Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Saturday, 29th January 2011

You already know I’m a huge lover of Italian Pastries. What you may not know (because I’ve hardly talked about it) there’s another pastry in my life. It’s true.  I’ve been unfaithful to my beloved Italian pastries.  I’m also a huge lover of French Pastries, especially Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants).  Oh là là!

A photo of a bowl of Pain Au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants) made from homemade Pâte Croissant (Croissant Dough).

But to be completely honest, just about any type of pastry will do.  I’ve had a sort of love/hate relationship with pastry because although I love to eat it, I have had a fear of making it.  I decided recently that it was time to put my fears to bed and try my hand at Pastry Dough.

I’ve always wanted to make authentic Pain au Chocolat, a pastry with one or two pieces of chocolate in the middle.  Pain au Chocolate can be made with Pâte Feuilletée (Puff Pastry) or Pâte Croissant (Croissant Dough).

I set out to compare the Pastry Dough’s, their recipes and their methods.  And in the process I learned something very surprising.  Pâte Feuilletée does not include a leavener.  How could it rise so high I wondered?  The answer is in the precise combination of its four main ingredients, flour, butter, salt and water.

A photo of Chocolate Croissants cooling on a wire rack.

Unlike Pâte Feuilletée, Pâte Croissant does in fact use a leavener, yeast.  After careful consideration, I thought the method for making Pâte Croissant was a little easier with less opportunity for failure and the added boost from the yeast would help with the rise.  Considering this was my first attempt at pastry dough, easier was better, right?

I soon learned that easier is only better when you read the recipe correctly. Sacrebleu! I thought I went through all the steps carefully.  Then I shaped and filled the Croissants with chocolate and set them aside to rise for 45 to 60 minutes.

A photo of Pain au Chocolate made using homemade Pâte Croissant.

At the 30-minute mark I decided to take a peek and see how well my little pastries were doing.  Imagine my surprise when I saw that they hadn’t risen at all!  Mon dieu!  In the midst of my French profanities I wondered if maybe they just needed a little longer to rise?   I took a deep breath and reminded myself to be patient.  Within minutes I had an “aha” moment and then it took everything in me not to scream a few more choice words.  I knew exactly what I’d done wrong – I used active dry yeast instead of the called for instant yeast.  Can you believe it?

You may be asking “How could she not have realized this sooner?”  Keep in mind this was my first attempt.  After making batch number two I realized the dough rose in between turns.A photo of Chocolate Croissants made using homemade Croissant Dough on a wooden board.

I finished my last turn for batch number 2 in the wee hours of the morning. Although I was tired I was determined to stay awake to finish the Pain au Chocolat so the kids could enjoy them for breakfast.  I set out on this final batch of dough to roll, cut, shape, fill, set aside for final rise and then, finally, to bake.  As determined as I was, at a certain point in the quiet morning hours, my drowsiness finally won over and I dozed off.

I did finally persevere and get those pastries done.  How did they turn out?  A far cry from batch number one (see photo just below), don’t you think?  They were golden brown and crispy on the outside and they puffed up magnificently.

A photo comparing two Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants), one using the proper yeast for leavening and the other using the wrong yeast for leaving.

The pièce de résistance is on the inside – layers and layers of buttery goodness.  I was finally successful in making flaky, melt-in-your-mouth French pastry and when combined with luscious dark chocolate – I couldn’t ask for anything more.

If this isn’t enough to entice you to try making your own Pâte Croissant for Pain au Chocolate, maybe thoughts of an intensely seductive aroma wafting throughout your house will.  The combination of buttery, yeasty sweet dough and chocolate, baked together, was completely irresistible.  It reminded me of the early morning trips to the bakery, surrounded by the sweet aroma of all-night baking.  Yes, there are a lot of steps involved in this recipe, but the destination is well worth the journey!

A photo of French Pastries, Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants) made using homemade Pâte Croissant (Croissant Dough).

Now that I’ve mastered the technique for making Pastry Dough the possibilities for using it is endless.

