Danish pastry

You see those gourmet desserts you sometimes see in fine bakeries? This is the recipe to make them, and even though I never thought it could be possible, they´re better homemade. 

Danish pastry is a sweet laminated dough that has a high amount of butter, which makes it similar to croissants. This pastry was first made in Denmark back in 1850. 

Nowadays there are lots of flavors; the most common ones are almond, jam and cheese, cinnamon and chocolate, etc. As I mentioned before, the recipe is somewhat similar to the croissants one, the only difference is that danish pastry has egg in it, and butter is incorporated in cubes to it. 

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RECIPE

Ingredients:

For the dough: 

  • 1/2 C water, at room temperature 
  • 2  1/2 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 2  2/3 C sifted all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp powdered milk
  • 210 gr unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes 

For the cream cheese filling:

  • 190 gr cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp sour cream 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • The juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 egg yolk 

For the berries compote: 

  • 1 C berries, fresh or frozen (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries) 
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar 
  • 2 tbps corn starch
  • 3 tbps water 
  • 1 tsp lime juice 

For the finishing touches: 

  • 1 egg yolk 
  • 1 tbsp cream 
  • Apricot jam (amount needed) 
  • Water (amount needed) 

Directions:

For the dough: 

  1. In a small bowl, mix water, yeast and half of the sugar. Let it sit for 20 minutes for the yeast to activates. Once that time has gone by, add to the same bowl the egg and mix using a spoon until well incorporated. 
  2. In a big bowl, combine the flour with the rest of the sugar, salt and powdered milk. Add the cold butter and integrate using a fork or a kitchen scraper until you get a sand-like concistency (you can also achieve this using a food processor). The dough must still end up having butter lumps the size of a bean, which will give us a better end result. 
  3. Add the yeast mixture to the bowl with the flour and mix carefully only until it´s all well integrated and a sticky dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 1 hour at room temperature. 
  4. Then, let the dough rest another 2 hours, this time in the fridge. 
  5. To start folding this dough, place it on a clean and already floured surface and roll it out using a kitchen rolling pin to make a 25 inch (65 cm) wide and 10 inch (25 cm) tall rectangle.
  6. We will make 3 folds in total; for the first fold, which is called the “bookfold”, fold the dough from one edge in, leghtwise, now do the same with the other edge, in such a way that both edges en up in the middle of the rectangle, facing each other. Then fold it in half to get 4 layers of dough. Place it on a rectangular pan with parchment paper underneath, cover it up with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 1 hour. 
  7. For the second fold, roll out the dough again to the same size as before, then fold lenghtwise and inwards a third of the dough and then fold the other third over the first one, so that we get 3 layers of dough. Place it on the same rectangular pan lined with parchment paper, cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 1 hour.  
  8. For the third and last fold, repeat the step 7, only this time the dough will be left iot the fridge for 2 hours afterwards. 

For the filling: 

  1. In a medium bowl, cream by hand using a whisk, the cream cheese and sugar together. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until you get a soft and fully incorporated cream.  

For the berries compote: 

  1. Place the berries and sugar in a small pot on the stove and heat to medium, mixing occasionally for 4 minutes until the berries loose shape a little. 
  2. In a bowl, combine the corn starch and water and add it to the berries mixture. Stir in the lime juice and mix for 1 min. until you get a runnier and chunkier consistency than marmalade mixture.
  3. Now let it cool down completely before using. 

To assemble:

  1. Once the 2 hours have gone by, roll out the doguh on a floured surface making a 22 1/2 inch (60 cm) long x 13 1/2 inch (36 cm) tall rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or a sharpen knife, cut the dough into 5 vertical pieces and then cut all these 5 pieces horizontally into 3 pieces each, to get 15 4.5 inch x 4.5 inch (12cm x 12cm) squares.
  2. Now you can shape these the way you want. I have three favorites; the diamond, the pinwheel, and the envelope.
  3. To make the diamond, fold the square by half, placing one of the corners over the opposite corner, to make a triangle. Now cut both folded resulting edges of the triangle along the edges to make borders, without cutting the tip of the triangle. Unfold the triangle to have the square again, with cuts along the edges, fold one of the borders over the square to be placed on the opposite corner, then do the same with the other border, to get a diamond shape. Stick it with some water or egg white. 
  4. To make the pinwheel, make cuts starting from all 4 corners of the square inwards without cutting the middle, that way you will get 8 separate corners. Now fold one corners in, the following don´t fold it, the next yes, the next don´t, and so on, until you end up with a pinwheel shape. Sitck it with some water or egg white. 
  5. To make the envelope, just fold all 4 corners of the square inwars to meet all in the middle, and stick them with some water or egg white.
  6. Once you have finished making all the different shapes, place these on a previously greased pan, cover them with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let them rest for 2 to 3 hours in a warm place so they can double their size. 
  7. Preheat the oven at 400° F (205° C).
  8. To make the egg wash, in a small bowl mix the egg and the cold water and, once the pastries have doubled their sizes, carefully brush them with this mixture.
  9. Then, place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of each pastry. Now, put about a tablespoon of the berries compote on top of the filling.
  10.  Bake at 400° F (205° C) for 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastries are lightly golden. 
  11. To give them a more “gorumet” finish, in a small pot, mix some apricot jam with water and heat to low heat for 1 minute until it dissolves. 
  12. Once the danish pastries are baked and ready, brush some of this mixture on them, this will give them a dreamy shine. 

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Author: Andrea Gámez

Interior designer, Photographer, Food blogger and lover, painting entusiast and a sucker for art. / MEXICO

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