Classic French Pain Aux Raisin

Classic French Pain Aux Raisin

The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Prep: 12 hrs 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Rise and Rest Time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total: 15 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 18 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
248 Calories
13g Fat
29g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18
Amount per serving
Calories 248
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 43mg 14%
Sodium 189mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 24mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 105mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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 of the visit must be pain aux raisins, a soft, warm pastry filled with custard (frangipane) and plump raisins. Warm from the oven, they are at their irresistible best. But even if that's not your memory, this lovely breakfast pastry can be yours, made in your own kitchen, with a bit of planning and preparation. It's easier than you think.

Pain au raisin translates to bread with raisins, but you may have also seen it referred to pain au raisin escargot, because of the snail-like shape of the little individual pastries. The dough rises and is folded and refrigerated several times as you would when making croissants, in a process called lamination—it's what helps create those flaky layers. Then it's spread with frangipane, sprinkled with raisins, rolled up, sliced, brushed with an egg wash, and then baked. It does take a few hours all told, to let the dough rise, but much of it is hands-off work and you can go about and do other things. And then, in the end, you'll have a delicious pastry to eat with tea or coffee.

Ingredients

For the Raisins:

  • 3/4 cup plump, dark raisins

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/3 cup cognac, optional

For the Dough:

  • 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 unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 2/3 cup frangipane or sweet almond filling

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 tablespoons milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic French Pain Aux Raisin ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  2. Stir together the raisins, water, and cognac (if using) and leave for 12 to 24 hours.  

    Raisins soaking in a bowl with water and cognac

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  3. To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer

    Yeast and water in a stand mixer

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  4. Add the flour, milk, sugar, melted butter, and salt to the dissolved yeast and water, and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of extra flour at a time, until the mixture is just firm enough to hold a shape.

    Dough in a stand mixer

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

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

    Dough ball wrapped in plastic

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

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

    Dough rolled out on parchment paper

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  7. 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 x 15-inch shape.

    Butter brushed dough folded into thirds

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

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

    Folded dough on parchment paper

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  9. Roll the dough into a 10 x 30-inch rectangle and spread the frangipane across the surface of the rectangle.

    Dough with frangipane spread on top

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  10. Drain the raisins, discarding the liquid, and evenly scatter them over the surface of the almond filling.

    Dough with frangipane and raisins on top

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  11. Roll the dough into a log and cut it crosswise into 18 slices.

    Dough log with raisins and almond filling cut into pieces

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  12. Arrange each slice on a lightly greased baking sheet with at least 2 inches between each. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for 60 to 90 minutes until they are nearly doubled in size.

    French Pain Aux Raisin on a parchment-lined baking sheet

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  13. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Whisk the egg and 2 tablespoons milk together to make an egg wash.

    Egg wash in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  14. Brush the egg wash across the surface of each pastry.

    French Pain Aux Raisin dough brushed with egg wash

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  15. Bake the pains aux raisins for 14 to 16 minutes, until they are puffed and golden brown.

    Classic French Pain Aux Raisin

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Tip

Make sure that your dough gets good and cold every time it goes back into the refrigerator for a chill after you've turned and folded it. The colder it gets, the flakier the pastry will be when it bakes.

Variation

If you don't want to make frangipane, you can use almond pastry cream instead.

How to Store and Freeze Pain au Raisin

Baked pain aux raisin will keep at room temperature, covered, for a day or two. They're best warm right from the oven.

If you would like to freeze some of them before you bake them, so you have them for a later date, you can.


Freeze them after you complete Step 11. Cut them into pieces and then transfer to a parchment-lined sheet and freeze them. Once frozen, transfer to a container or a zip-close freezer bag. When you're ready to bake them, remove them from the oven, transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment and loosely covered with a clean towel. Let them proof for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature and bake as directed.