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Pain Suisse is a decadent French pastry made of buttery, golden brioche dough filled with vanilla pastry cream and studded with chocolate chips. Step-by-step photos will show you how to make this Parisian classic right in your own kitchen!

pain suisse

I fell in love with Pain Suisse in Paris.

During the summer I spent in Paris, my once-a-day-pastry-indulgence typically involved a butter croissant. However, on the rare occasion I wanted to switch things up, Pain Suisse au Chocolat was one of my favorite ways to do so. (Side Note: The best method to offset a daily pastry is to walk 15 to 20 miles a day – no joke! Or have a leg day on the steps outside Sacré Coeur, which, by the way, is the most epic workout view ever.)

But back to these pastries.

Soft, fluffy, golden brioche dough with vanilla pastry cream and chocolate chips is a French pastry lover’s dream come true. And you can make it in your own kitchen, anywhere in the world. Pair it with a cup of espresso for the ultimate indulgent Parisian breakfast or mid-morning snack. But these decadent pastries work just as well for dessert!

french pastries with chocolate and pastry cream on platter

What is Pain Suisse?

Pain Suisse literally translates to “Swiss Bread” in English. It is a type of French pastry known as Viennoiserie, which means “in the style of Vienna”. This pastry is also called Pain Suisse au Chocolat, Brioche Suisse (Brioches Suisses), and Brioche au Chocolat.

In general, these types of pastries are made from enriched yeast-leavened dough. Pain Suisse in particular is made from soft, golden brioche dough filled with crème pâtisserie (aka pastry cream) and chocolate chips, and brushed with simple sugar syrup straight out of the oven. The simple syrup not only adds sweet flavor and helps the pastries stay fresher for longer, but it also gives them a gorgeous glossy sheen on top.

Alternatively, you can sometimes find Pain Suisse made with a buttery laminated dough instead of brioche dough.

brioche au chocolate with creme patisserie

Pain Suisse au Chocolat Recipe

Pain Suisse Ingredients

The ingredients are explained in this section. For the full recipe (with ingredient amounts), please see the recipe card below.

Crème Pâtisserie Ingredients:

pastry cream ingredients for pain suisse filling
  • Sugar – the sweetener for our pastry cream
  • Cornstarch – to help thicken our custard into pastry cream
  • Salt – just a touch of salt elevates the flavor profile
  • Egg yolks – to add richness and help thicken the crème pâtisserie
  • Vanilla bean extract – for flavor and aroma
  • Vanilla bean paste – you can use more vanilla extract if you don’t have this on hand; however, I love the little flecks of vanilla bean this adds
  • Unsalted butter – to add a little extra richness and decadent mouthfeel; make sure this is at room temperature

Brioche Dough Ingredients:

brioche ingredients for pain suisse
  • All-purpose flour – the base of our brioche dough
  • Sugar – we only use a little sugar to sweeten the brioche dough; the pastry cream, chocolate chips, and sugar syrup that’s brushed on top also add sweetness to these pastries
  • Instant yeast – this is the leavener in our dough
  • Salt – salt plays many roles in yeasted doughs; for example, it adds flavor, helps yield the right texture by tightening the gluten structure, and helps control the rise of the dough by retarding the yeast’s action
  • Egg and egg yolk – these help create a soft, fluffy bread for our pastries; the yolks also give the bread a beautiful golden color
  • Milk – helps make the bread softer than if we used water
  • Vanilla bean paste – for flavor and aroma, and adds little flecks of vanilla beans
  • Unsalted butter – adds a rich buttery flavor to this enriched dough; make sure this is at room temperature
  • Vegetable oil – to oil the bowl that the dough rises in

Sugar Syrup Ingredients:

  • Sugar – for a regular simple syrup (i.e., not a rich simple syrup), we use equal parts of sugar and water; use regular granulated white sugar here
  • Water – to dissolve the sugar and create a syrup

Other Ingredients for Pain Suisse:

  • Chocolate chips – mini semisweet chocolate chips are my preference here, but you can use any type of chocolate chips
  • Egg beaten with water – for the eggwash, to help the pastries turn golden brown on top

How to Make Pain Suisse

Make the Pastry Cream (aka Crème Pâtisserie)

how to make pastry cream
  1. Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a medium bowl.
  2. Keep mixing until it’s thickened and pale yellow in color like this.
  3. Add the milk to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the milk is steaming hot, whisk in the vanilla and vanilla bean paste. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Gradually, starting with just a couple drops at first, whisk 3/4 cup of the steaming hot milk into the sugar/egg yolk mixture. Once it’s fully incorporated, whisk the tempered sugar/egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Return the saucepan to the heat and turn it down to low. While whisking constantly, continue cooking until the mixture is thickened, about 1 minute.
  4. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.
  5. Immediately (while the pastry cream is still hot), strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, using a spatula to press it through. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream.
  6. Let it cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes), and then transfer it to the fridge to fully chill (about 3 hours). It will thicken during this time.

