Beatrice Ojakangas

Recipes from the Scandinavian Chef

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Location: Duluth, Minnesota, United States

3/07/2010

Much Requested Danish Pastry Recipe

There have been many requests for the Danish Pastry Recipe I shared with Julia Child. The program airs from time to time on PBS.

This recipe was included in BAKING WITH JULIA, written by Dorie Greenspan, published in 1996 by William Morrow and Company. The recipe is based on one included in my GREAT SCANDINAVIAN BAKING BOOK, reprinted by the University of Minnesota Press, 1999

BASIC DANISH PASTRY (Quick Method)

1/4 cup warm water, 105*F. to 115*F.

1 package active dry yeast

1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

1 egg, at room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter

Pour water into bowl; add yeast and let stand for 2-3 minutes until yeast foams. Add milk, egg, sugar and salt and whisk to mix; set aside.

Measure flour into food processor with metal blade in place. Cut butter into 1/4 inch thick slices and drop into flour. Pulse 8 to 10 times, until butter is cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

Empty flour mixture into bowl with yeast and with rubber spatula, gently fold the two mixtures together just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Don't be too energetic! The butter must remain in pieces so that you will produce a flaky pastry, not a bread dough or cookie. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or up to 4 days to suit your schedule).

Lightly flour a work surface; turn dough out onto it, and dust dough with flour. Using the palms of your hands, pat dough into a rough square. Roll out to 16 inches on a side. Fold dough into thirds, like a business letter and turn it so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Roll out again, into a long narrow rectangle, about 10 inches wide by 24 inches long. Fold into thirds again. Roll out to make a 20-inch square. Fold square into thirds again to make a long, narrow rectangle. Then again, fold into thirds to make a square. (If at any point in this procedure the dough gets very soft, cover and chill it for 30 minutes or so.) Cover and chill the dough before final shaping. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for 4 days or wrap it air tight and keep it frozen for 1 month; thaw overnight, still wrapped, in the refrigerator.

USING THE PASTRY:

You can shape the pastry into either large coffeecakes and breads or into individual pastries. Here are a couple of my favorites:

DANISH PASTRY BRAID:

1 recipe Basic Danish Pastry (Quick Method)

Butter Cream Filling

1/4 cup soft butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup finely pulverized almonds

1 (3-ounce) package almond paste

1 egg white

Glaze:

1 slightly beaten

2 tablespoons milk or water

Pearl sugar or crushed sugar cubes for topping

Sliced or chopped almonds

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 to 3 teaspoons warm water

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide chilled dough into 2 parts. Roll out each part to make a rectangle 12 x 6-inches. Place strips on prepared baking sheets.

Blend all of the filling ingredients together and spread filling down the length of the center of the strip. Cut slanting strips at 3/4 inch intervals along both sides up toward the center using a fluted pastry wheel. Fold strips over filling in a crisscross manner.

Preheat oven to 400*F.

Let pastry rise for 30 minutes, just until puffy. Beat the egg with the milk or water and brush pastry. sprinkle with sugar and/or chopped almonds. Bake 15 minutes or until golden. Mix icing ingredients and drizzle over the braids. Makes 2 braids

DANISH PECAN SNAILS

1 recipe Basic Danish Pastry, quick method

Filling:

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 slightly beaten egg

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

3 to 4 teaspoons hot coffee

Place paper cupcake liners in 24 muffin cups and coat lightly with nonstick spray.

Roll pastry out on lightly floured surface to make a 20-inch square. Spread with the butter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Roll up jelly-roll fashion. Cut into 24 slices. Place slices with cut side up into each of the muffin cups. Let rise in a cool place for 30 to 45 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 375*F. Brush pastries with beaten egg. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Mix powdered sugar with coffee and drizzle over the hot pastries. Serve warm. Makes 24

OLD DANISH CHRISTMAS KRINGLE

1 recipe Basic dough.

1 cup (about1/2 pound) almond paste

1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 egg white

1 teaspoon almond extract

Make Basic dough as directed and chill.

Meanwhile, break almond paste into pieces and blend with the almonds, powdered sugar, eg whites and almond extract to make a smooth paste. This may be easiest to accomplish in the food processor.

Turn out onto a lightly floured board and dust with flour. Using a rolling pin, pound dough until smooth and about 3/4 inch thick. Roll out to make a 24-inch square. Fold dough into thirds to make a long narrow strips. With rolling pin, roll again until about 36 inches long.

Spread the length of the roll up to 1 inch from the edges with the almond filling. Roll up from the long side, enclosing the filling. Brush with egg white, then roll in sugar.

Cover baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease and flour the sheet. Place the roll on the baking sheet in the shape of a large pretzel. Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until puffy. It will not double. Preheat oven to 375*F.

Brush kringle again with egg white and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.

Danish Almond Kringle

This is a special bread/cake that Danes like to make for the Holiday season. It’s a quick version of flaky Danish Pastry.

Makes 16 servings

1 package active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup warm milk

1 cup heavy cream, room temperature

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom

1/2 cup (1 stick) firm unsalted butter, cut into slices

Almond filling:

1 (8-ounce) package almond paste, about 1 cup

1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon almond extract

Topping:

about 1/3 cup sugar

1 egg white, beaten

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and milk. Let stand until the yeast dissolves and begins to foam, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cream.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and cardamom. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Fold in the yeast mixture just until the dough is moistened. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

3. Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, pound the dough until flattened to a 2-inch thickness, the roll the dough out to a 24” square.

4. Spread the filling to within 1 inch of the edges of the square and roll the dough up as tightly as possible.

5. Sprinkle the sugar for the topping on the work surface. Roll the dough firmly into the sugar to coat it well, and, at the same time, stretch it to form a log of dough measuring 36 to 40 inches long.

6. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the roll on the paper in the shape of a pretzel. Brush the surface with the egg white and sprinkle with the almonds. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes, or until puffy but not doubled. Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden. Makes 16 servings.


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