Apple, both equally delicious!
Danish Pastries, with their layer upon layer of rich butter pastry which flakes, crumbles and almost melts whilst it’s enjoyed are perfect for those indulgent breakfasts, lazy brunches and tantalising teatime treats.
These butter rich, cholesterol boosting, cardiac inducing Danish Pastries are a first for me, having never made them before. But knowing how delicious they are with that wonderful flaky pastry and having watched the home-bakers attempt them in the GBBO tent this past week I knew that I wanted to challenge myself in making them, along with the classic Bakewell Tart.
It always amazes me that delicious foods, like Danish Pastries, can be made with a few store cupboard ingredients of flour, butter, sugar and yeast. Once topped with your favourite flavours – fruits, nuts, spices – and shaped in whichever way you fancy, you have a beautiful bake which everybody is sure to love.
There are a host of different shapes you can aim for when folding your Danish Pastries: spirals, pinwheels, flowers, diamonds, amongst others. There are so many to choose from to suit your personality, mood and the flavours you’re intending on filling them with. Being new to shaping Danish Pastries I carried out a quick search on the net and came across a few YouTube channels which were helpful in showing just how it’s done, and I’d link to one here…….but having started enjoying making my own videos (this is only the second one so be kind 😉 ) I’ve pulled together a few clips showing how easy it is to shape a diamond and flower danish pastry! More of that later!
As you may well know, Danish Pastries are made with a dough containing yeast. This is kneaded as we would with a bread dough before it is rested, knocked-back and rolled out ready to start the rolling, folding and chilling routine with a block of butter incorporated within! Now having already carried out a small comparison in my Side-by-Side Baking series which compared the flavour brought to a bake by different butters, I was aware that I needed to purchase the best quality butter we could afford to achieve a delicious flavour in the pastry. The butter I opted to use was President, a French butter which faired well in my small comparison and happened to be on offer at our local supermarket, being sold at only a pound! However, when reading one of Paul Hollywood’s books, Bread, he recommended using Normandy in this Danish Pastries as it has a higher melting point. Although I didn’t use the one recommended by the silver fox himself, I didn’t notice any evidence of our butter melting out leaving dry, spoilt pastries – on the contrary, our pastries were still very much flavoursome and moreish.
Now, the remaining bakers in the tent were challenged with making 24 Danish Pastries, in two flavours. But being a household of just eight legs, four of which belonging to our fur baby, Mr E & I had no call for 24 pastries and so we made twelve of these delicious treats, in two flavour combinations.
Our first batch was Fig, Goats’ Cheese and Honey housed in a diamond shaped Danish Pastry. It saw the halved fig positioned in the centre of the diamond on a bed of soft goats’ cheese which had been sweetened with runny honey. Once baked they were then lightly glazed (though the icing is difficult to see as I applied it whist the pastries were still a little warm due to the hastening loss of daylight and therefore photograph potential) with a water icing which also contained some runny honey.
Our second batch of Danish Pastries were flavoured with another seasonal favourite: Blackberry & Apple. The pastry was folded in the beautiful flower shape, a shape which really appeals to me. A spoonful of cinnamon spiced apple puree was placed in the centre of the shaped ‘flower’ before being topped with a blackberry. These were glazed with a sugar solution as soon as they emerged from the oven.
As for the result? Well, I have to admit I was pretty happy with how well they puffed up and exposed their laminations, especially those containing the figs. Both flavour combinations were absolutely delicious in the laminated pastry, though the one we preferred, by a whisker, was the Blackberry and Apple Danish Pastries.
And if you fancy watching how these delicious Danish Pastries are shaped, just check out my video!
Let’s get to it and baaaaake!
Hands on time: around 1 hour 30 mins Cook time: about 20 mins Yield: 6 of each flavour (total of 12 pastries)
For the dough
- 500g Strong White Bread Flour
- 7g Salt
- 80g Caster Sugar
- 10g Fast Action Dried Yeast
- 260ml Milk, lukewarm
- 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
- 250g Butter, unsalted & chilled
For the Blackberry & Apple Danish Pastry
- 1 Bramley Apple
- 2.5 tsp Sugar (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 6 Fresh Blackberries
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Boiling Water
For the Fig, Goats’ Cheese and Honey Danish Pastry
- 60g Soft Goats’ Cheese
- 1 tsp Runny Honey (or to taste)
- 3 Fresh Figs, halved
- 2 tbsp Icing Sugar
- 1-2 tsp runny Honey
- 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
a) Use the best quality butter you can afford. b) Stack any off cuts of pastry rather than balling them to maintain the laminations. c) The uncooked dough can be wrapped and frozen for up to 6 months. Allow it to defrost in the fridge before rolling and shaping it. d) Remember to chill the butter and dough between each stage. e) Avoid brushing the laminated layers of pastry with the egg wash as this may prevent them from puffing up successfully. f) The Danish Pastries are at their best enjoyed on the same day of baking.
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