I’ve never actually made Pain au Chocolat before, shockingly despite spending the large part of my childhood shoving them into my gob. Do give them a go though! They’re lush!
I have made a note in the recipe about the chocolate as ideally you need sticks. Most bars of chocolate have pieces which are too wide on their own so you need to trim them. I was thinking you could perhaps use the Twirls given they're so small these days they're like a Cadbury's finger, or you could use (if you have the dough) those chocolate pieces from Hotel Chocolat.
Hands-on Time 40 minutes
Proving Time +2 hours
Baking Time 25 minutes
200g Dark chocolate (minimum 70%)
Bread flour for dusting
1 Egg, medium
Container/jug/drinking glass filled with boiling water or blowtorch
Pizza cutter or sharp knife
2 Baking sheets
2 Roasting tins or tea towels
You can skip this step if you can find thin fingers of chocolate. If you have a bar of chocolate you’ll need to make your own.
You can either sit a knife in boiling water to warm up the blade and help you slice through the chocolate bar, or you could heat the blade using a blowtorch but you need to be careful. From a bar of chocolate you need to make 16 fingers. If any break use any drops of melted chocolate to join them back together like edible glue.
Set the chocolate fingers aside.
Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. I find it’s best to cut the dough in half and tackle these in two batches.
Roll a piece of the dough onto a very lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring about 45cm x 25cm.
Roll from the middle outwards, being sure to lift the dough occasionally to let it relax as you roll.
Using a pizza cutter or knife cut the sheet of dough in half width ways. Cut each of these in half again so you have 4 rectangles.
Place one finger of chocolate a couple of centimetres away from the edge of the pastry. Fold the pastry over the chocolate before placing a second finger of chocolate on top of it.
Take the remaining exposed edge and wrap it around, over the chocolate, and tuck it underneath the pastry. Both pieces of chocolate should now be enclosed.
Repeat with the other 3 pieces.
Place the pastries onto a lined baking sheet evenly spaced apart.
Cover with a roasting tin if you have one large and deep enough, or similar, or failing that cover very gently with a tea towel.
Repeat with the second piece of dough, using the other baking sheet and cover again.
Leave to prove for at least 2 hours until doubled in size and wobbly. It helps to leave them somewhere slightly warm but not hot or humid.
Preheat the oven 170°C/150°C(Fan)/325°F/Gas mark 3.
Beat an egg in a small bowl until very loose and smooth.
Gently brush the top surfaces of the pastries, not the layers as it will seal them shut, with the beaten egg.
Pop one of the sheets into the oven on a middle shelf for 25 minutes until they are golden.
Remove and leave to cool whilst you bake the second batch.
Transfer them onto a wire rack and leave until completely cooled. It’s worth the wait.