Easy chocolate & ginger viennoiserie

If you have ever been daunted by pastry, particularly for croissants and the like, these rich chocolate and ginger pastries are actually quite easy to make. Certainly compared to making croissant dough the traditional way.

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They also eat easily (perhaps too easily) at any time of the day but as with many pastries, they are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee!

A croissant dough flavoured with cocoa and ginger!

I love the combination of bitter dark chocolate and fiery ginger, so after an idea popped into my head (on the train of all places!), I decided to do another twist on croissants/pains au chocolat.

My idea this time was that I wanted the dough itself to have a chocolate and ginger flavour (courtesy of cocoa powder and ground ginger) as well as the more intense and gooey chocolate-ginger kick from the filling – coming unashamedly from dark chocolate and stem ginger!

I decided to shape these as for pains au chocolat, making several large ones, along with a few mini ones using some of the trimmings.

A sticky, ginger glaze makes these pastries taste even more indulgent: in my opinion there is something quite enticing about a sheen on pastries. I decided to add some grated white chocolate on top – mainly for a visual contrast, but I love the flavour of white chocolate!

Using an easier croissant dough

I have gone for an easier croissant dough here and whenever I go for a easier laminated pastry, I go for one of two approaches for incorporating the butter:

  • using small chunks of butter: the rough-puff pastry method (as is the case here) OR
  • using grated frozen butter: which is even quicker, with the dough made up in about 20 minutes

However, I usually stick to this recipe for croissants when making the traditional version.

Full details for shaping croissants and pains au chocolat, regardless of which dough you use, are at that link.

The rough-puff method I use in this particular recipe works very well indeed: as you can see from the pictures, the interiors have a nice level of honeycomb structure – always much sought-after with croissants and related bakes.  The pastries flake all over the place (another must!) and they are buttery rich.

Recipe for chocolate & ginger viennoiserie: makes about 20

For the chocolate and ginger croissant dough:

  • 350g strong white plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1 level tablespoon ginger powder
  • 10g dried “instant” yeast
  • 7g fine sea salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 90g cold water
  • 100g semi-skimmed milk
  • 250g unsalted butter, chilled (but not solid) and roughly cubed

To fill:

  • about 200g dark chocolate, in small chunks – or use batons
  • about 4 pieces of stem ginger, drained and chopped or sliced thinly

To glaze

  • beaten egg
  • a few tablespoons of stem ginger syrup
  • a little grated white chocolate, optional

(1) Mix the flour, ginger powder and cocoa powder into a bowl. Stir in the sugar, salt and yeast. Mix in the butter, lightly coating the pieces in the flour mixture.

(2) Add most of the water and stir together with a knife until it just comes together to form a soft but not sticky dough, adding more water if necessary.

(3) Roll out the dough thinly on a floured surface to a rectangle about 20cm by 60cm or just a bit smaller: the dimensions are not essential – just long and thin. Bring the bottom third up to the middle and the remaining top third over this. Cover with cling film and pop in the freezer for 20 minutes.

(4) Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat the rolling and folding two more times, putting the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes and rotating before each rolling out. Chill for a couple of hours, ideally overnight, before using. NB: you can freeze the dough at this stage.

(5) Roll out the dough to a rectangle to just over 20cm by 60cm and trim the edges. Cut into rectangles about 10cm by 8cm or go for larger rectangles.

(6) Shape as in the pictures below, using the chocolate and small pieces of stem ginger, rolling up fairly tightly as you go. Place on large baking trays lined with at least two sheets of greaseproof, with the seam underneath and lightly press down to keep each in place: this ensures they do not unfurl while they rise or bake.

(7) Place the baking trays inside a large bag: a bin liner is ideal! Make sure you have a gap between the plastic and the dough: placing a cup or tin inside will help. Prove at room temperature until almost doubled in size: you don’t want if to be too warm or the butter might melt. Towards the end of the rise preheat the oven to 175C(fan).

(8) Brush the surfaces with the beaten egg and bake for 20-25 minutes: you will see those wonderful flakes and they should be a deep golden-brown colour, feeling crisp and very light.

(9) As soon as they come out if the oven, brush generously all over with stem ginger syrup. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and sprinkle over the white chocolate.

Related recipe links:

Full details for shaping croissants and pains au chocolat, regardless of which dough you use, are in the first of the two links above.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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