French home cooking series: easy, quick & sumptuous pain au chocolat recipe
A rich, intensely laminated, luscious, melt-in-your-mouth classic French pastry
For all of us stuck at home in lockdown, could there possibly be a better way to spend your time at home than to create some classic French pastries? I think not.
With the immense amount of time that all of us are spending indoors these days, now is the perfect time to whip up some of the more challenging and time-intensive creations that we've always wanted to have a go at - decadent, homemade chocolate croissants make the perfect choice for this lengthy culinary endeavour.
Honing in on your craft
If you're not a fan of chocolate, this versatile recipe also allows for you to make a substitution with almond paste and flaked almonds, or pistachio paste and crushed pistachios. If you want to get really creative, then why not go for a hazelnut paste filled croissant, topped with hazelnut praline... or Nutella, perhaps? Let your imagination rule.
As always, customise your flavours to suit your preference! This recipe can also be used to make classic, plain croissants, with lots of butter - extra delicious and super buttery!
- 3 tbsp of unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp of granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 a sachet of instant yeast powder
- 1/2 cup of warm water
- FOR THE CROISSANT
- 1 tbsp of water
- 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut half lengthwise
- 1 pinch of coarse sea salt, to taste
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup of icing sugar (for dusting) (optional)
- Combine water and yeast in a stand mixer (or hand mixer). Allow yeast to activate for 10 minutes. Add in the sugar, flour, salt and butter, and mix until it becomes a smooth ball.
- Remove the dough from the bowl. Place it on a lightly floured tray. Shape into a ball.
- Place the dough back into the bowl. Cover with cling wrap. Leave for 2 hours, until the size of the dough is doubled.
- Roll dough into rectangle on flat surface. Fold into thirds. Wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate on a flat tray for 1 hour.
Preparing the butter layer:
- Flatten cut butter sticks into squares on parchment with rolling pin. Refrigerate for 15 min.
- Roll out the dough into a rectangle slightly wider than the butter slab and just over twice as long.
- Place butter on one half of the dough leaving a little edge of the dough. Fold the other half of the dough over the butter.
- Create ridges on the dough. Roll out the ridges. Repeat this process until the dough is almost the same size rectangle as it were before folding in half.
- Starting from the short side, fold one-third of the dough over the middle third. Then fold the other end over to form a small rectangle. Flatten with a rolling pin. Cover with plastic wrap on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Repeat pressing and rolling technique until dough is the size of the previous larger rectangle. Fold into thirds again, starting from the short side. Press and roll. Transfer back to baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Roll out into a large rectangle. Fold dough in half. Press and roll out into a 1cm thick rectangle.
- Dust dough with flour and roll out to a rectangle about 2cm thick. Cut dough lengthwise into 6 pieces using a pastry wheel.
- Stretch out the dough pieces until ends are slightly tapered. Line 1-2 tbsp of chocolate parallel to the bottom edge and another 3cm ahead. Roll dough over the chocolate toward the top short edge to form a croissant with the seam at the bottom. Repeat with others.
- Place croissants on baking sheets lined with silicone mats. Make egg wash by whisking together egg and 1 tbsp water. Brush croissants egg wash. Allow to rise for 60-90 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Brush croissants with egg wash. Sprinkle sea salt on top.
- Bake in preheated oven until golden brown or for 25 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Cool for 1 hour.