Pain gourmand au chocolat

This was my first attempt at making pains gourmands au chocolat, the second recipe in La Patisserie des Reves by Philippe Conticini, and what a pleasant surprise!

Here I'll share a bit about the process and offer some ingredient suggestions. The recipe is straight forward, the dough easy to prepare and handle, and the final product a lovely roll with a small crumb, nice texture and smooth chocolate flavor.  What a great addition to a special breakfast, weekend brunch or afternoon tea.

Here's a brief synopsis of the process:  melt the chocolate and butter over a bain marie and let cool until tepid.

Mix the rest of the ingredients (except for the chocolate chips) and knead on low for 5 minutes and then on medium for 5 minutes.  Turn back to low speed and add the tepid chocolate-butter mixture in three additions, blending after each addition until incorporated.

As you can see my 6 qt KitchenAid can handle this amount of dough very easily.  See how the dough has cleaned the sides of the bowl.  Now add the chocolate chips on low speed.

And here's the dough, all chocolate chipped, ready to be divided and shaped into boules.

Above: boules ready for a 3 hour room temp rise.

Below: after the rise, egg washed and sprinkled with raw sugar

Just out of the oven . . . . .

and time for a taste!

Steve and I sliced into one for a first taste sans garniture, then followed that with a dollop of raspberry jam, which was delightful.

The wheels are already turning with other possibilities - how about sandwiched with layers of chocolate ganache and caramel mascarpone cream?  Or a chocolate version of Bostock with chocolate almond (or hazelnut!) cream and lightly spiced poached pear?  Or a delicious bread pudding with tart cherries, pecans and chocolate chunks?  Just imagine!

Now for a few ingredient notes: when the recipe calls for chocolat noir, sucre roux, fleur de sel, cacao en poudre, I use the following:  Valrhona Manjari 64%, coarse raw sugar, Beanilla's vanilla fleur de sel (one of my favorite things!), and Penzey's Dutch process cocoa powder. 

It is not uncommon for French recipes to call for water and powdered milk in some viennoiserie doughs. When I see those two ingredients, I replace them with whole milk, e.g. 200 ml of water and 12 gm of poudre de lait = 212 gm of whole milk in my book.

This recipe calls for farine type 55 which is a French flour often used for both bread and general baking. Based on online research, as well as some experimentation of my own while in Paris, when type 55 is the recommended flour, here in the USA I use all purpose flour, but replace a percentage (15-20% by weight) with bread flour to yield a decent equivalent of French type 55. Oh, and I use King Arthur!

A note about yeast: many French recipes call for levure boulanger or fresh yeast. I use instant dry yeast and convert by taking 30% by weight of the amount of fresh yeast called for in the recipe.  e.g.  25 gm fresh yeast = ~7 gm instant. The beauty of instant yeast is longer shelf life (fresh has only 2 weeks at most) and no need to hydrate or "proof" it before adding it into your dough.

I followed the recipe instructions to divide the final dough into six approximately 150 gm boules, but since I generally prefer smaller portions, next time I'd consider 60-80 gm pieces, shaping them into rolls or loaves, depending on what I plan to do with them.

Next up - Chausson Napolitain!