Recipe 87: Danish Pastries

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Hello everyone, I thought that I would try and fit in (catch up) with some blogging since I seem to have been neglectful….you’d think I’d have a dissertation to finish! What is worrying me, is the sheer amount of baking I have left to do, and the little time I have left to do it in, but we’ll see. Miracles can happen…

Now, most people enjoy a croissant(s) or a pastry(ies) for breakfast, cup of tea or coffee and you’re sorted. I’m sure many have thought, ‘it would be fun to make our own wouldn’t it?’ The last time I set out to make croissants, that was my thought too. However, 17 hours for 12 croissants….it’s a huge amount of effort. So, that’s not really something I will perhaps venture into again.

So when I was flicking through the book and I came across these, I was initially worried that these would take eternity as well. But, Mary seems to come up trumps and somehow knew I didn’t want to waste 17 hours, and instead took 3! Hurray!

These pastries were simply delicious, and very moreish; when they were out of the oven, most of the family pinched them off the wire rack because they smelt THAT good. There are a range of fillings you could use for these: lemon/lime or passionfruit curd, jams, cooked apple, vanilla cream/custard…the list is endless. I only used one filling because I didn’t have the time to use all differents ones (as much as I would have liked to, believe me), so I used an almond/marzipan type filling and it was quick, easy and of course, yummy.IMG_3866

When you come to working with the dough (following 2 rests), you need to split your dough into 4, then split each 1/4 into 4 again, then you’ll have 16 Danish pastries to devour!

There is a handy shaping guide for you below.

Ingredients

For the pastries:

  • 450 g strong plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 350 g butter, softened
  • 7 g sachet of fast-action yeast
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 150 ml warm milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • A little beaten egg, to glaze

For the almond filling:

  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • A little beaten egg

For the topping/glaze:

  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp warm water
  • 50 g toasted flaked almonds
  • Optional: 50 g chopped red/natural glacé cherries

Method:

  1. Lightly grease 3 baking trays (or line with baking parchment). Add the flour and salt into a bowl a rub in 50g of the butter with your fingertips. Add the yeast and sugar to the bowl and then stir to mix. Make a well in the centre, add the warm milk and the beaten eggs, and mix until it forms a soft dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth, then place into a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, roughly 1 hour.IMG_3830
  2. After an hour, punch down the dough, knead again until smooth, then roll out to an oblong about 35 x 20cm. Cover the top two-thirds of the oblong with half the remaining flour, dotting pieces of butter over the dough.
  3. Fold the bottom third of the dough up and the top third to form a parcel. Seal the edges then give the dough a quarter turn so that the folded side is to the left. Roll out to the same sized oblong as you did before. Dot over the remaining butter in the same way and fold the dough as before. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to rest for 15-20 minutes.IMG_3840
  4. You could now make the almond filling, mix together the ground almonds and sugar and use enough beaten egg to bind it, easy!
  5. Once rested, set the dough so the fold is on the left again then roll and fold the dough, with no butter, twice more. Wrap in clingfilm again and return to the fridge for another 15 minutes. The dough can now be divided into 4 equal pieces and shaped.

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To make crescent shapes: take 1/4 of the dough and roll out to a 9″ circle. Divide the circle in 4 equal wedges. Place a small sausage of almond paste at the wide end of each wedge and roll up loosely towards the point. Bend them round to form a crescent.Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 13.32.48

To make pinwheels: roll out another 1/4 of the dough to form an 8″ square. Cut the square into 4. Place a small amount of almond paste in the centre of each square. Make cuts from each corner almost to the centre and fold  alternate points to the centre, pressing them down firmly.

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To make kite shapes: roll out another 1/4 of the dough to form an 8″ square. Cut into 4 squares. Place a small piece of almond paste in the centre of each square. Make cuts at opposite corners to create two L-shaped strips. Lift the strips, crossing them over the almond paste in the centre.

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To make envelopes: roll out the remaining dough to form a 16″ square. Cut this into 4 squares. In the centre of each square, place a piece of almond paste or other filling. Fold 2 opposite corners or all 4 corners into the middle. Press the edges down slightly.

To make cartwheels: roll all of the dough thinly, spread with a thin layer of almond filling and sprinkle with a handful of raisins. Roll up the dough like a swiss roll and cut into 5mm slices.

5. After shaping, arrange the pastries on to the prepared baking trays and cover with clingfilm or put the trays into polythene bags. Leave to prove for about 20 minutes in a warm place until they are beginning to look puffy.IMG_3862

6. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas mark 7. Brush each pastry with beaten egg and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Lift onto a wire rack to cool.IMG_3863

7. Make the icing by gradually mixing the warm water into the icing sugar. Spoon a little icing over the pastries while they are still warm. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds or small pieces of cherry, if using.

 

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