Happy French Friday and welcome to another instalment in what looks to be my breakfast pastry series (a couple of weeks ago I shared the recipe for this apricot pastry – soooo good!). Today I’ve got a recipe for a pastry that was my Sunday treat most weekends when I lived in Paris: pain suisse au chocolat.
Basically it’s brioche dough filled with pastry cream and a scattering of chocolate chips and baked to golden perfection! It’s the perfect weekend treat! When I lived in Paris, I didn’t have a washing machine in my apartment so Sunday mornings would be reserved for doing my laundry. While it was washing, I’d take advantage of the supermarkets being open until midday (this was a fairly new concept back then) to get my shopping done and I’d always pick myself up a pain suisse which I would enjoy with a coffee once my shopping was put away and my laundry complete. Though I didn’t indulge in breakfast pastries every morning (who can?), this was my weekend ritual that I looked forward to every week. At the time, with so many great pastries available on every corner, I never thought to make my own but now I don’t have them easily available, I set about figuring them out myself over the summer.
In fact, they couldn’t be easier – true, they do require a little bit of time but nothing about the recipe is particularly complicated. It’s a great weekend project because who doesn’t want to include this deliciousness on their brunch table:
You KNOW you want to try these, right?
2 hours 55 minutes
For the brioche
3 1/3 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup (250 mL) 2% milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
All-purpose flour, for sprinkling
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil, for the proofing bowl
For the pastry cream
1 cup (250 mL) 2% milk
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces
Approx. 1 cup (200g) chocolate chips
1 large egg, beaten (for eggwash)
Make the brioche
- Place the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Heat the milk in a small pot over low heat to 110˚F (43˚C), measuring the temperature with a digital thermometer. If you are using a microwave, use a microwave-safe bowl and start with 30 seconds on high. If it’s not hot enough, you can continue to heat in increments of 15 seconds, to be sure not to overheat.
- Pour the warm milk into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are just combined. The mixture will be a little shaggy and dry at this stage.
- Whisk the beaten egg and melted butter together to combine and then stir them carefully into the dough until the mixture comes together and all the dry ingredients are fully combined. This will be a fairly sticky mixture at first. I use a rubber spatula to press the dry ingredients into the dough when it seems like the wooden spoon can’t be of any more help.
- Bring the dough together with your hands, still in the bowl, and start to knead until the dough comes together fully and starts to feel smooth.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle it with a little more flour and start to knead. You’ll be kneading for 5 full minutes continually, so it’s a good idea to share this task with another person! To knead, you’ll need to stretch the dough away from you with the heel of one hand and pull it toward you with the other hand and then roll the dough into a ball. Knead a few times with the heel of your hand and then stretch the dough again. Continue like this for 5 minutes. The dough will be smooth and elastic by the time you’re done.
- Pour around 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil into a large metal or glass bowl and use a paper towel to evenly coat the insides of the bowl with the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave it to proof at room temperature for 1 hour.
Make the crème pâtissière
- In a medium pot, bring the milk to a boil over medium-high heat.
- In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a separate medium pot.
- Once the milk has just reached a boil, remove it from the heat and pour a couple of teaspoons of milk into the egg yolk mixture and whisk until combined. Whisk quickly so you don’t scramble the eggs.
- Slowly pour in the rest of the hot milk, whisking constantly, and place this pot over medium-high heat.
Continue to whisk until the mixture starts to thicken and produce large, slow bubbles. This should take 3 to 5 minutes. It should be quite thick (it should coat the back of a wooden spoon). Remove the pot from the heat.
- Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and whisk gently to cool the mixture down slightly. Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Whisk in the vanilla and then the butter, a couple of pieces at a time, until completely incorporated.
- Cover the crème pâtissière with plastic wrap, with the wrap touching the surface to prevent a skin forming, allow it to come to room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to use.
Assemble the brioche
- Once the dough has rested for 1 hour at room temperature, punch the dough down, turn it over and let it rest another 30 minutes.
- Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a work surface covered in parchment paper (you don't want to work on a floured surface here).
- Roll the dough out to a large (50cm x 30cm) rectangle. Work slowly but deliberately here as the dough will "bounce" back.
- Spread the crème pâtissière over half of the dough, lengthwise and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the cream.
- Fold the dough in half, lengthwise (this is where parchment can help - use it to manipulate the dough so you don't have to touch it too much), making sure the edges meet on the long side. Press the dough slightly and pinch the edges closed.
- Use a long, sharp knife (or a pizza cutter) to cut 12 rectangles (roughly 4cm wide - if you like you can place a tape measure down the length of the pastry to guide you).
- Place the pastries on the baking trays, flattening them slightly with your hands (be careful the cream doesn't escape!) and cover with a clean tea-towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Bake and enjoy
- Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F.
- Brush the pastries with a little eggwash and bake for approx 25 minutes or until golden on top.
- Allow to cool slightly befor eating. Great at room temperature the day they are baked. The next day, you can gently reheat them in an oven or pop them in a mocrowave for a few seconds.
Happy (French) Friday!
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