Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sweet Saturday: Pétit Pain Au Chocolat

My Life in France  by Julia Child is currently on my bedside table, and I'm savouring every word.  Admittedly this is my first real read of hers, and  I'm blushing as I write this, but I've never made one of her recipes, and I've only seen a few clips of her TV show.  This is shameful, and something I must remedy ASAP.  Of course I read Julie and Julia, and saw the movie too; not sure if I fell in love more with Meryl Streep or Julia Child.    My favourite scene in the movie takes place at one of their dinner parties and Paul is toasting her, saying she's the "butter to his bread, the breath to his life."  So. Lovely.  

Seems like I've been drawn to all things French lately.....A few nights ago I watched Coco Avant Chanel, starring the absolutely gorgeous Audrey Tatou, whom you may recall was in one of my favourite movies, AmelieCoco was wonderful as well - full of fashion and glorious Parisian panorama.  Who knew Chanel was such a social rebel?

I've never been to France.  Heck I've never even been to Europe, which is a travesty in itself.  What sort of self-respecting food lover can write about and live food like I do, and yet has not seen Le Tour Eiffel? A trip is slowly being plotted in the back of my mind:  a hiking tour perhaps; through lavender fields even better.  Stops along the way for dining with the locals, and sipping extraordinary wine.  Then stationing myself in Paris of course.... cafe au lait and croissants on the riverbank; museums and markets; eating until I can eat no more.  "France before Forty" is slowly becoming my mantra.  Who wants to come along?

Being inspired by France and all of its loveliness, I decided to simulate something here, that I know I will love there:  Pain au Chocolat.  This recipe has been hiding out in a binder of mine for years, and I don't know why I haven't made it sooner.  Nothing could be simpler or more lavish on a brunch table; or boxed up with a pretty bow and brought with you to someone else's brunch table.  Easily prepped the night before, and a quick bake in the morning - Voila!  Melted dark chocolate mingles with the buttery layers of puff pastry in a heavenly poem* that is sure to send you pining for France.

Pétit Pain Au Chocolat

2 sheets puff pastry (one 17.3 ounce package), thawed, each sheet cut into 12 squares. Or if you are unable to find the sheet kind, roll out each half until 1/8 inch thick, and cut into squares.  (The sheet size I used was approximately 13"x 17" and I cut 12 squares out of that.  If you can't find that big a size, just roll out what you can, and make the squares accordingly.
1 large egg, beaten, with a bit of water
4 100g. bars bittersweet or milk chocolate.  Each bar cut into six 2x1" pieces, about.  Mine sort of just cracked and I dished it out accordingly. 
Coarse sugar

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment pater.  Brush each puff pastry square with the egg wash.  Place 1 chocolate piece on edge of pastry square.  Roll up dough tightly, enclosing chocolate.  Repeat with remaining chocolate and pastry.  Place seam side down on the bake sheet.   (Can be make one day ahead.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Brush tops of pastry rolls with the egg glaze.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar (or regular).  Bake until pastries are golden brown, about 20-22 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temp.   Makes 24 irresistible bundles. 

* Julia Child once described some sole as if it were a  "poem".  Seemed appropriate here as well. 


  1. i would love to go back to paris! i was only 18 when i went, i'd love to return with fresh eyes!
    one memory i do have of europe was the nutella filled croissants- much like these!! of course, they were supreme to the crappy things we call croissants here!
    i'm gonna have to get me a couple boxes of puff pastry these look great!

    ps- that line by stanley tucci is just about enough to melt your heart :)

  2. So pretty! I love pain au chocolat. It's my biggest weakness! I'm rooting for you to make it to France. It really is lovely.

  3. Ashley, that is the best line, no? I swoon every time I see a clip. Shelley, I'm rooting for me to make it to France too! By the way, I think these Pain au Chocolat are my new favourite things in the whole world.

  4. I have been thinking alot about our honeymoon in Paris in 2005- probably because I am finally getting around to completing a scrapbook of our trip....such a beautiful amazing city. We have set our sights on going for our 10th anniversary...and 20th anniversary! Oh and your Pain au chocolat--yum!!

  5. Stacy, I love that you went to Paris for your honeymoon and I love that you will go again, and again. Next time I visit you, I'd love to see your scrapbook!

  6. Thank you for delivering a sample of these Renee...they were absolutely delicious (delicieux if I remember my grade 8 french correctly!!!) The recipie seems pretty straight-forward, so I may have to tackle these lovely little morsels some weekend...I will keep you posted!! Lydia

  7. Glad you enjoyed the pain au chocolat, Lydia... You can totally tackle these!

  8. Hi Renee,
    Just discovered you today and will be trying some of your recipes. Your photos are beautiful. I also have a culinary background and an arts degree. And I live in Montreal, home of wondrous food. I went to Paris by myself 10 years ago when I turned 40. It was fabulous!! I do hope that you get there. As a foodie you will swoon. And the architecture and museums are heavenly.
    Btw loved Julie and Julia.


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