Chocolate & orange bi-coloured viennoiserie

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Bi-coloured croissants and the like have been doing the rounds for a few years and has been on my “to make” list for some time, especially as they can look striking. In essence, you have a croissant dough with a second, coloured dough running through it.

This is my first attempt at these bi-coloured pastries and while the colour contrast is quite noticeable with the un-baked dough, the baking lessens the colour somewhat on the outside – although you can see the contrast clearly when you cut into them:

I need to get more colour into the second dough so that there is a clearer difference between the two doughs once baked, but the flavour of the orange and the chocolate coming through was wonderful. And the tangy orange glaze finishes these pastries off nicely.

The coloured dough

The additional colour comes from a very thin piece of coloured dough that is placed on top when the croissant dough has been shaped. This coloured dough is an easy dough that is made up in moments.

As I wanted to avoid using food colours for the coloured dough, I used cocoa powder and orange (both the zest and juice) for the coloured dough: I always think that there should be flavour rather than just colour, and this coloured dough has a nice intensity of both chocolate and orange flavours.

You can of course add food colouring to the second dough, but you will need a lot of the colour so that it does not fade as the pastries bake: so in my next batch, I will use some food colouring to try and have a more clearly defined colour once baked.

I am not sure whether folk that make these professionally use yeast or not in the coloured dough, but for my first attempt I added just a little so that the coloured dough expands a bit with the croissant dough: my logic was that without the yeast, the coloured dough would hold rigidly in place, not allowing the croissant dough to expand properly to give the light, airy pastries that they should be.

The yeast approach for the coloured dough certainly gave me light and airy croissants but of course the coloured dough layer rose a little, making it just a little more prominent than I would have liked.

I made a second batch of the coloured dough without the yeast, using this non-yeasted coloured dough for some of the croissant dough I had already made. It turned out that this non-yeasted coloured dough did not hinder the rise of the croissant dough and as this coloured dough remained very thin throughout the baking, I actually preferred the coloured dough without the yeast.

The off-cuts

The trimmings are great dusted with sugar and simply rolled up (like mini Swiss rolls) and then baked once proved. They make excellent bites that are great served with coffee or tea.

Recipe: chocolate orange bi-coloured viennoiserie – makes about 14 large croissants

  • one batch of croissant dough (click here for the recipe for croissants or here for much quicker & easier version, which I used here)
  • finely grated zest of one large orange
  • a few pieces of dark chocolate, chopped fairly small

Choc orange dough (for the 2nd colour):

  • 200g strong plain flour (or use standard plain flour)
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 40g butter, melted
  • finely grated zest and juice of a large orange
  • cold water, if needed

Orange glaze:

  • 300ml cold water
  • 50g caster sugar
  • the zest from one orange: grated, chopped or thinly pared

(1) Make the chocolate orange dough by mixing the flour, cocoa, sugar, orange zest in a small bowl. Add the butter and the orange juice and mix to form a soft but not sticky dough. Add a little water if needed. Knead very gently on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and chill (or freeze) until needed.

(2) Roll out the croissant dough to a large rectangle (about 80cm by 20cm) and brush it with a little cold water.

(3) Roll out the coloured dough very thinly on a lightly floured surface to just larger than the croissant dough. Brush the top with a brush (!) to try to remove any flour of the surface. Lift it carefully from the work surface: a palette knife and a rolling pin are invaluable here.

(4) Place the coloured sheet of dough on the croissant dough, clean side upwards, patting gently so it sticks to it. Trim the edges.

(5) Cut out the shapes (triangles for croissants and rectangles for pains au chocolat) with a sharp knife. I went for smaller pastries for this batch, so I cut out smaller triangles, but if you cut triangles that are 10cm base and 20cm height you will get about 14 large triangles and a few additional ones that you can make with the off-cuts.

(6) Invert the cut out dough so the coloured face is on the work surface.

(7) Sprinkle some of the orange zest over the dough, along with a few pieces of chocolate. Roll up as normal: the shaping details for croissants and pains au chocolate are in this post. If making chocolate and orange croissants, put the chocolate towards the base of the triangle.

(7) Prove for about an hour or two until nicely risen and “puffy”. When they are almost fully proved, preheat the oven to 200C (fan) and pop the risen dough into the oven. As soon as they go in, immediately turn the temperature down to 180C. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the size: they should be a deep golden brown and feel light when you lift them.

(8) While the croissants are baking, make the quick glaze: put the glaze ingredients into a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes until the liquid reduces to a fairly thick syrup.

(9) Brush generously over the croissants as soon as they come out of the oven.



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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