One of the most common breakfast items, scene all around bakeries and breakfast buffets, danish pastry is a buttery and flaky pastry with a rich and creamy custard and tangy strawberry jam makes it the best of both worlds, with the goodness of a croissant and the amazing flavor of the custard and strawberry topping.
A Danish Pastry is an enriched dough, layered multiple times with butter in order to achieve a crusty and flaky final product. It can be classified as a variant of a puff pastry brought to Denmark by the bakers in austria. The Danes adapted and changed the recipe to their liking and made the danish pastry as we now know it. These pastries were brought to the United states by immigrants and are popular all around the world.
Types of Danish Pastry
In The UK: The pastries made over here sometimes consist of cardamom in the dough to bring an aroma to the sweetness of the pastry. They put in ingredients from custards to jams, fruits like cherries and raisins, or even flaked almonds to caramelized toffee.
In The US:people of the states generally like their danish with fruits or a dollop of cream cheese prior to baking. The danish with nuts also has some level of popularity over here.
In Argentina:People of Argentina usually add Dulce de Leche within the Danish. Dulce de leche is a sauce made by caramelizing milk and sugar.
Quick and Easy Strawberry and Custard Danish Pastry
I've always loved well baked Danish, since I first tried it in my hotel. It made me want to make a recipe that would provide the same satisfaction that one gets when eating out at a good french patisserie. This recipe is a method at a rough puff, that is easily prepared at home, and is adaptable to any kind of toppings you have available, which makes it a must try.
1) In a large bowl start by sifting your refined flour and baking powder, over this add your caster sugar, yeast, egg and lukewarm milk.
2) Knead the contents of the bowl with your hands, till a cohesive dough forms. This would take around 5 mins.
3) Chill the dough in a plastic bag or wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. This helps the gluten in the dough to relax and makes it much easier to roll out.
4) Take your chilled butter block, keep it between two pieces of butter paper and start flattening it with a rolling pin. Once flat, keep the butter to rest in the fridge while you roll out the dough.
5) Take out half of the dough on a floured bench to avoid sticking. Keep the other half in the fridge for later use, it can be stored for a week in the fridge. Start to roll out the dough till it turns into a sheet which is 1 cm thick.
6) Place the chilled slab of butter on the rolled out sheet of dough, fold the dough over the butter to cover it. Seal the dough completely to avoid the butter from leaking when you further roll it.
7) Start rolling out the dough with the butter inside. Once flat and 1 cm thick, fold in both sides of the dough to the middle so it looks similar to a book. This is called a book fold.
8) Repeat this step one more time while refrigerating the dough in between the folds. This is to make sure that the butter doesn't melt and ooze out of the dough.
9) This process is done to create alternate layers of butter and dough, which results in a nice and flaky pastry. It is called lamination of a dough.
10) After rolling the dough for the 3rd and final time, cut it into four neat squares, make appropriate cuts and fold in the corners to form a star shape.
11) Brush the dough with an egg wash and let it rise for 30 minutes. This helps the dough to brown properly and gives it a golden crust.
12) Add a dollop of chilled custard, followed by the custard, add a dollop of strawberry jam, apply egg wash and bake for 8-10 minutes at 220 degree celsius. After taking it out of the oven, garnish it with tender coconut flesh.
Make sure all the liquid ingredients in the dough are at lukewarm temperature, so the yeast gets activated.
Keep the dough and butter on the same temperature while rolling it out. If it is cold, it might pierce the dough.
Add a little splash of milk in the egg wash for better color.
Freshly baked pastries are a winter classic and the best out of the lot are Danish pastries with a crispy flaky crust and a fruit and custard filling. This particular one is made of strawberry jam and tender coconut flesh. Perfect to taking Sunday brunches to another level!