Petits Pains aux Amandes
These almond buns are a perfect breakfast or brunch pastry. Tender, buttery, and not too sweet, they have a crunchy almond and sugar topping that makes them as appealing looking as they are delicious.
Makes 12 large buns
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt Egg wash: 1 egg well beaten with a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) ground almonds
1/3 cup candied orange peel cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) ground almonds
Egg wash: 1 egg well beaten with a pinch of salt
2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans lined with parchment or foil
- For the dough, warm the milk in a small saucepan over low heat until it is just lukewarm, about 110 degrees. Pour the milk into a bowl and whisk in the yeast. Set aside until needed.
- Place the flour on the bowl of an electric mixer and add the sugar and salt. Place on the mixer with the paddle and mix on lowest speed for 1 minute.
- Add the butter and continue mixing until the butter is completely mixed into the flour mixture.
- Stop the mixer and add the lemon zest, vanilla, and yeast mixture. Mix on lowest speed for 2 minutes, then stop the mixer and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
- Mix the dough on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Decrease mixer speed to lowest and mix in the almonds, candied peel, and raisins.
- Scrape the dough out into a buttered bowl and turn it over so that the top is buttered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until it is double in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Scrape the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and press it into a rough square. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Round each one into a sphere under the palm of your hand. Leave the buns on the work surface, covered with a towel, until they just begin to puff, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, for the topping, mix the sugar and almonds together in a shallow bowl. Use the back of a knife to indent each bun with a cross and paint one with the egg wash. Immediately invert it into the sugar and almond mixture, gently pressing to make the topping adhere. Turn the bun right side up and arrange it on one of the prepared pans.
- Repeat with the remaining buns, arranging 6 on each pan at least 2 inches apart in all directions.
- Cover each pan with a towel or a piece of buttered plastic wrap and let the buns rise until fully doubled, another 30 minutes or so.
- About 15 minutes before the buns are fully risen, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
- When the buns are fully risen, bake them for about 15 minutes, then change the upper pan to the lower rack and vice versa, turning the pans back to front at the same time. Continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the buns are deep golden and have an internal temperature of about 200 degrees.
- Slide the papers from the pans to racks to cool.