Monday, 22 September 2014

Quick and Easy Danish Pastries

Quick and Easy Maple & Pecan Danish Pastries
Quick and Easy Maple & Pecan Danish Pastries

This is the first thing I have baked in my new oven in my temporary kitchen in our living room. The pastry dough was created on a kitchen worktop cut off balanced on the end of my computer desk. Needless to say it was a bit chaotic but a real testament to how easy it is to create Danish pastries from scratch in less than ideal surroundings (with a little help from the Magimix).


These pastries are my #GBBO Bake Along recipe for pastry week. I love making pastries and actually find working with laminated dough a soothing kind of activity. I was a little surprised that none of the bakers had heard of Kouign Amann (many have linked their versions on the #GBBO Bake Along) I would have thought anyone researching laminated dough would have come across it.


I keep getting a strong sense of deja vu in this series of Great British Bake Off. It somehow feels like we have been through it all before and are now getting repeats (note that doughnuts are making a return next week). I suppose it is hard to find recipes people are unfamiliar with at this stage. I am looking forward to the finale which is just around the corner. I expect Louis, Richard and Nancy to be finalists – much as I love Martha I am not sure she can make it to the bitter end.


Anyway, back to Danish Pastries. This recipe was popularised by none other than Julia Child but the recipe credit goes to Beatrice Ojakangas. The method works along the same principle as rough puff pastry and works remarkably well while simplifying and speeding up the laminated dough process.


I don't know if I should say just how incredibly delicious these were. Maybe you are better off not knowing. The entire batch was devoured in 12 hours (most of it by me). I could not resist these!



Quick and Easy Danish Pastries

Quick method Danish Pasty Dough

Makes 10-20 entirely depending on size
180ml | 3/4 cup (6fl oz) whole milk
1 sachet dry active yeast (about 1/2 tbsp)
70g | 1/3 cup (caster) sugar
1 large egg
250g | 2 cups plain flour (plus more for dusting and rolling)
65g | 1/2 cup white bread flour
230g | 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp salt


Method

  1. Heat the milk for a few seconds in a microwave until just warm. Add the sugar and yeast and whisk to combine. Let it stand for 4-5 minutes until the yeast is frothy. Add the egg and lightly whisk together. Set aside.
  2. Put the flour and salt in the large bowl of the Magimix fitted with a metal blade (image 1).
  3. Add the cubed butter and briefly pulse a few times until mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs.You want the butter to remain in pea sized pieces.
  4. Put the flour mixture in a large bowl (image 2) and add the milk/yeast mixture (image 3). Gently combine using a spatula until the dough comes together (image 4) but don't overwork it.
  5. Line your worktop with two large pieces of clingfilm (image 5). Tip the dough onto it and use the cling film to squash the dough into a square. Put in the freezer for 30-45 mins or until fairly firm but still pliable. 
  6. Liberally dust your worktop and rolling pin with flour.
  7. Roll your dough out to a rectangle roughly three times as long as it is wide (image 6).  Fold the short sides of the dough into the middle using a pastry scraper to help you if sticky. Rotate the dough by a quarter turn. Fold the short ends towards the center. Flip the dough over so the seams are underneath. Roll it out again repeating steps 5-7 a few times (minimum 4) until the dough starts to get elastic.
  8. Wrap the dough twice with cling film and rest in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. You are now ready to use it.
Quick and Easy Danish Pastries

Pecan and Maple filling

100g | 3.5 oz toasted pecans
3-4 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp (30g) cold unsalted butter 
6 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch salt

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in the small bowl of the Magimix fitted with a metal blade.
  2. Pulse until the ingredients form a fairly coarse paste. Set aside until needed.
Quick and Easy Danish Pastries

To make the pastries

1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk for egg wash
4 tbsp pecans, roughly chopped
5 tbsp apricot jam, warmed and sieved until smooth to glaze

Maple glaze

4-5 tbsp icing (powdered) sugar
1-2 tbsp maple surup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Hot water if needed