Make the Brioche Dough

how to make brioche dough for pain suisse
  1. Add the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Whisk to combine.
  2. Add the egg, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla bean paste to the flour mixture. Use the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer to mix on low speed until the ingredients come together and start to look like dough.
  3. With the mixer still on low speed, add the room temperature butter 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s fully mixed in. Wait to add the next tablespoon of butter until the previous one is fully incorporated. Once all the butter is mixed in, turn the mixer speed to medium and knead for 10 minutes.
  4. Oil a large bowl. Use your hands to shape the dough into a ball and place it in the oiled bowl, rolling it around to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.
  5. Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  6. Gently deflate the puffed dough. Cover the bowl again, and let it rise for 30 minutes.

Assemble the Pain Suisse Pastries

  1. Roll the dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper into a rectangle about 11.5 inches by 17 inches.
  2. Spread the chilled pastry cream filling on half of the dough lengthwise. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the filling.
  3. Fold the dough in half lengthwise, gently flipping the side without filling over onto the filled side.
  4. Use a large oiled knife to cut the dough horizontally into 10 pastries (you can use a ruler if you want to make them an even thickness; each will be slightly over 1 inch thick).

Bake the Pastries

how to bake pain suisse
  1. Transfer the pastries to baking trays line with silpat liners or parchment paper. Cover the trays with plastic wrap. Let them rise at room temperature until the dough is puffed, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Lightly brush the top of each pastry with eggwash.
  3. Bake the pastries until they’re golden, about 22 to 25 minutes at 350F.
  4. As soon as the pastries are out of the oven, brush the cooled sugar syrup on top. The pastries should be hot and the syrup should be cooled for it to absorb properly.
hands holding pain suisse pastry over platter of pastries

Tips for Success

  • Read through the full recipe before starting and do things in the order stated. The instructions are listed in a particular order to help the process go as smoothly and efficiently as possible for you.
  • Measure out all ingredients before getting started. If you have a kitchen scale available, it’s the most precise way to measure, which is helpful for baking.
  • Make sure the crème pâtisserie is fully chilled before spreading it onto the dough.
  • The sugar syrup should be cool when you brush it onto the hot pastries so they absorb the syrup.
close up top view of pain suisse au chocolat

Pain Suisse FAQs

What is the Pastry Dough for Pain Suisse?

During the summer I spent in Paris, most of the Pain Suisse I saw in boulangeries and pâtisseries was made from brioche dough.

However, sometimes Pain Suisse pastries are also made from a laminated dough, which yields a flaky, buttery-layered pastry similar to a croissant.

pain suisse in french bakery case
Bakery case in Paris showing Brioche Suisse, Pain Suisse, and other Viennoiseries.

What Shape is Pain Suisse?

In Paris, I saw that Pain Suisse au Chocolat pastries were typically rectangular. If made out of laminated dough instead of brioche dough, they were twisted. I also saw Pain Suisse Chocolat Noisette was a similar shape (it has hazelnuts and chocolate – yum)!

Additionally, if labeled Brioche Suisse, the pastry was circular (with the same layers of pastry cream and chocolate chips as Pain Suisse). It looks similar, but don’t confuse this with Pain au Raisins (aka Raisin Bread)!

brioche suisse from bakery in paris
Brioche Suisse from a bakery in the 7th arrondissement in Paris where I stayed.

What is Pain Suisse Filling?

Pain Suisse is filled with crème pâtisserie, or pastry cream. This is just vanilla custard that’s thickened and stabilized with cornstarch so it holds up during baking.

hands breaking into swiss brioche pastry

Does Pain Suisse Need to be Refrigerated?

Like most brioche-based baked goods, these are by far best-served on the same day they’re made!

However, you can store these pastries in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 night, and then the next day, move them to the fridge for up to 2 more days.

If you’re eating Pain Suisse the day after it’s made, I recommend reheating it briefly. You can do this in the microwave (start with 15 seconds) or in a 350F oven for about 5 minutes.

