Monday, 24 April 2017

Simple Danish Pastries (Wheat- and Yeast Free)

Kan du lide at wienerbrød? Continuing with my Central European vibe this week, I present the Danish Pastry!


These crispy treats are known as wienerbrød in their native land. It literally means 'Vienna bread', because all of the yeast risen laminated pastries we know and love, such as croissants and Danish pastries, were originally developed in Austria.

I, however, don't use a yeast risen puff pastry, I just use normal puff pastry. I tend to make my own, which is time consuming, but it means my mother can eat them when they're made from scratch with spelt. If you want the pastry to taste yeasty, however, you can bind the dough with beer instead of water. It's a neat trick.

Danish pastries look a little different in the United States, using fresh berries and sweetened cream cheese fillings. British style Danish pastries, which I'm used to, use more traditional fillings like jam, apple, apricot, and baker's custard, called crème pâtissière.

My pastries didn't rise as much as I'd have liked, because the pastry was warm before cooking, so PLEASE make sure the pastries are nice and cold before baking.

And don't be intimidated by the ingredient list, not by the seemingly complex construction: they're very, very simple, especially if you use shop bought ingredients.

This will be my last entry for this month, because my thesis proposal is due this week. Wish me luck!

INGREDIMENTS
For about 12 pastries, depending on size
  • Double quantity of puff pastry, alternatively you can buy a pound (455 grammes) of premade puff pastry
  • 1 egg, mixed with a tablespoon of milk
  • Flaked almonds, to decorate
  • Demerara sugar, to decorate
For the gluten free crème pâtissière,
  • 6 fluid ounces (180 millilitres) whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) cornflour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grammes) sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • About a teaspoon (5 grammes) butter
  • 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) vanilla essence
For the apple filling,
  • 1 eating apple, something firm and tart like a Granny Smith, or Pink Lady, or you could use 4 ounces (115 grammes) of any other firm fruit, or berry
  • 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grammes) brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 millilitre) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 millilitre) ground cloves
Other fillings,
  • Brown sugar and cinnamon
  • Nutella
  • Jam
  • Tinned apricots or plums
  • Dried mixed fruit

HOW-TO

To make crème pâtissière,
  • In a small saucepan, mix together the sugar, cornflour, egg yolk, salt, and two tablespoons (30 millilitres) of the measured milk to make a smooth paste.
  • Add the rest of the milk, stir well, and place over medium heat. Bring to the boil, mixing all the time, and boil for about 2 minutes to fully activate the starch.
  • Remove from the heat and pour immediately into a bowl. Cover with clingfilm, touching the surface directly, and cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools.
To make the apple filling
  • Peel, core, and chop the apple into half inch (1 centimetre) pieces. Place in a bowl or jug, and add the other ingredients.
  • Mix very well until the mixture becomes wet and saucy: the starch will draw the water out of the apple and mix it with the other ingredients.
To make the pastries,
  • Prepare the pastry, which will take about two or three hours.
  • Roll the pastry out to a rectangle measuring 12 by 16 inches (30.5 by 40.5 centimetres), cut into twelve 4 inch (10 centimetre) squares.
  • Use each square to make a pastry following the instructions: braids, windmills, turnovers, or crowns. You can use the fillings as instructed above, or you can use shop bought fillings.
  • To make the spirals, you need a 4 by 8 inch (10 by 20 centimetre) rectangle, so just keep two squares stuck together for the spirals. Follow the illustration below to make the spirals.
  • Lie the pastries on the baking sheets, about two inches (5 centimetres) apart, brush the tops with eggwash, and decorate with flaked almonds or Demerara sugar if you like.
  • Place the pastries into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes before cooking. While they're chilling, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, Gas Mk.7), and flour two large flat trays.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then transfer gently to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. The apple ones are nice warm, though.

HOW TO MAKE THE SHAPES

Spiral


Take the 4 by 8 inch (10 by 20 centimetre) piece of pastry, and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar, brushing it around with your hand to get it all to stick. Sprinkle generously also with ground cinnamon, Rolling from the short end, roll it up like a Swiss roll. Wrap up in cling film, and then chill for 30 minutes before cutting into half inch (1 centimetre) slices. Brush each slice with egg wash if you like.

Apple Turnover


Take a square, and place about a rounded teaspoon of apple filling in the centre. Imagine the square cut in half diagonally, and brush the edges of one diagonal side with eggwash to help stick. Fold over diagonally, and press the edges together firmly with a fork. Brush the top with eggwash and sprinkle with Demerara sugar.

Braid


Take a square, and visualise it divide into three. Cut the outer two thirds with slightly angled lines, and fill the centre third with whichever filling you like. Working top to bottom, alternately fold the pastry strips over the filling in the middle. Slightly pinch the open ends to close them up.

Windmills (Pinwheels)


Take a square, and cut diagonally into quarters, making sure not to cut all the way though the middle. Fill the centre part that isn't cut, and then take a corner of one pastry flap and fold it up into the middle, over the filling. Work around the pastry until all flaps have the same corner folded into the middle.

Crown


This is the easiest one. Take a square, and fold each corner down into the middle, but not all the way. Place the filling on in the centre, on top of the folded corners.

These are best enjoyed on the day they're made, but if you have any left overs keep in an airtight container for 3 days. These can freeze for up to a month, too.

Nothing on this day in 2016
THIS TIME IN 2015: Tiramisù Mini Cheesecakes (Wheat Free)
Nothing on this day in 2014
THIS TIME IN 2013: Dinosaur Kimberleys (Wheat Free)

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