French Raisin Buns

French Raisin Buns

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These rolls must be started a day in advance but well worth the extra planning.

1/4 cup dark rum

1/2 cup raisins

Brioche dough:

1/4 cup warm water

1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. active dry yeast

4 cups flour

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 3/4 tsp. salt

5-6 egg, as needed

1 1/4 cups butter, cool

Pastry Cream:

2 cups whole milk

1 vanilla bean , split and seeded

1/2 cup sugar

5 egg yolks

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 egg, beaten for glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place the raisins into a jar with the rum, seal and let soak overnight.

Brioche Dough:

Place the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let stand until bloomed. Transfer yeast mixture to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the flour, sugar and salt; mix until combined.

Add 3 of the eggs. Mix on low until blended; add another egg. Raise the speed and mix until nearly blended. Add another egg and mix. The dough should be smooth and elastic; not too dry or too soggy but should stick to the sides and bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too dry, add the remaining egg. Knead for about 10 minutes until dough is very smooth. Cover the dough and let rise until doubled.

Return the bowl to the mixer. Add the butterĀ  2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until absorbed. Don’t over mix. You do not want the dough to become warm. Transfer the dough to a bowl ; cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pastry Cream:

Combine the milk , vanilla beans and scraped seeds in a saucepan. Bring the milk mixture to a boil. Remove from heat; cover for 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch. Place the milk back on the heat and bring to a simmer. Temper the egg mixture with the hot milk, adding about half, whisking in until combined. Pour the egg mixture back int the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture and whisk to combine. Continue whisking mixture until it begins to boil; whisk constantly 2 minutes . Remove from heat. Place pastry cream in a bowl. Cover the top of the pastry cream with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Strain the raisins from the rum; reserving the rum. Drain well.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of sugar; set aside.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a 14×14 inch square. Spread the cooled pastry cream evenly over the top of the dough, leaving a small clean edge of dough at one end. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the pastry cream. Sprinkle the drained raisins evenly over the pastry cream. Gently press the raisins into the pastry cream. Start rolling the dough up like a sausage ending with the clean edge of dough; seal together. Cut the dough into 12 pieces. Place evenly on the baking sheet. Press each roll down slightly. Brush the tops with beaten egg. Reserve extra beaten egg. Place the uncovered sheet pan to rise for 1 hour. Brush the tops with remaining egg. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven; leave oven on. Slide the parchment with the buns onto a wire rack. Allow to cool. Mix together the reserved rum and the powdered sugar. Brush tops of buns with the rum mixture and place cooled buns back in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove and cool. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.

Cream Horns

Cream Horns

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I have two versions, one totally handmade and a quickie for those” I just got to have now” moments

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Egg wash Solution

1 egg yolk

2 tsp milk

whisk together , set side

1 lb. frozen puff pastry

let set out 40 minutes and then form as described in recipe.

Handmade Puff Pastry- allow 24 hours to complete dough

1 cup chilled butter

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup ice water

Set aside 2 tablespoons butter in the refrigerator till needed. Work remaining chilled butter in electric mixer just till butter is pliable. Roll or pat butter between two sheets of waxed paper to an 8×6 inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. Chill thoroughly, at least 1 hour in refrigerator or 20 minutes in freezer. Keep utensils cold in refrigerator or freezer until needed; return before each use. Measure flour into mixing bowl; cut in reserved 2 tablespoons butter with pastry blender till mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add ice water, tossing with fork till a stiff dough forms and follows fork around bowl. Shape into ball. Turn pastry out onto lightly floured surface, knead pastry until smooth and elastic. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. On lightly floured surface, roll pastry to 15×9 inch rectangle. Remove top sheet of waxed paper from chilled rectangle of butter; invert butter over one half the pastry. Remove the remaining sheet from butter rectangle.

