My roots are in tradition however, as with most everything in my life, I like to shake things up with my take of modernity. Incorporating slight variations in my approach, or adding flavour twists reminiscent of my childhood or ancestry. Dandylion has an ethos of being unashamedly, unconventional; How very New Yorker of me.
For my very first blog posting I am turning your attention to sweet things. As we are in Spring and celebrating all things refreshed and new, I have renewed my take on the classic French Pain aux Raisin. My recipe still herald classic french method but I shake up the classic with an homage to my Italian heritage. The warm flavours of fennel seed and pine nuts bring an extra dimension to this delightful treat. The outcome lends a herbal sweet subtlety that gives a warmed “oomph” hug of generosity and love. Which is what I am all about.
For pairing with a decadent cup of tea I suggest, from our Dandylion range, the following options:
#1 Classic Black,
#6 Contessa Grey,
#10 Lemon Meringue
#16 Chamomile Meadow, or #17 Sicilian Citron.
I hope you will give the recipe a try and enjoy the eating as much as my friends and family do; Sharing from my heart to you.
Italian Pain aux Raisin (Raisin Croissants) Recipe:
*Makes 8 large
Creme patisserie (Pastry Cream filling):
- Whole Milk- 600 ml
- Vanilla- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out or Good quality vanilla extract- 1 teaspoon.
- Egg Yolks- 5
- Caster sugar- 60g
- Cornstarch- 35g
- Plain Flour- 35g
- Optional: add in 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds, to infuse the creme; then strain out.
- Pour milk into medium saucepan, bring to a boil on medium high heat.
- Take off heat.
- In separate mixing bowl combine egg yolks and caster sugar; whisk until sugar is completely dissolved and egg yolks are very pale, almost white, in colour.
- Add in cornstarch and plain flour into the yolk mixture, whisk to incorporate completely.
- Pour 1/3 of the heated milk to the egg mixture, whisking as you pour so as to temper the egg yolks and keep them from scrambling.
- Once incorporated through this 1/3 mixture to the rest of the milk in the saucepan.
- Place back onto medium heat and bring creme patisserie to a boil.
- Cook mixture for 1 -2 minutes, whisking constantly, until reaching a thickened consistency.
- Take creme patisserie off heat and pour into a flat tray and cool down, you can chill in the fridge, just cover with cling film beforehand, to prevent a skin from forming on the creme patisserie.
Pain aux Raisins:
- Plain flour- 500g
- Water- 160ml
- Yeast- 12g fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoon dry
- Caster sugar- 50g
- Fine salt- 2.5g or 1/2 teaspoon
- Whole Milk- 100mlml
- Egg yolks- 5
- Butter. melted & cooled- 45g
- Butter, cold- 200g
- Whole Milk- 600ml
- Caster sugar- 100g
- Plain Flour- 60g
- Vanilla extract- to taste
- Raisins- 150g
- Pine nuts- 50g
- Whole egg- 1 with a splash of water; mixed together, for egg wash before baking
- In a bowl combine lukewarm water, max 30C, & the yeast.
- Leave for a minute so that it can start to activate.
- Slowly and gently add flour until incorporated.
- Add in the sugar and salt then stir in the melted butter, and incorporate.
- Add in milk and fully incorporate.
- Combine into a dough, either by hand or in a mixer with a bread hook attachment.
- Fold inflattened block of butter, and wrap dough around it and roll with a rolling pin, making layers of butter incorporated with the dough. Roll the dough 4-6 times; refolding and re-rolling, chilling the wrapped dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes between each rolling.
- Or add in small cubes of butter until all incorporated in a mixer. Then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins.
- Lightly dust the work surface and roll out finished dough into a rectangle, roughly 8”w x18”l
- Trim the edges of rolled dough, so that you are left with straight lines on all sides.
- Beat the pastry creme with a whisk until smooth, then spread the chilled creme, thinly, onto the rectangle of rolled dough.
- Sprinkle on top the raisins & pine nuts.
- Roll the dough and filling into an even log, similar to a tight cinnamon bun style swirl effect.
- Chill this in the refrigerator, on a tray and covered in cling film. Chill for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes This will ensure a clean cut for each slice.
- Remove filled dough log from refrigerator or freezer and slice into circles. Placing each slice onto a parchment lined baking sheet, lightly greased using a cooking spray. Leaving amble space between each slice as they will rise and spread while cooking.
- Leave the pain aux raisins in a warm area to prove and double in size.
- Egg wash the tops, of each slice.
- Bake in 220C fan assisted oven and bake roughly 20-30 minutes; until golden.
- Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- When cooled or slightly warm you have several options for your final finish. You can either brush with warmed apricot jam for a glazed glossy finish, lightly dust with icing sugar, or just leave as they are giving a rustic look. Either way you like it all that’s left is to simply enjoy.