I've really been trying hard to stay focused on the things that need to be done at home; painting of the new bathroom, planting of the vegetable garden, and preparing for my daughter's graduation from high school. With all of that on my plate, I haven't been doing a stellar job of planning meals around this place. (We've been eating a lot of burgers.) But one thing I always crave is pastry along with my cappuccino in the morning. When I saw this recipe for Pain au Cinnamon Raisin I knew I had to somehow work it into my schedule.
Pain au Cinnamon Raisin
from About.com FRENCH FOOD
• 3/4 cup raisins ( I used currants)
• 3/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup Cognac
• 4 teaspoons instant dried yeast
• 1/2 cup lukewarm water
• 3 1/2 cups bread flour
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
• 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup vanilla crème patisserie (recipe follows)
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 egg
• 2 tablespoons milk
1. Stir together the raisins (currants), water and Cognac. Keep chilled in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours before proceeding with the recipe.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes. Add the bread flour, milk, 1/3 cup sugar, melted butter and salt to the dissolved yeast and water and mix the dough on medium speed of an electric mixer for about 2 minutes.
3. Shape the dough into a ball and loosely cover it with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Roll the dough out into a 10-inch-by-15-inch rectangle, then cover it loosely and allow it to rise for 40 minutes.
4. Brush the rectangle of dough with the softened butter ( I worked the butter into a very soft "paste" in a small mixing bowl using the back of a wooden spoon), and then fold the dough into thirds like a letter. Roll the long, thin rectangle back into the original 10-inch-by-15-inch shape and fold into thirds, again. Place the dough onto a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Repeat this process one more time.
5. Roll the dough into a 10-inch-by-30-inch rectangle and spread the vanilla crème patisserie evenly over the surface of the rectangle. Drain the raisins (or currants if using instead) and discard the soaking liquid. Scatter the raisins evenly over the pastry cream. Mix together the tablespoon of sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the raisins and pastry cream.
6. Very carefully, roll the dough into a log and cut into 18 slices. Using 2 parchment lined baking sheets, place 9 slices on each baking sheet; try to space the rolls by 2-inches. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes, or until almost double in size.
7. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Mix together the egg and 2 tablespoons milk and brush onto the tops of the rolls. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for approximately 16 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Remove to a cooling rack.
Crème Patisserie (pastry cream)
• 1 1/4 cups whole milk
• 3 egg yolks
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam. While the milk is warming, mix together the egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornstarch until the mixture is completely smooth.
2. Once the milk is steaming, add half of it, whisking constantly, to the egg yolk mixture. Add the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan of milk and cook about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not let it boil! Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer to a small bowl and press plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled before using.
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