny and crunchy. (The thing I hate the most is to walk all the way through Paris to get to Palais des Congrés and see there are none of those little rolls left.)

The glaze is what distinguishes those pains aux raisins from all others. I can't define for sure what exactly the glaze is. Sometimes I could definitely say it's quince jelly, but the next time I try it I'm sure it's fig jelly, other time – apricot one. I'm not sure if my palate is deceiving me or simply they are changing the glaze all the time. But no matter what the glaze is, it's always in abundance and those are indeed the best pains aux raisins. We've tried to replicate them many times and I think we are finally very close or maybe we've just glazed them really generously. I don't know.

And when speaking about Paris, I wouldn't have loved this city so much if it wasn't my sister living there. For me Paris always means good time with Dessi. It's been awhile since Dessi and Frederic are totally into their new project Bakchich Baba. Both of them are yoga instructors and this is the next level displaying their philosophy about life according to their principles of sustainability and fair trade. For now Bakchich Baba is just a small shop for yoga materials, accessories, spirituality pieces, but every object there has it's own history and positive energy. Sis, we wish you good luck in your new initiative!

Currently Bakchich Baba presents the exposition L'Inde Sacreé at the organic and fair trade boutique Le Papillon Vert, 18 rue Mouton-Duvernet, 75014 Paris.

Pain aux Raisins Recipe:
Makes around 8-10

For the Raisins:
  • 100 gr raisins;
  • 40 ml rum;
Soak the raisins in the rum overnight. Drain from the liquid before using.

For the Pastry Cream:
  • 250 ml milk;
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract;
  • 2 egg yolks;
  • 50 gr granulated sugar;
  • 20 gr all purpose flour.
Combine yolks, sugar and flour and beat until pale.
In a small saucepan bring milk and vanilla extract to a simmer then pour it in a thin stream over the yolk mixture beating all the time. Return the mixture into the saucepan and cook to 85ºC (until it thickens). Place the cream in a bowl and cover tightly with stretch foil in order not to form skin. Leave to cool.

For the Pastry:
  • 250 gr all purpose flour, sifted;
  • 150 ml lukewarm milk;
  • 35 gr granulated sugar;
  • 4 gr salt;
  • 6 gr fresh yeast (or 2 gr powdered dry yeast);
  • 125 gr butter – for laminating the dough;
  • 1 egg yolk + 1Tsp milk - for glazing before baking;
  • apricot, quince or any other jam or jelly which is light in colour, or just simple syrup, for glazing after baking.
Combine flour, salt and sugar. In a large bowl mix milk and yeast then add in the flour mixture. Mix with an electric mixer equipped with the dough hook till all the ingredients are combined and soft dough forms. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes then cover the bowl and leave the dough to double in bulk (for an hour or two depending of the room temperature). Punch the dough down, knead it quickly to let the gas escape, form to a ball and place in the fridge for half an hour to chill.

Roll the butter out between two plastic sheets to form a small rectangle, then chill in the fridge.

Lightly dust the counter with flour. Roll the dough from the four sides forming a cushion mat in the middle. Lay the butter on that mat and fold the all four sides of the dough sealing the butter inside. Roll the dough out to an A4 size rectangle then fold it like you would fold a business letter. Rotate the “letter” short side down, roll and fold again. Cover in a bowl and place in the fridge for an hour to chill.

Repeat the rolling-folding procedure two-three more times with an hour interval after each procedure.

Lightly dust the counter with flour and roll the dough out to a rectangle(around 30x35 cm). Spread an uniform thin layer of pastry cream and distribute the raisins evenly. Roll the rectangle up starting from the short side. Using a sharp knife cut the big roll to around 3 cm wide small rolls and place them to a paper lined baking pan. Cover and leave to proof for 40-50 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180º C. Glaze the rolls with the yolk-milk mixture and bake till golden brown (around 20 – 25 minutes). While still warm, glaze the rolls generously with neutral in colour jam or jelly. We did that with the liquid left from the candied orange peel we made last month.

We've linked this post to Lisa's event Sweets for Saturday where you can find many more sweet goodies and we are sending it to YeastSpotting on Wild Yeast.


  1. Raisin and rum in a pastry? I'm so intrigued now! They look marvelous!

  2. Wow, those look delicious! Great photos, too! We'd love to see your submissions at!

  3. Those look amazing! Your pictures are beautiful too :) I amhaving my first give away, hop over to enter.

  4. I haven't had a pain aux raisins in years. These look lovely. Thanks for posting.

  5. This must be so tasty, I can imagine the taste!
    Photos are airy and so beautiful!

  6. I think you have a beautiful blog! I would like to share a Stylish Blogger Award with you. You can find it on my blog...

  7. pretty photos, and sounds really tasty!

  8. I think I'm goignt o give this recipe a go. When you say dry powdered yeast, do you mean active dry or instant?


  9. @ kristiina, here they sell only one type of powdered yeast and I think it's instant yeast.

  10. Instead of an hour or two, Can I leave the dough to double in bulk whole night? and continue the in the morning when i wake up? i want to eat it fresh in the morning as breakfast.

  11. @ Anonymous, I see the other bakers are leaving the dough to prove for the whole night in the fridge, but I'm using fresh yeast and if left for the whole night the dough tend to overprove, so I suggest it's better to diminish the quantity of the yeast.
    Even if you make them in the evening the pain aux raisins become like freshly baked if you bake them for additional 2 minutes in a preheated to 180C oven before serving in the morning. I even prefer them that way. The flavour and the taste is fuller and more powerful.

  12. Hey, came across your blog last night and sure enough I tried this recipe today, very easy to follow, thanks for the thorough explanation. Used cranberries instead of raisins, delish :) I was looking for a recipe that doesn't use cream cheese for the filling and the custard cream you have here is quite amazing. Thanks for sharing, S&I :)

  13. @ Tsetsi, Thank you very much for the feedback! We are very happy to hear you liked it!

  14. Hi, I tried these out, they were lovely- thanks for sharing the recipe


    1. Liz, thank you for the feedback. We are glad you liked them :)



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