Danish Pastries

Prep Time: 0:40
Cook Time: 0:20
Makes: 12

Ingredients / Shopping List

14g instant yeast or ( 25g fresh)
1 tsp sugar
150ml tepid water
450g plain flour
5ml salt
50g lard
30ml caster sugar
2 eggs
300g unsalted butter
Egg to glaze
Fillings: see method
Apricot glaze

Prep to Cook:  For the dough:

Mixing bowl, measuring jug, wooden spoon, parchment paper, knife, rolling pin, flour dredger, polythene bag.

Prepare fillings of your choice: marzipan, drained or fresh apricots, stewed fruits.  Glaze with egg wash and apricot glaze

Prep:  To make the dough:

Dissolve sugar in tepid water 
Mix flour and instant yeast in a mixing bowl
Rub in the lard and add 30g sugar
Beat eggs and add along with tepid water mixture
Mix to a dough and knead lightly
Leave to rest whilst dealing with the unsalted butter
Form the butter into a rectangle by rolling between non-stick parchment
Leave to chill in refrigerator
Roll the dough on a floured surface to an oblong 3 times as big as the butter
Place the butter in the centre
Fold the base up and the top down
Seal the edges
Roll dough to the original size
Fold again
Rest the dough for 10 mins
Roll and fold once more to ensure ‘laminations’ or layers
Leave to rest whilst preparing the fillings
Roll and cut into 6 or 8 pastries and shape as stars, diamonds or swirls
Check it out!

Danish pastries, sometimes called ‘weinerbrod’ are similar to French viennoiserie being rich in fat, delicate and flaky.  They are made from layered or laminated yeast dough and baked after proving. They are popular in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, Iceland and Estonia.

Recipe Science

Cooks Know How:  Danish pastries owe their success to the light and delicate pastry used to create lovely shapes.  These can be filled with stewed fruits, marzipan, toasted nuts and then glazed with apricot glaze and iced with glace icing. 

The ingredient that ensures the yeast dough becomes layered and light is the unsalted butter.  It is added in such a way that the dough becomes built up into multiple feathery sheer layers that become crisp and golden on cooking.  The butter provides the buttery flavour and the golden colour as well as moistening the gluten layers.  The yeast cells in the dough push the gluten strands apart and keep the layers defined. Steam in the dough also helps this process.  Once the cooking temperature is hot enough the gluten strands set, the butter is absorbed into the flour.  Each layer of the dough holds its risen shape. The yeast cells finally finish producing gas and become inactive. The pastry is golden, light and layered.
Fillings for Danish pastries are traditionally stewed apricots and apples, marzipan and toasted almonds and a custard, known as pastry cream or Confectioners custard (see recipe).
Glazes improve the colour of the dough, egg wash can be used on the pastries prior to cooking and apricot jam glaze can be brush on the pastries after cooking to aid keeping quality.  Runny glace icing can also be drizzled over the pastries to add sweetness and moistness.
Danish Pastries are a luxury.  They are high in fat and sugar and should be made for special events.