I have fond memories of Sunday mornings when I was a kid - my father would pop down to our local bakery and come back with bags full of pastries and the Sunday newspaper. All six of us would sit in my parents’ king size bed and munch the morning away.
Danish Pastries come in a variety of shapes and can be sweet or savoury. They were developed in Scandanavia and are also known as Pâte Levêe Feuitêe. They make use of laminated yeast dough (as do croissants) – we used the laminated sweet potato standard bread recipe to make our batch (see previous post for the recipe).
- Always use 3 single turns for Danish Pastries – more turns and the dough is too heavy (see ‘how to make puff pastry’ for more info on turns - it uses single and double turns)
- ALWAYS USE BUTTER (margarine leaves a sticky/plastic residue when cold – the taste tends to stick to your palette unlike butter)
- Overcooking will result in a bitter or rancid taste (ruined dairy/oil content)
- Undercooking leads to ‘sinking’ dough
Recap on making sweet potato standard bread dough (as used in croissants) – in rough pictures (see seperate post ‘how to make sweet potato dough’ for a full description:
Next – You’ve made your dough and allowed it to rest… Now it’s time to laminate (layer the dough with butter by doing THREE SINGLE TURNS) – a recap in rough pics (see ‘how to laminate sweet potato dough’ for a full description):
Step One: Roll dough and cut squares
Once your dough has rested…
Roll it out into a long rectangular shape…
Mark off aproximately 6 x 7 rows (depending on how much dough/what recipe you used)…
Cut across the dough as marked… you should have around 48 squares to work with…
Step Two: Decide on your fillings and spoon into centre of each square
We experimented with our own fillings – my favourites were plain pastry cream & pastry cream with apricot.
A spoonful of ricotta/cream cheese with one black cherry per pastry
A spoonful of apple or mixed dried fruit (marinade with boiling water or rum/brandy to soften the fruit first) per pastry
Pastry Cream (see ‘how to make Creme Patisserie’) – a spoonful per pastry
Add tinned fruit like halved apricots (fantastic!), poppy seeds (mix aprox 75 g honey with 250 g castor sugar & 250 g water depending on amount you require), jam, walnuts etc
Step Three: Decide on your shape, egg glue appropriate corners and create!
There are a number of Danish Pastry shapes – I’ve sketched a few rough shapes in the picture above. Here are two simple shapes… use egg glaze to glue the points together:
Step Four: Egg wash your Danishes on top (for colour and sheen) and place on a baking tray…
Step Five: Place in a pre-heated oven @ 180 degrees celsius and bake until light brown
Step Six: Brush sweet pastries with melted apricot jam (check that your pastry brush doesn’t lose hairs along the way!)
Step Seven: Dab white icing on top with a pastry brush and leave your pastries to cool for an hour
Step Eight: Make a cup of tea and taste!