Pains au Raisin

These traditional French Pains au Raisin combine croissants with sweet pastry cream and raisins for a delicious breakfast or treat.

Prep Time
2 hours
plus chilling
Cook Time
26 Min
Recipe by
Kitt Villaisis-Corbin, Executive Chef
La Patisserie
Florissant, MO


1 cup plus 2 tbsp. (270g) whole milk
⅓ cup (67g) sugar
5 (85g) large egg yolks
3 tbsp. (24g) cornstarch
¼ cup (56g) Plugrà® Premium Butter, unsalted, softened, cubed
2 cups (290g) sultanas or raisins
1 lg. (17g) egg yolk
1 tbsp. (14g) heavy cream or milk
¼ cup (88g) apricot glaze


8 oz. (227g) plus 3 tbsp. (37 g) Plugrà® Premium Butter, unsalted, softened, divided
3½ oz. (100g) water
3½ oz. (100g) whole milk
1½ tsp. (6g) yeast
2½ cups (300g) bread flour
½ cup (63g) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. (25g) sugar
1 tsp. (6g) 15 grams salt
Filling: Place a strainer over a medium metal bowl and place that bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice; set aside. When the pastry cream has finished cooking, this will allow you to quickly strain and cool it.
Heat the milk over in a medium saucepan over medium heat until just simmering.
Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch in a medium bowl. When the milk is hot, whisk a small amount into the yolks, continue adding milk to the yolks a little at a time until about half of the milk has been used. Whisk the mixture into the remaining milk in the saucepan.
Continue cooking over medium-low heat until the mixture has thickened and has reached at least 165°F. Remove from heat and beat in the cubed butter.
Transfer to the strainer and press the pastry cream through it into the bowl using a rubber spatula or plastic bowl scraper. Place a piece of buttered parchment onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a crust from forming while cooling. Keep the pastry cream in the ice bath for 15 minutes to ½ hour to quickly lower the temperature then refrigerate until it is needed.
Dough: Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until it is smooth. Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper and spread into about an 8 x 10-inch rectangle. Cover with another piece of parchment and refrigerate.
Mix the remaining ingredients in the same bowl fitted with a dough hook on low speed until a loose dough forms, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and cohesive, about 2 more minutes. Remove the hook and cover the bowl with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Let rise in a cool place until the volume has increased by nearly half, about 1½ hours.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form it into a rough rectangle about 2-inches thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Laminate the dough: Lightly flour a work surface. Retrieve and unwrap the dough, then roll it out to a 14 x 12-inch rectangle. With a long side facing you, peel the top sheet away from the butter and flip it over to cover the left two-thirds of the rectangle. Peel away the other sheet. Fold the uncovered third of the dough over the butter, then fold the left-hand third over the center, as if folding a business letter. Push down along the seams on the top and the bottom to seal in the butter. Give the dough a quarter turn so that the seams are perpendicular to you. Roll out the dough once more into a rectangle, and fold again in the same manner (no need to pinch the seams again). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to relax the gluten in the dough.
Clean the work surface, dust again lightly with flour, and retrieve the dough. Unwrap and again roll out into a rectangle 14 x 12-inches. Fold into thirds so that the rectangle measures 9 x 6-inches and 1½ to 2-inches thick. Wrap in plastic and immediately freeze on a flat surface for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. (If frozen for more than an hour, transfer the dough to the refrigerator to thaw overnight before using in the morning.)
Assembly: Three hours before you are ready to serve, form and proof the danish: Remove the thawed dough from the refrigerator. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll into a 12 x 20-inch rectangle about 1⁄8-inch thick.
Spread pastry cream evenly and distribute raisins. Roll into a log and cut into 1½–inch thick rolls.
Transfer the cut dough onto lined baking sheets. Place the rounds at least 5-inches apart as they will grow considerably during proofing or, alternately, coat the inside of 4” pastry rings and dip in sugar to coat the inside. Set aside to proof for at least 2-3 hours in a warm, humid spot.
Preheat the oven to 400° and set the racks at least 4-inches apart. When the Pain au Raisins are puffed, very gassy, and about doubled in size (they should slowly spring back when poked with your fingertip and jiggle slightly like gelatin when the tray is shaken), they are ready to bake.
In a small bowl, beat the yolk and cream. Brush the risen dough evenly with the mixture. Bake without opening the oven for 20–22 minutes or until the pastries begin to brown. Rotate the pans and continue cooking until evenly golden, 6–8 minutes more. Let cool slightly, remove from rings, if used, and brush with apricot glaze before serving.
Apricot jam can be used in place of apricot glaze. Microwave the jam with 1 to 2 teaspoons water and strain to remove any apricot pieces before using.