I’ve tucked away countless recipes for savoury appetizers from Dara’s site, Cookin’ Canuck but this one for Pancetta, Caramelized Onion Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce will be my first.  Dara’s taken 3 of my favourite ingredients and rolled them into one amazing dish!  Do yourself a favour and visit Dara’s site but just one warning – don’t visit on an empty stomach!

On the sweet end of things, my Chocolate Custard Tartlettes and Cannoncini will taste extraordinary with homemade pastry dough I can’t wait to enjoy.

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Pasticcini, Pastries, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Yeast Breads & Yeast Dough

Comments (45)

45 Responses to “Pâte Croissant and Pain au Chocolat-Croissant Dough-Chocolate Croissant”

  1. fridays with coco Says:

    These look amazing! Also, thanks for posting the white chocolate brownie recipe, huge hit with the fam and friends :) I posted it on my blog. Hope you have the time to check it out! Love your photography too!

  2. Tweets that mention Pâte Croissant and Pain au Chocolat-Croissant Dough-Chocolate Croissant | La Mia Vita Dolce -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alison Lewis and elena cestafe, Grace Langlois. Grace Langlois said: New Blog Post-I finally made Pate Croissant and used it to Make Pain au Chocolat http://su.pr/7qZsHg #desserts #sweets #chocolate #pastries [...]

  3. Lauren at KeepItSweet Says:

    These look so gorgeous!

  4. Barida Says:

    Hi,
    I also love pain au chocolate, definitely one of my very favourite pastries! Thanks so much for sharing these, they look lovely :-)

  5. Chef Dennis Says:

    Hi Gracie
    what a monumental undertaking! I am in awe! I am not a baker by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love Pain au Chocolat, and would love to learn to make it….thanks for all your tips, when I do try it I will refer to your recipe
    Have a great weekend
    Dennis

  6. Sandra Says:

    Perfection!!! Looks so delicious!

  7. Sara Says:

    French pastries are my #1 cravings! My big project this year is to try to make the pastry myself. I haven’t tried it yet and I’m looking around for all posts, books, tutorials that I can find so thanks for this post! it’s very useful and I bookmarked it for future reference (I need a long weekend to start trying this myself). you did an amazing job!

  8. Angie Says:

    wow, amazing!

  9. Grace Says:

    Thanks Sara, it is time consuming but really not as difficult as I thought. I found it so much easier to work with that pie dough.

  10. The Coffee Break Says:

    They look absolutely amazing! Would be perfect for Sunday breakfast treat!

  11. Cookin' Canuck Says:

    There is nothing like a really good pain au chocolat. I ate far too many of them when I backpacked through Europe years ago. I am excited to try these!

  12. Grace Says:

    Sounds like fun Dara, I wish I would’ve have done that. Trying to convince my daughter to enjoy Europe this summer but I am failing miserably. Maybe I should hold back because I think if she went she may never want to come back.

  13. Grace Says:

    Oh yes perfect Sunday morning treat and so quick once the pastry is made to put together.

  14. penny aka jeroxie Says:

    oh Gosh! Perfecto!! :D

  15. Michelle Says:

    Beautiful…simply gorgeous! You should be very proud, some people go their entire lives without mastering pastry!

    Congratulations!

  16. Grace Says:

    Thank you Michelle, Puff pastry is next for me, hoping I can achieve those beautiful layers.

  17. bigFATcook Says:

    Wow, these croissants look so crunchy and delicious… I wish I had time to make these.. :)

    Greets!

  18. Shelby Says:

    I actually made a danish pastry way back in the beginning of my blogging days and couldn’t believe how easy it actually was. I love you chocolate ones – reminds me of he chocolate pastries I get at Panera Bread (the easy way for me to get my fix without over doing it!). Congrats on your accomplishment!

  19. Lizzy Says:

    I’ve made that same mistake! From the look of your gorgeous photos, it was definitely worth the one hiccup :)

  20. SMITH BITES Says:

    congrats Grace!! that is one be undertaking and one i personally won’t be attempting – so bowing down to you now girl!! beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!

