It’s chocolate week in the UK this week, and to celebrate we are going for a bit of an elaborate baking recipe here on Blender and Basil. The supreme French pastry, pain au chocolat, also known as chocolatine in the south-west of France, is a wonderful parcel full of chocolatey richness. Certainly, a lot of work is required to achieve an incredibly satisfying result – but take your time and enjoy it as a fun family day and it will be all worth it in the end! With this recipe, taken from The Spruce, we managed to get some fluffy brioche-like pain au chocolat, most of which we stored in the freezer. In that way, we stack them in the oven to warm up as needed, and each time it’s as if they were freshly baked!
500g flour (better if you use type 00 flour)
100g butter (room temperature)
7g dried yeast
250g butter (to stretch the pastry)
200g dark chocolate
1 egg (to brush the surface)
2 tbsp milk
Step 1 – Put the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix lightly with your hand. Then add the butter, milk and water and start working the dough until it has a very smooth texture, which can be shaped without being sticky. Make it in a smooth ball and cover it in cling film to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Step 2 – In the meantime, place the butter in a small bowl in a warm place so it is soft enough to be brushed. You can place it in the oven, turning it on without selecting any temperature, that should naturally make it very soft without liquefying it completely.
Step 3 – You can also break the chocolate in preparation for later steps.
Step 4 – On a flour dusted surface, place your dough and start stretching it to form a rectangle (more or less the size of 25x40cm). Cover the dough loosely and allow to rest for 40 minutes.
Step 5 – Brush the rectangle with the softened butter and then fold it in thirds like a letter. Roll the rectangle back to the 25x40cm size and fold again into thirds. Cover it loosely and place it in the fridge to rest for one hour.
Step 6 – Once the hour has passed, repeat Step 5.
Step 7 – With a sharp knife, cut the dough vertically and horizontally to obtain 12 rectangles. Place two teaspoons of chocolate bits along one of the short ends of the rectangle and fold that end towards the centre. Then fold the other end on the top, tucking it in making sure it has a cylinder shape.
Step 8 – Place the pain au chocolat on a baking tray, covered slightly greased baking paper. Arrange them so they are about 4cm away from one another, then cover them loosely with cling film and place them to one side until they have doubled in size. That should take around 1 hour.
Step 9 – Turn the oven on at 200º and mix the egg with two tablespoons of milk. Use the mix to brush the top of your pain au chocolat. If you want, you can use some of the remaining chopped chocolate to decorate, like we did. Place the pain au chocolat in the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until they are golden and puffy. We recommend you dig in while they are still warm!