More Decadent Pastries to Make

  • Pączki – these raspberry jam-filled yeasted donuts are just as good (if not better!) than anything you’d get at a donut shop
  • The Best Keto Cinnamon Rolls of Your Life – yes, these are keto, but you’d never know it!
  • Chocolate Babka – this one is laced with orange and cardamom to make it truly unforgettable
brioche au chocolate french pastry

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an edible mosaic submark initials

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Pain Suisse

Prep Time1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Other Time3 hours
Yields: 10 servings
Pain Suisse is a decadent French pastry made of buttery, golden brioche dough filled with vanilla pastry cream and studded with chocolate chips. Step-by-step photos will show you how to make this Parisian classic right in your own kitchen!

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Ingredients
 

Pastry Cream Filling:

Brioche Dough:

Sugar Syrup:

Other:

Instructions
 

Make the Pastry Cream Filling:

  • Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a medium bowl.
  • Add the milk to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the milk is steaming hot, whisk in the vanilla and vanilla bean paste.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. Gradually, starting with just a couple drops at first, whisk 3/4 cup of the steaming hot milk into the sugar/egg yolk mixture. Once it’s fully incorporated, whisk the tempered sugar/egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
  • Return the saucepan to the heat and turn it down to low. While whisking constantly, continue cooking until the mixture is thickened, about 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.
  • Immediately (while the pastry cream is still hot), strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, using a spatula to press it through. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream.
  • Let it cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes), and then transfer it to the fridge to fully chill (about 3 hours). It will thicken during this time.

Make the Brioche Dough:

  • Add the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Whisk to combine.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla bean paste to the flour mixture. Use the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer to mix on low speed until the ingredients come together and start to look like dough.
  • With the mixer still on low speed, add the room temperature butter 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s fully mixed in. Wait to add the next tablespoon of butter until the previous one is fully incorporated.
  • Once all the butter is mixed in, turn the mixer speed to medium and knead for 10 minutes.
  • Oil a large bowl. Use your hands to shape the dough into a ball and place it in the oiled bowl, rolling it around to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.
  • Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Gently deflate the puffed dough. Cover the bowl again, and let it rise for 30 minutes.

Assemble the Pastries:

  • Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper or silpat baking mats.
  • Roll the dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper into a rectangle about 11.5 inches by 17 inches.
  • Spread the chilled pastry cream filling on half of the dough lengthwise. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the filling.
  • Fold the dough in half lengthwise, gently flipping the side without filling over onto the filled side.
  • Use a large oiled knife to cut the dough horizontally into 10 pastries (you can use a ruler if you want to make them an even thickness; each will be slightly over 1 inch thick).
  • Transfer the pastries to the prepared baking trays. Cover the trays with plastic wrap. Let them rise at room temperature until the dough is puffed, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.

Make the Sugar Syrup:

  • Once the pastries are assembled and doing their last 30 minute rise, make the sugar syrup.
  • Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, swirling the pan to help the sugar dissolve, and then let it boil for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.

Bake the Pastries:

  • Lightly brush the top of each pastry with eggwash.
  • Bake the pastries until they’re golden, about 22 to 25 minutes at 350F.

To Finish:

  • As soon as the pastries are out of the oven, brush the cooled sugar syrup on top. The pastries should be hot and the syrup should be cooled for it to absorb properly.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Storage: Like most brioche-based baked goods, these are by far best-served on the same day they’re made! However, you can store these pastries in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 night, and then the next day, move them to the fridge for up to 2 more days.
  • Reheating: If you’re eating Pain Suisse the day after it’s made, I recommend reheating it briefly. You can do this in the microwave (start with 15 seconds) or in a 350F oven for about 5 minutes.

Tips for Success

  • Read through the full recipe before starting and do things in the order stated. The instructions are listed in a particular order to help the process go as smoothly and efficiently as possible for you.
  • Measure out all ingredients before getting started. If you have a kitchen scale available, it’s the most precise way to measure, which is helpful for baking.
  • Make sure the crème pâtisserie is fully chilled before spreading it onto the dough.
  • The sugar syrup should be cooled when you brush it onto the hot pastries so they absorb the syrup.

Nutrition

Calories: 495kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 235mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 620IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Brioche au Chocolat, Brioche Suisse, Pain Suisse, Pain Suisse au Chocolat, Pain Suisse Recipe

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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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