Jan 3, 2010

My First Attempt at Danish Pastries

So as my first blog post I have decided to make it big. My first daredevil mission is Danish pastries. *(This is where you yelp)* Really you might think, “Danishes! I get them from the gas station every morning.” If this is you 1) We have some serious health issues to talk about, because it would be easier to strap them on your hips and 2) YES THEY ARE PRETTY HARD TO MAKE! Well I guess they are not that hard, but believe me they can be pretty tricky…

Real Danishes (or at least these) are sooo much different than the ones you buy at QT (AKA Ouik Trip). The bread part tastes almost like a less buttery croissant, so to pull in that all around sweet taste you *must* have a great topping/filling. Fillings can range anywhere from cream cheese to apricot jam. For mine I decided to try out Joe’s Cream Cheese Filling. All in all his cream cheese filling was good, but I like my recipe for cream cheese (which is SUPER good). Note: I have a special article that I’ll post recipe for cream cheese filling and also blue berry filling. To me blueberries are bland, but this recipe makes them tangy and GOOD.

The Danish dough is extremely easy to make! I just gather my ingredients and mix them together and then knead/vigorously mix them together in the bowl.

The next step is to let the dough ferment for 30 minutes on your counter. After that pop it into your fridge and let it sit for anywhere from 2 hours to 3 days. I’m sure I would have got a world of flavor if I let the dough ferment in the fridge over night, but school starts in the next few days and I still have a huge list of other recipes I want to make!

So while the dough is fermenting, make your butter square. Yes… I said it. A square of butter… If nothing else it’s great practice if you want to pick up butter sculpting. Oddly enough I have seen two butter sculptures in my life. Start by taking 8 ounces of butter and pound them into a square with a barbaric club or if you don’t have one sitting around use a *solid* rolling pin. I would love to get into detail, but luckily for me and for you my friend Joe has posted a huge article about how to make laminated dough of which has a huge section about butter pounding.

The next step is to take the butter square and the dough out of the fridge. Since they were both cold, I let them warm up for about 20 minutes on the counter top. With that all done I did this fancy technique of taking out the rolled out dough and placing the butter on it and doing these fancy folds. Sounds easy! Right? Again… Check out his article.

The most critical step it the folding. This must be done to produce a flaky dough. Roll out the dough and get it longer than it is wide. Do a basic letter fold and pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes. Repeat 2 times.
So the folding should look like this...

Fold 1
15-20 minutes in the fridge
Fold 2
15-20 minutes in the fridge
Fold 3
15-20 minutes in the fridge

Now it’s all down hill from here! Just pull the dough out of the fridge and roll out to you specifications. For mine I did squares and put the filling in the center. Then I folded the corners in. Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes (I used a little more than 20 minutes). My folds were not tight enough so they fell apart in the oven. Oh well! They turned out great and my family and I were ecstatic to have *real* Danishes!

So for my first danish pastry, I think they turned out great. I think next time I might stick to something a little easier. I might also work a little tighter and press down my folds more. Now having more confidence in danish pastries I think I might now try something like croissants or pain au chocolate.

I want to say thanks to Joe from joepastry.com for the wonderful recipe! Take a look at his website for a world full of recipes he has posted, including his Danish Pastry recipe

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