Danish Pastries

After spending a semester in Copenhagen living precisly 57 steps from a "Bageri", you could say I know what to look for in a Danish. 

That being said, Danishes do not actually originate from Denmark! These treats became a popular pastry of choice in Denmark only after the Danish bakers decided to go on strike over wages, and Austrian bakers were hired instead. There was such a large demand for these pastries even after the strike was over that the Danish bakers had to learn how to make them. 

This recipe is somewhat quicker than most you will find out there for traditional danish, although it involves yeast so there is only so much you can rush the process. They are a perfect surprise for visiting loved ones, hungry workers and little fingers- and can be morphed into different flavors with ingredients that you probably already have on hand. I mean, come on, who doesn't have chocolate stashed away somewhere? 

Dough

Ingredients

I see you strawberry...

I see you strawberry...

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ cup buttermilk at room temp
  • 1 large egg at room temp
  • 2 ¼ cups AP flour
  • 1 package rapid rise yeast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, very cold

Method

  1. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water and milk with a little bit of the honey (I took 1/2 teaspoon from the 1 tablespoon) and let stand until the mixture starts to foam a little bit. Then, beat egg with a fork until broken up and add to milk-yeast mixture. Beat mixture with fork again until just combined. Set aside.
  2. Place a large bowl near the food processor. Put the flour and salt in the food processor and give it a mix. Add the cold slices of butter and honey all at once but scattered around the batter. Give it about 5 short pulses so that you can see fairly large pieces of butter still. Empty this into the bowl and add egg, milk and yeast mixture. 
  3. Use your hands rubber spatula to mix everything together but dont over do it (you want the butter still very much visible. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 2 hours. 
  4. Take the dough out and turn it into pastry! Roll out to a 20" square, using enough flour to prevent sticking. Fold dough into thirds like a business letter and then turn it so that the closed fold is on your left (like a book). Roll dough out again into a large square, repeating the above steps three times. 
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes at least or up to 4 days (or freeze). 
  6. Once it has bulked up in the fridge (I left it overnight) and you have prepared the fillings, take it out and roll it into a thin big square and cut into smaller squares. Reserve any of the extras as you can put them together and re-roll them out 

Lemon Raspberry Goat Cheese Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 container raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • goat cheese
  • salt
  • tsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Method:

  1. Heat the raspberries, honey and water together on low heat, stirring occasionally until it is very think (about 20 minutes)
  2. Mix the goat cheese, salt, honey and lemon zest together.
  3. Put a dollop in the middle and top with raspberry filling. Gather the four corners of the pastry dough and pinch together in the center

Almond Honey 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond flour (blended almonds)
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • 1 tbsp butter at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp water

Method

  1. Bring water and honey together to a simmer in saucepan. Once mixed together turn off heat and add the almond extract. Mix and pour over the almond flour. Mix well then add butter until well incorporated.