The Classic French Pain au Raisin Recipe

pains-aux-raisins
Pain Aux Raisin. Tastyart Ltd Rob White - Getty Images
    3 hrs 15 mins
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Memories of a trip to the Boulangerie for breakfast pastries warm from the baker's oven are one of the enduring memories of being in France. One must-have from the visit  -apart from the Croissant that is - must be a Pain aux Raisins, the soft warm pastry filled with a sweet custard of frangipane and plump, fat raisins. Warm from the oven they are at their best, so why not make them at home, it is easier than you think, though you may need a little planning in advance and perhaps best saved for a weekend. 

What You'll Need

  • 3/4 cup plump, dark raisins
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup Cognac (optional)
  • 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 butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup frangipane or sweet almond filling
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk

How to Make It

Rehydrate your raisins at least 12 to 24 hours before you plan to make your pains aux raisin. Stir together the raisins, water, and Cognac (if using).  Store the mixture in the refrigerator until use.

When you are ready to make your bread, dissolve the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer.  

Add the bread flour, milk, sugar, melted butter, and salt to the dissolved yeast and water and mix the dough on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

If the dough is too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of extra flour at a time, until the dough is just firm enough to fold a shape.

Shape dough into a ball and loosely cover it with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into a 10-inch by 15-inch rectangle, and then cover it loosely and allow it to rise for 40 minutes.

Brush the rectangle with the softened butter 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.

Fold the dough into thirds, again, and then cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Repeat this process one more time.

Roll the dough into a 10-inch by 30-inch rectangle and spread the frangipane across the surface of the rectangle. Drain the raisins, discarding the soaking liquid, and evenly scatter them over the surface of the almond filling. Roll the dough into a log and cut it crosswise into 18 slices. Arrange each slice on a lightly greased baking sheet with at least 2 inches between each pastry. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for 1 hour to 90 minutes, until they are nearly doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Whisk the egg and 2 tablespoons milk together to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash across the surface of each pastry. Bake the pains au raisin for 14 to 16 minutes, until they are puffed and golden brown.

Updated by Elaine Lemm