  21. Jill Colonna Says:

    Amazing Gracie! These look better than you can get in MANY Parisian Pâtisseries. Really felt for you being up checking on them at 2am but was worth it, n’est-ce pas? Fabulous.

  22. Jeanette Says:

    Wow, I am so impressed with your pastry skills! These look so beautiful and professional!

  23. Angie Says:

    Hey Grace! These are lovely!

  24. Grace Says:

    They were definitely worth it Jill. I think I have the pastry bug, want to try the Pate Feuilletee this week, wish me luck. I know this pastry dough will be more difficult but I figure I might as well start it now and practise and practise until I get it right.

  25. Cherine Says:

    AMAZING!!

  26. Cajun Chef Ryan Says:

    This is one of the most challenging pastry items to make by hand, especially if you do not have professional pastry equipment to roll out the thin layers of dough without breaking up between the layers of butter.

    You did it!

    Bon appetit!

  27. Grace Says:

    Thank you Chef!

  28. Grace Says:

    Definitely worth it in the end, thank you Jill!

  29. Marly Says:

    These look so beautiful! I took a graduate course in Buenos Aires and they served some chocolate filled pastries that looked very similar to these (yours look better of course!). And so these pics are bringing back wonderful memories! I’m glad you persevered through this recipe!

  30. Grace Says:

    Marly you never told me that, I must hear all about it!

  31. cursuri cosmetica Says:

    I always wanted to know how to make croissants without having to buy the dough. I’m gonna try your recipe over the weekend.

  32. Amy Says:

    A+. You wrapped them perfectly. Nice work.

  33. Joy Says:

    This looks wonderful. It is great you tried croissants.

  34. Lindsay Says:

    I made these for my Mom on Mother’s day and they couldn’t have turned out better! Thankyou soooo much for the recipe.

  35. Grace Says:

    You are most welcome Lindsay – so very happy you enjoyed!

  36. Strawberry Cream Cheese, Recipe for Danish, Danish Pastries | La Mia Vita Dolce Says:

    [...] most of the recipes use the store-bought variety.  I found a great little recipe for making my own Puff Pastry and surprisingly enough, the list of ingredients was fairly small.  But after making my own (a [...]

  37. tasteofbeirut Says:

    I wanted to make croissants with zaatar, very popular (and delicious) in Lebanon, but all the French websites are not as clear as yours; I will follow your guideline as a start and hopefully will stop here! Thanks!

  38. Grace Says:

    You’re most welcome!

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  41. Michelle A. Mead Says:

    A pain au chocolat is not a chocolate croissant. The word croissant refers to a crescent shape, not the pastry dough it is made with. You can find chocolate croissants, but they are the traditional croissant shape, but with a piece of chocolate inserted into them. This is often done with day old croissants, which may have chocolate or custard cream or both put into a split croissant. Please stop this misinformation that a pain au chocolat and a chocolate croissant are one and the same thing. They are not! Just go to France, ask for a chocolate croissant, and see what you get. Probably a bewildered stare.

  42. Grace Says:

    Michelle I do know what a croissant is but here in Canada pain au chocolat are often referred to as chocolate croissants and often times people search for the pain au chocolat on the web using this term. I don’t believe I said that they were the same but if my placing the familiar term, Chocolate Croissants, in the title gave that impression I apologize because I did not mean to lead my visitors astray. I do want to point out that this was my description of the Pain au Chocolat “a pastry with one or two pieces of chocolate in the middle”. I went on to describe the two types of dough that are used the Pâte Croissant (yeasted dough) and the Pâte Feuilletée. Again I apologize it was never my intention to confuse or provide misinformation, I write and share recipes to pass along the tips I’ve learned along the way and also to impart the knowledge that I’ve learned.

  43. Dessert | Pearltrees Says:

    [...] If this isn’t enough to entice you to try making your own Pâte Croissant for Pain au Chocolate , maybe thoughts of an intensely seductive aroma wafting throughout your house will. Pâte Croissant-Pain au Chocolat-Croissant Dough-Chocolate Croissant | La Mia Vita Dolce [...]

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