Hi there, it's Marta here, the nutritionist and recipe developer at Foodaciously. If you feel like venturing into the wonderful world of pastry dough, I'll show you how to prepare a mouthwatering vegan pain au chocolat with step-by-step pictures. It will require a bit of work, but it will definitely be worth it!
But first: what is pain au chocolate? Put simply, it's a chocolate-filled pastry roll. Pain au chocolate translates into "chocolate bread" in French, and it's also known as petit pain in eastern and northern France or chocolatine in southwestern France and Quebec. This classic French pastry is made of a yeast-leavened dough that gets laminated with butter through a process of repeated folding and rolling.
This layered dough is used in many French bakery products, like croissants. But unlike croissants, pain au chocolat is filled with one or two pieces of chocolate, and it's shaped like a roll instead of a half-moon. It's rich and flaky, with an indulgent melted chocolate core. And not surprisingly, it's my husband Edward's favourite breakfast treat (and he's a real connoisseur when it comes to chocolate)!
Turning pain au chocolate into a vegan-friendly pastry is super easy as the only ingredient in our way is butter. Luckily for us, vegan butter made with coconut oil is now readily available, and with my experience so far, I got pretty good results in terms of texture and flavour. As for the chocolate, I recommend choosing the darkest variety you can tolerate to keep the sugars low; 70% is a good start, but why not be audacious and try 85% or more?
If preparing pastry dough from scratch sounds a bit daunting, I broke down the whole process into manageable steps, with pictures and tips to help you. You'll be surprised to see that it doesn't actually take too much effort. All you need is a good dough hook, a large tray, and a bit of time!
But of course, you can also take a fast shortcut and use store-bought dairy-free puff pastry. If so, start the recipe at step 9 where I'll show you how to cut the dough, fill it with chocolate, and roll it into a beautiful and plump pain au chocolat! Ok, put your on kitchen apron and let's get started!