Kirsch-soaked Morello cherries and dark chocolate encased in a crisp, buttery croissant pastry – what is not to love?
Whenever I make croissant dough I tend to freeze half of it once it has been rolled out and prior to shaping. That way, when I crave some croissant-related pastries, I can knock up a batch of viennoiserie much more quickly than starting from scratch.
Even if you are not confident about making croissant dough, you can make very delicious pastries using all-butter puff pastry. I would avoid using the commercial croissant dough that comes in tubes as they do not contain butter, resulting in pastry that has a horrid after-taste.
For these cherry pains au chocolat I used some dried Morello cherries that had soaked in kirsch a week or so earlier.
Steeping dried fruit in alcohol gives you such a wonderful ingredient that becomes a great addition to all manner of bakes.
I thoroughly recommend a jar or two in the kitchen with dried fruit of choice (sultanas, cranberries, mixed fruit….), steeped in alcohol of choice (rum, Amaretto, brandy….) within easy reach for puddings, cakes, pastries….
Or even just to dive into when you fancy a naughty treat!
Light, flaky pastries
If you are daunted by making croissants from scratch using a traditional method (which can take the best part of a day or two before you can use the dough), these pastries work very well with quicker and easier croissants. With these quicker croissants, it take only about 20 minutes to make up the dough.
That said, this quicker dough will still need resting time in the fridge to get the lightness and the flake needed: without the chilling you will end up with a buttery brioche-type dough – very tasty, but not what you want here.
Recipe: morello cherry & Kirsch pains au chocolat: makes 12
- 1 quantity of croissant dough: use either the traditional croissant dough (recipe here) or the short-cut croissant dough is (here)
- good quality chocolate batons or chunks of chopped chocolate
- about 150g dried Morello cherries (soaked in kirsch at least overnight, drained and roughly chopped)
- 1 egg, beaten with a little salt
NB: the photos below show the shaping for standard pains au chocolat from my main croissants post (link above), but the method is the same. Alternatively, simply put chocolate and cherries near an edge of the dough and roll the dough like a Swiss Roll.
(1) Roll out the croissant dough to a thin rectangle about 16″ by 12″. Cut the dough into 12 rectangles measuring 4″ by 3″, Alternatively, cut into larger rectangles, with or without measuring them.
NB: you can slightly elongate these rectangles with the rolling pin or your fingers if you need to.
(2) Place a chocolate baton/chocolate chips/chunks of chocolate width-ways close to the bottom of each rectangle along with several cherries: don’t worry about any of the Kirsch dripping over the pastry.
(3) Roll the bottom of the dough over the chocolate and the cherries.
(4) Place more chocolate and cherries at the “join” and roll all the way to the end. If the dough is on the thick side and you can’t quite get two lots of chocolate and cherries in there, pop a little more chocolate and cherries with the first lot.
(5) Place on baking trays lined with baking parchment with the seam face down and gently pat down each one.
(6) Place them in a large plastic bag or bin liner with a tin or tall jar in there to stop the plastic touching the dough and leave to prove at room temperature until they are well risen and wobbly (normally up to two hours, depending on the room temperature).
NB: don’t over-prove them or the surface of the dough will burst, so keep an eye on them after about 90 minutes.
(7) Preheat the oven to 200C(fan) and when the pastries have risen, brush the dough with egg and bake for about 20 minutes until they are an inviting golden brown colour and feel very light when you lift one off the tray.