Danish Pastries: The Real Deal (Part III)
Feb. 20, 2009 3:39 pm
Updated: Feb. 20, 2009 10:07 pm
To make the individual Danish, I cut the dough into 3-inch squares. These make fairly petite pastries even after they rise (that way, you don't have to feel guilty for eating one of each flavor).
The dough should be rolled out to about a ¼-inch thickness and refrigerated until well-chilled before you begin.
- Leave about a ¾-inch space in the center of each square to hold the filling. Use a sharp paring knife to cut four diagonal lines from the center to each edge. Brush the edges with egg wash, and fold in every other point to the center, pressing to seal.
Refrigerate the shaped pastries overnight. About two hours before you plan to bake them, take the trays out of the fridge, brush the pastries with egg wash, and let them rise. They should be nicely puffed—just squishy to the touch, not doubled.
- Cut two right angles in the dough opposite each other to make ¼-inch borders. (This one's kind of hard to explain. See the photo below.) Egg wash the square and fold one border over to the opposite side, pressing lightly to seal. Repeat with the other side.
- Add fillings: I like using two flavors per pastry, first a creamy filling (pastry cream or cheese filling) and then fruit, like strawberry halves in spring, apple-cinnamon filling in winter, etc. You only need a dollop of each filling; if they're too full, they'll spill over in the oven.
- Bake at 400° until deep golden brown, checking after about ten minutes or so, rotating the trays in the oven if necessary.
- As soon as the pastries come out of the oven, brush them with a glaze of melted apple jelly or apricot preserves thinned with a little water. The glaze helps seal the pastries and keep them fresh, plus it gives the fruit filling a shine.
Shaping Danish pinwheels: fold in every other corner (4 total), pressing to seal.
Shaping diamonds: fold the borders to the opposite sides, lining up the edges of the pastry.
Individual Danish pastries: mixed berry & pastry cream, and apricot & cheese filling.