January 25, 2010

Danish Pastries

Baked pastries - Apple close up

 

MUNCH RATING: 4/5

 

I really wanted to challenge myself, so I decided to make the Danish Pastries recipe from the October 2009 issue of BBC Good Food magazine. I’ve made Flaky pastry before, which is quite similar in its method of laying the butter over the dough and creating layers by folding and rolling three times.

 

I have to say that this Danish Pastry dough was a lot more difficult to work with and my arms were killing me after all the rolling (but it’s good when you can make cooking your exercise workout). I found the dough to be very uncooperative in that it kept contracting and shrinking back when I tried to roll it. It also wouldn’t adhere to itself when I folded it, so this lack of cohesion gave me some problems with shaping the dough.

 

Here are the unbaked pastries: a raisin wheel, an apple pinwheel, an apple turnover triangle and an apple turnover square. Unbaked Danish pastries - Raisin WheelUnbaked Danish pastries - Apple PinwheelUnbaked Danish pastries - TurnoverUnbaked Danish pastries - Apple

 

The apple turnover squares unfolded as they baked, which is a shame but they still turned out much better than I expected. I wasn’t that confident that the dough would produce all those lovely layers, so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the oven door and saw that they had worked!Baked pastries - Raisin Wheel from aboveBaked pastries - Apple PinwheelBaked pastries - Apple Turnover TriangleBaked pastries - Apple Turnover Square

 

TASTE TEST:

The pastries were nice and crispy on the top and a little stodgy underneath, but I think that’s because I started cooking them at the top of the oven and then I moved them to a lower shelf because they were browning too much. I will cook them in the middle of the oven next time (I have frozen the rest - they were still just as good when defrosted and then baked).

 

Steve and I thought the pastries were a little bit salty, but his parents didn’t think so. I used Anchor salted butter, so next time I will leave out some of the salt in the dough (salt regulates the yeast's activity) or use unsalted butter.

 

So would I make these again? I will try making Danish Pastries again, but I won’t use this dough recipe again as it was too laborious with putting it in the fridge after every roll – I think this was unnecessary as the Flaky pastry recipe I’ve used before doesn’t require this. I think I will try this Rough Puff recipe next time as it is more simplified.

 

I decided to not copy out the recipe for the dough and fillings as you can find the recipe here and it would make this post extremely long!

 

MY OWN ADDITIONS:

I wasn’t keen on all the fillings that the Good Food recipe suggested, so I decided to make my own apple filling which worked really well.

 

Ingredients for the apple filling:

  • 3 eating apples (I used Gala) peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
  • 25g butter
  • 50g white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

 

Directions for the apple filling:

  1. Place half the apples into a saucepan with the butter and sugar and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Then add the rest of the apple and cook for another 10-15 minutes until soft (adding the apples in 2 stage will allow some of the apple to be more pulpy and the rest will have more bite). Allow to cool before using.

 

COOK’S NOTES:

  • I made the dough by hand instead of in the food processor.
  • I used Egg Glaze Spray from Lakeland to glaze before baking. They are still just as good without an egg glaze.
  • It was a cold day so they didn’t double in size after shaping them and leaving for 30 minutes. I did try putting them in the oven after it had been heating for 10 minutes and then turning it off, but this just made the butter start to melt, so NOT a good idea! So I just baked them straight after my little experiment and they turned out OK.
  • I iced them after letting them cool for about 5 minutes.

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