Danish PastriesAdapted from the cookbook, Essential Baking.
Makes about 12 pastries.
For the Danish pastries,
- 2 teaspoons dried yeast
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) warm milk
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (250 g) plain (all-purpose) flour or strong bread flour
- 1/4 cup (55 g) caster sugar, extra
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 125 g each of salted and unsalted butter, chilled (total 250 g butter)
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) hot milk
- Stir the yeast, milk and sugar in a small bowl until dissolved. Leave in a warm place for 10 minutes until frothy and slightly increased in volume.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and add salt and extra sugar.
- Make a well into the center and add the yeast, egg and vanilla. Mix until it forms a firm dough or alternatively use the dough hook attachment of an electric mixer to combine the ingredients together.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes to form a smooth, elastic dough.
- Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, roll and shape the two butters together between two sheets of cling wrap into a 15 x 20 cm rectangle and refrigerate.
- Knock back the dough in one punch and knead for 1 minute. Roll the dough out to a rectangle of 25 x 30 cm. Put the butter in the center of the dough and fold up the bottom and top of the dough over the butter to join in the center like a letter.
- Give the dough a quarter-turn clockwise, roll out to a 20 x 45 cm rectangle. Fold over the top third of pastry, then bottom third and give another quarter-turn clockwise. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, folding, turning and chilling four more times. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least another 2 hours.
- For the pastry cream, put the sugar, egg yolks and flours in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Pour the hot milk over the top and whisk until smooth. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens. Cover and refrigerate to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F) and line two baking trays with baking paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle 3 mm thick. Cut 4 inch squares and shape into desired shapes, demonstrated here and place on prepared baking trays. Cover the shaped pastries and leave in a warm place to prove from 30 minutes to an hour until puffed and doubled in size.
- Fill each Danish pastry with about 1 tablespoon filling and top with jam, fruit or berries. Brush with egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water). Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool on wire racks and serve warm.