Danish pastries are possibly Denmark’s most well-recognized food specialty, even though it is Austria that should actually be credited for originally creating them! Traditionally based on a leavened pastry (basically a layered puff pastry made with a yeast dough) the making of them is quite an involved process. Luckily, the pastry used here is a shortcut one with chunks of butter already incorporated into the pastry when initially mixed, which cuts out the process of interleaving it with the pastry dough as you fold it – if you haven’t made puff pastry before, this is a good recipe to start with.
- 125 ml (½ cup) lukewarm milk
- 7 g (1 sachet) dried yeast
- 250 g (1⅔ cups) plain flour
- 185 g butter, chilled and cut into 2 cm cubes
- 1 egg, at room temperature, lightly whisked
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 5 tbsp good-quality raspberry jam
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted, to decorate
- 125 g (1 cup) pure icing sugar
- 1 tbsp boiling water
- ¼ tsp natural almond extract
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time overnight + 45 minutes
Put the milk in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Put the flour and butter into the bowl of a food processor and use the pulse button to process until the butter is cut into 1 cm pieces (make sure your don’t process any further). Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the egg, sugar and cardamom to the milk mixture and stir to combine. Add the flour and butter mixture and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix until it is just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and bring together with your hands. Knead for 30 seconds or until smooth. Shape into a rectangle and then use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the out until about 40 x 25 cm, keeping the edges as straight as possible. With a long side nearest to you, fold the right third of the dough in to cover the centre third and then fold the left side in also. Turn the dough clockwise a quarter turn. Fold the dough into thirds as before to make a small rectangle. Flip the dough over on the bench and repeat the rolling, folding, turning clockwise and then flipping over process another 2 times (3 times in total). You will finish with a small rectangle. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Roll out the pastry with a lightly floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about (30 x 35cm) cm and about 5 mm thick. Cut in half to make two 15 x 35 cm rectangles. Spread the raspberry jam down the centre to cover the centre third of both rectangles. Cut the pastry diagonally into 2cm-wide strips down both sides of the jam and then fold the strips, alternating form each side, into the centre over the jam. Transfer the pastries on the lined tray. Cover loosely with a slightly damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 minutes or until the pastry is “puffy”.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden, crisp and cooked through. Remove from oven and cool on the tray.
To make the Icing, put the icing sugar in a medium bowl and stir in the water and almond extract to make a smooth pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cooled pastry and sprinkle with the almonds and set aside to set. Serve at room temperature cut into slices.
• This Danish pastry is best eaten the day it is baked but will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. Read our interview with her or for hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Trish Hegarty. Food preparation by Wendy Quisumbing.
This recipe is from our online column, Bakeproof: Danish baking.