Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pourtal's puff pastry with chocolate {pain au chocolat}

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On those rare occasions when the kids are out of the house at night (thank you, friends, for hosting those precious double sleepovers), my husband and I savor date night. Neither of us drinks much, but I love a good wine bar. Drinking an exotic pour makes me feel chic and sophisticated, even if my palate is too rough to be able to tell chardonnay from sauvignon blanc, merlot from cab, or prosecco from champagne.

My favorite wine bar is Pourtal, a lovely place smack in the heart of Santa Monica's tourist row. It's never overrun with tourists when I'm there - though I imagine Stephen, the owner, wouldn't mind if it were once in a while. It's the kind of place I wish I had time to visit once or twice a week. They've got the cool tasting machines all around, where you slip in a card and an ounce of something special ends up in your glass. I normally put myself in the capable hands of Rachel, Pourtal's wine guru, who's always got a few unusual bottles on hand for happy hour. Over a dozen visits, I've liked every single thing she's poured me.

The first time I visited I looked over the sizable menu of bar snacks and small plates - everything from lamb sliders to duck rillettes to fabulous cheese and charcuterie platters - and then I looked for the kitchen. It's there, behind the bar, but I kid you not, it's smaller than my closet. I couldn't believe that Sean, the chef, was turning out such beautiful dishes from the kind of kitchen you'd find aboard a small sailboat. And yet it's clearly possible, because the food at Pourtal has never disappointed, either.

The first time we spent date night at Pourtal Rachel poured a wonderful dessert wine and Sean sent out these elegant chocolate puff pastry rolls. I didn't have to beg too hard to get the recipe. This is one of those snap-your-fingers desserts you'll turn to again and again. Frozen puff pastry, chocolate chips, and you're in business.

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Puff pastry with chocolate {pain au chocolat}
Four ingredients - that's all you need to make this show-stopping dessert. I keep frozen puff pastry on hand at all times just for this.
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (chips are fine)
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp coarse sugar, such as turbinado
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, with convection if your oven has it. Lay the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut it into 12 equal squares. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate on each square, pressing it lightly into the dough. Roll up each square into a small log, pressing the seam together. Put the rolls seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top of each roll with the melted butter and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.Bake the rolls 5-6 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the chocolate is starting to ooze out the ends. Let cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then serve warm.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12 rolls


Sarah said...

Love this! Having friends over tonight, and completely forgot about what to make for dessert. Have all the ingredients, and some ice cream to serve alongside :)

Lana said...

That wine bar sounds awesome! I would love to try small amounts of different wines (I like wine, but, unfortunately, I am pretty "lightweight":), especially if recommended by an expert.
I have seen the recipe for Pain Au Chocolat on youtube (I know, I know:) and I make it often for the kids for breakfast. In Ohio we lived close to Pepperidge farm outlet, and I used to buy boxes of 25 packages for $20.00. YES! It hurts me to buy it at full price now, but I love puff pastry!
Have a great Mother's Day! XOXO

Kristina Vanni said...

Chic, easy, and chocolate! Right up my alley :) I had a blast at Camp Blogaway....thanks for all your hard work and organization. I look forward to learning more about you through your beautiful blog!

Palisades Domestic Goddess said...

This is my new favorite recipe for dessert. I have gotten raves every time! Thanks Erika.....keep the fabulous recipes coming.

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