Method

  1. Cut the dough in half. Keep the piece you aren’t using in the fridge until needed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190C | 375F and line two large baking trays with greaseproof paper.  
  3. Dust your worktop and rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough out to about 5cm (1/7 inch) thick and trim the edges. 
  4. To create pinwheels, cut the dough into squares and make small cuts from the corner toward the centre of each square. Place about 2 tsp of the filling  in the middle and fold every other point in towards the centre. 
  5. To created plaits cut square or rectangle pieces of the dough. Place filling along the centre and cut strips on the diagonal either side of it (as shown above). Fold the strips alternately towards the middle to create the plait. Tuck the ends under or cut them off. Repeat making pastries with rest of the dough (or freeze it).
  6. Transfer onto the baking tray, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. 
  7. Brush some egg wash over the pastries. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on size, until puffed and golden.
  8. Cool on a wire rack and brush with sieved apricot jam if you want a high shine. 
  9. Mix all the ingredients for the glaze together, thinning with hot water if necessary, until think but pourable. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the pastries.
Notes: Although I went a bit crazy and created all these different shapes I would advise sticking to one shape /size so that the pastries all need same baking time.
– Keep an eye on the pastries - they can go from raw to burned quite quickly. I am still learning the quirks of my new oven which is much more efficient that my last crappy one.
– Although the filling sounds like it will be very sweet it is not. I think the pastries benefit from a little maple glaze.


Quick and Easy Maple & Pecan Danish Pastries


Remember to link your #GBBO bakes. There will be book prizes given out to three star bakers – and possibly more!


#CookBlogShare roundup 8-21 September


This Cook Blog Share rounds up 2 weeks worth of links instead of one. I had to extend it as I was so ill last Monday I think I crawled into bed at 6pm. It has been a completely hectic September so far and I feel like I am juggling too many plates and dropping a few every so often!

I hate feeling so little in control but I have so much work on and so little time that the poor blog has been badly neglected this week ( I tried to catch up over the weekend). I am actually sitting on several blogposts but have no time to write them up - a sad state of affairs!

Thank you for linking and commenting and supporting this link party – and for being patient with me these past couple of weeks. Hopefully my workload will become less crazy in October! Next week we have a copy of MasterChef Cookery Course up for grabs so get those entries in and sound off in the comments for a chance to win.

It was exceedingly hard to pick only four recipes to highlight this week. The level of entries was really high and it was nice to see new faces and old favourite linkers coming back. The first highlighted recipe goes to Kirsty of Hijacked by Twins for her lovely Earl Grey cake. This looks just perfect for Afternoon Tea. Someone put the kettle on.


I am very glad to have come across Philip's blog - a self proclaimed Baking Fanatic with many simply amazing and accomplished recipes under his belt. He linked a few recipes all of which were mouthwatering. Check out these passion fruit doughsants or the Joconde Imprime Fruit Mousse cakes. He really should have been a #GBBO contestant!


Felicity of They Called It The Diamond Blog has made some amazing Raspberry Rose Ripple Marshmallows which reminded my what a soft spot I have for homemade marshmallows. Gorgeous photos too. I love her storing advice - one for you, one for the tin...


Finally something savoury to round off this round up. Alida of My Little Italian Kitchen has put together a lovely bruschetta with figs, rocket and ham. I grew up with fruiting fig trees (in Greece) and it is really a taste like no other. This looks incredibly appetising with such great flavour combinations. Yum.


Directly below is a brand new #CookBlogShare ‘linky’ ready for you to add any recipe posts you would like to share. All recipes and food bloggers are welcome. There's no theme to follow and you can link any recipe sweet or savoury, old or new. All I ask is that you display the badge and link back to this post.

#CookBlogShare guidelines

• Link up your post using the InLinkz tool below
• Please add the “Cook, Blog, Share” badge to your post and link back to this page. If you need help tweet me (@supergolden88) or comment below and I will walk you through it : )
• Spread the word - lets get this party started! 
• Come back next Monday to check the write up and join a new #CookBlogShare link party.
• Tweet me your entry @supergolden88 using #CookBlogShare hashtag and I will RT.
• Do check the other entries if you get a chance and share the comment love.