Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pain au Chocolat and Dreams of Paris





I was inspired this week by Shelly over at Franishnonspeaker and her posting on Pain au Chocolat. I dropped out of pastry school before we made it to croissants, but I remember watching with envy the results of everyone's hard work. After reading Shelly's post on Pain au Chocolat, I knew I had to attempt them. It didn't help matters that lately I have been obsessed with Paris. Probably because the last time I was there was this time of the year. Just 4 years ago I was arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport. J keeps asking me what I want for Christmas and each time I say-Paris. The economy and our pocketbooks being what they are-very tight-I don't think a walk along the Seine is in the cards for this month. But a girl can dream and a girl can bake. And I will always dream of Paris.

Paris 2006 -My Moondance




My little babies are proofing for a few hours-they will be chilling in the oven and hoping to grow into little Parisian pretties here in West Seattle. This is my first attempt at Pain au Chocolat. I'm encouraged by the layers visible to me-fingers still crossed. I used the recipe from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson. Tartine is another cookbook I would love to bake my way through . Hint-for the baker in your family it's a great Christmas gift. Beautiful pictures and wonderful recipes. And if you want to try to make these, head over to Shelly's blog, Franishnonspeaker for the recipe. Or better yet buy the book.

Progress update-here are my little babies after proofing for 90 minutes:





Out of the proofing stage and waiting for their egg wash




All ready to enter the oven and now praying to St Honore (the patron saint of bakers). Can't open the oven for the first 10 minutes-pacing the kitchen waiting for my little sweets. I'm very excited, in the oven for 7 minutes and my kitchen smells like a Parisian Boulanger . My prayers were successful ! (But you knew that from the photo at the top of the page . )
















I couldn't be prouder at my first attempt at Pain au Chocolat, and certainly not my last. I'm already adding to my "to be tried list": twice baked almond croissants, Pain au Jambon and classic French croissants. These are so flaky-the crust crumbles all over when you bite into them. And right out of the oven , still warm, the bittersweet chocolate center drips over the warm heart of the croissant . Yes I'm back in Paris sitting at a little outdoor cafe with the morning sun peaking through the trees,the air cool and crisp, the espresso hot and steamy and the Pain au Chocolat-perfect . Thank you St. Honore.









8 comments:

Tami said...

Nicely done! Homemade Pain au chocolate are tricky. And I see they are definitely "Tartine"-size! But lucky you, if you don't feel like doing the work next time you can go to Cafe Besalu which make absolute perfect ones in my opinions - rivaling some of Paris' best. But there really is nothing like the smell of those homemade Pain au chocolates baking at home , is there?

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

Thank you Tami, and yes definitely Tartine size ! I can't imagine how enormous the double ones are . I don't think I have a baking tray large enough to hold them. I'll have to try Cafe Besalu-and you are right about the smell coming from my kitchen-heavenly..

Elaine said...

OMG! Sandy, these look absolutely delectable! I have never been to Paris nor have I had one of these. I want both! Beautiful post.

bellini valli said...

There was a French bakery that made what they called Chocolatines. Sadly they are now gone since the owners moved back to Quebec. You never know I might attmept these as one of my challenges.

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

Thank you Elaine and Val these would be a great challenge for you-I'm sure they would come out beautifully !

Greta said...

Hello neighbor (I'm in Portland). I just found your blog and am enjoying a pain au chocolat now as I read. I made these yesterday for Christmas breakfast (my first time, too).
Nice blog. I'll be checking back. Mine is http://grettacooks.wordpress.com/ if you want to peek. I'll post my pain au chocolat this weekend.
Happy baking!

Greta said...

Hello neighbor (I'm in Portland). I just found your blog and am enjoying a pain au chocolat now as I read. I made these yesterday for Christmas breakfast (my first time, too).
Nice blog. I'll be checking back. Mine is http://grettacooks.wordpress.com/ if you want to peek. I'll post my pain au chocolat this weekend.
Happy baking!

Roadtrek Girl said...

Greta,
So glad you tried them-you just can't go wrong with any recipes from Tartine. Thank you for stopping by.