The Classic French Treat: Pains au Chocolat
Pains au chocolat are a classic French pastry and Nick Malgieri breaks it down for the home baker. Buttery Croissant Dough encases rich chocolate for an extraordinary treat. This recipe is from his new book, Nick Malgieri’s Pastry, and we are also featuring a timely Cranberry Pecan Pie. Don’t miss our interview with this world-renowned teacher.
Excerpted with permission from Nick Malgieri’s Pastry: Foolproof Recipes for the Home Cook by Nick Malgieri. Published by Kyle Books 2014. Photographs by Romulo Yanes.
These “chocolate loaves” are usually filled with tiny specially made bars of semisweet chocolate called batons boulangers (bakery sticks). You can order those online, or you can buy two 3- to 4-ounce bars of premium semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, let it soften at room temperature, and cut it into 3/4-inch strips using a thin sharp knife run under hot water and wiped between cuts.
- ½ batch/40 ounces/560 grams Professor Calvel’s Croissant Dough, chilled
- 32 small ¼-ounce chocolate bars, or two 3- to 4-ounce bars semisweet or bittersweet chocolate cut into 16 pieces measuring ¾ x 4 inches
- Egg wash: 1 egg whisked with a pinch of salt
- Place the dough on a floured surface and roll to a 16-inch square. Mark, then cut the dough into sixteen 4-inch squares. Line 2 large jellyroll pans with parchment paper.
- Place 2 small bars or 1 larger piece of chocolate about 11/2 inches in from one side of the dough square, then fold the dough over to enclose it. Fold the dough over once more and place the pastry, seam side down, on one of the prepared pans. Repeat until all the dough squares have been filled with chocolate, leaving as much space as possible between them on the pans.
- Cover with a lightweight flat-weave towel and let proof until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour or a little longer, depending on the temperature of the room.
- Once the pastries have started to puff, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 450°F.
- Gently brush the pains au chocolat with the egg wash. Place in the oven and decrease the temperature to 400°F. Bake until well risen and starting to color, about 10 minutes.
- Switch the positions of the pans, swapping from one oven rack to the other and turning from front to back. Bake about 10 minutes more, until the pastries are baked through.
- Cool on a rack and serve the day they are baked, or bag and freeze them. Reheat frozen pains au chocolat at 350°F for 10 minutes, then cool slightly before serving.