Now in Module 4 of my Culinary Arts Career Program, we’ve ventured into the world of pastry and baking where butter, sugar and flour rule. The balance of butter and chocolate baked into the flaky crusts of these Pains Au Chocolat has been unbeatable, as I hold these pastries to be my favorite so far. Let the flour flinging begin with this recipe or get first-hand instruction in ICE’s Career Pastry & Baking Arts program or in any of ICE’s recreational baking classes.
croissant dough, 1/2 batch (recipe follows)
1 egg, beaten
36 bittersweet chocolate batons
1. Begin by preparing the croissant dough: combine 1 pound high gluten flour with 1½ teaspoons salt and 2½ ounces sugar in a large mixing bowl. Blend.
2. Heat 12 fluid ounces whole milk to lukewarm (about 100 degrees). Transfer milk to a mixing bowl and whisk in 1 ounce compressed yeast.
3. Beat the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to ferment until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
4. Knead together 10 ounces of cold, unsalted butter with 1½ ounces All Purpose flour, until mixture is smooth.
5. Uncover the chilled dough and shape it into a rectangle. Evenly distribute the butter mixture over the bottom two-thirds of the dough, keeping a 1″ margin of dough all around.
6. Fold the top third of dough down, then fold the bottom half up (envelope fold). Turn a “letter” so that the bottom is on the right.
7. Pound the dough with a rolling pin, then roll the dough into a rectangle. Give the dough a double turn.
8. Repeat rolling and folding once more, giving another double turn. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for four hours or overnight.
9. When ready to make the Pains Au Chocolat: Roll out half of the croissant dough recipe into a 12X18″ rectangle that is 3/8″ thick. Cut the dough into two 6″ strips, then cut the strips every 3″ to make 12 3X6″ rectangles. Brush the rectangles with the beaten egg.
10. Place three chocolate batons in the center of each rectangle. Fold one short end of each rectangle over the chocolate, then fold again.
11. Invert onto parchment paper-lined pans (seam-side down) and brush with additional eggwash. Proof until doubled.
12. Bake at 375ºF for 15-20 minutes, or until well colored, risen and no longer damp inside.