Homemade Danish pastries

Homemade Danish pastries

By
From
The Scandinavian Cookbook
Makes
25
Photographer
Lars Ranek

Twenty years ago I moved away from Denmark for a while to live in London with my family. We celebrated my son’s first birthday in London! In Denmark, it is a tradition to have a big breakfast on your birthday, and parents have to go to the bakery very early, prepare a big breakfast spread and surprise you. I did not have a baker nearby, so there was only one solution: I had to make the Danish pastries myself. It was not a bad idea, because the pastries turned out beautifully, and it has subsequently become a tradition in our family that I make homemade Danish pastries for everybody’s birthday.

Pastry dough

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
25g fresh yeast
150ml water, lukewarm
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
325g plain wheat flour
250g butter, cold and thinly sliced

Filling

Quantity Ingredient
1 vanilla pod
250ml single cream
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour

Icing (optional)

Quantity Ingredient
150g icing sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
water, hot

Method

  1. First prepare the pastry. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in the egg, sugar and salt. Add the flour and stir until the dough comes together and leaves the edge of the bowl. Turn it onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until it is shiny but not sticky. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Roll out the dough into a 50 cm square. Spread the thin slices of butter over the dough about 10 cm in from the edge, so that the square of dough has a smaller square of butter on top. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter so that they meet in the centre, making a square parcel.
  2. Carefully roll the dough into a 40 x 60 cm rectangle, making sure that it doesn’t crack and that the butter stays inside the dough parcel. Next you want to fold the dough so that the butter becomes layered within it. Fold the bottom third of dough over the middle third, and fold the top third down over that. Roll out the dough again and fold the same way. Put the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then repeat the rolling and folding process three times, remembering to let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes each time.
  3. Prepare the filling. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a knife. Put the vanilla seeds and cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture is pale and fluffy, then stir in the cornflour. Pour a little bit of the hot cream into the egg mixture to temper it, then pour all of the egg mixture into the saucepan. Return the pan to a reduced heat and whisk until the custard starts to thicken. Take care not to let the custard boil, and beat continuously in order to avoid scorching. Remove from the heat and leave to cool before use.
  4. Roll out the dough to a 50 cm square, then cut it into five rows of 10 cm squares. Place 2 teaspoon of the filling on each square. Take each square’s corners and fold them into the middle over the filling, pressing the edges together to seal. Turn each pastry upside down and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 20 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 225°C. Brush the pastries with a little beaten egg and bake them for 12–15 minutes, then leave to cool on a wire rack.
  5. To make the icing (if wanted), mix the icing sugar and cocoa powder together in a bowl, adding a little bit of hot water, and whisk to give a smooth, dark brown paste. Place a spoonful of the icing on each pastry and leave to set for 10 minutes before serving.
Tags:
Scandinavian
Trine Hahnemann
seasonal
healthy
Danish
Swedish
Norwegian
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