Fold pastry over butter, sealing edges by pressing down with heel or side of hand. Wrap in plastic wrap; chill at least 1 hour in refrigerator or 20 minutes in freezer. Unwrap . On lightly floured surface, roll pastry to 15×9 inch rectangle, starting from the center just to the edges. Do not flatten edges by rolling over them and pastry should be an even thickness. Brush any excess flour from pastry. Fold dough in thirds; then turn turn and fold into thirds again. Seal edges. Wrap in plastic wrap; chill thoroughly. Repeat rolling, folding and chilling two more times. Roll to 14×8 inch rectangle. With floured sharp knife and cut pastry into strips 3/4 -1/2 inch wide 14 inch long.

With cream horn tubes , lightly oil and then wipe off oil. With the pastry strip , lightly brush strip with egg solution. At a slight angle wrap the tube starting at narrow end. Brush with egg solution and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Place on parchment lined sheet pans and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly and remove tubes. Don’t allow to cool completely before removing tubes. Set aside until ready to fill.

Filling

fruit preserves , your preference

2 tsp. powdered sugar

1 3/4 cup heavy cream

Whip cream and sugar until stiff. Don’t over whip

Feel free and have fun ; add whatever flavoring extracts you like to cream

If using fruit preserves, pipe a small amount from both ends , creating a single line of preserves and then pipe whipped cream.

Assemble by piping whipped flavored cream into both ends of cooled pastry

If chocolate dipped ends are desired, melt dark chocolate , dip ends and set aside to allow to set and then fill with cream etc.

Napoleons

Napoleons

Puff Pastry

1 cup chilled butter

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup ice water

Set aside 2 tablespoons of butter in the refrigerator until needed. Work remaining chilled butter with a mixer just until pliable. Roll or pat butter between two sheets of waxed paper to an 8×8 inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. Chill thoroughly, at least 1 hour in refrigerator or 20 minutes in the freezer. Keep utensils cold in refrigerator or freezer until needed and return after each use. Measure the flour into mixing bowl; cut in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add the ice water, tossing with a fork until a stiff dough forms and follows fork around the bowl. Shape into a ball. Turn pastry onto a lightly floured surface; knead pastry til smooth and elastic. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry out to 15×9 inch rectangle. Remove top sheet of waxed paper off the chilled butter; invert butter over one half the pastry. Remove the bottom sheet of waxed paper from the butter.

Fold pastry over butter, sealing edges by pressing down with the heel of hand. Wrap in plastic wrap; chill for at least 1 hour in refrigerator or 20 minutes in the freezer. Unwrap. On lightly floured surface, roll pastry to 15×9 inch rectangle, starting from center and rolling just to the edges. Do not flatten edges by rolling over them. Pastry should be an even thickness. Brush any excess flour from the pastry. Fold dough in thirds; turn and fold into thirds again. Seal edges. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill thoroughly. Repeat rolling and folding two more times. Chill between each turn. Roll to 14×8 inch rectangle. With floured sharp knife, cut off all edges. Prick dough thoroughly with fork. Cut 16-3 1/2×2 inch rectangles. Place on baking sheets covered with 3-4 thicknesses of paper towels and chill. Remove toweling. Combine 1 slightly beaten egg white and 1 tsp. ice water; brush over dough. Bake in 450 degree oven 6 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees; bake 25 -30 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp. Cool on rack.

Separate each pastry into 3 layers. Fill with Napoleon filling and top with vanilla glaze. Drizzle chocolate icing over the top.

Napoleon Filling

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups whole milk

4 egg yolks, beaten

2 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Stir in the milk. Cook stirring constantly, till mixture thickens and bubbles. Stir in a little of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks to temper; return to the hot mixture whisking constantly. Bring to just boiling, stirring constantly. Cool, stir in the vanilla. Push mixture through a sieve and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill. Beat until smooth just before filling Napoleons.

Vanilla Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla

and a dash of salt. Add 2-3 tablespoons boiling water till mixture is of spreading consistency. Spread over tops of Napoleons.

Chocolate Icing

1 oz. unsweetened chocolate

1 tsp. butter

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

dash of salt

About 4 tsp. boiling water

In a heavy saucepan , melt the chocolate and butter. Cool slightly and stir in powdered sugar and salt; mix till smooth. Add enough boiling water (about 4 tsp), till chocolate mixture is drizzling consistency. Drizzle over tops of Napoleons.