I was going to title this blog post ‘Easy Danish pastries’ because the dough I used was a cross between a rough puff and an enriched dough, so it wasn’t as much hard work as it could have been … however, it wasn’t that easy either, so I thought it best not to mislead with my title.
As you probably know, I try to make my life easy in the kitchen, and for the Great British Bake Off’s pastry week all of the challenges looked, well, challenging. Danish pastries were first on the menu, and with enriched dough (full of butter and yeast), and layers of butter, it didn’t immediately appeal to my laziness. But I can’t stand frangipane so I couldn’t make the technical challenge of Bakewell tart. The third option was a showstopper filo pastry amuse bouche, and filo pastry looked even more of a faff than the Danishes. I would like to make filo one day, but not with the challenge of also having to entertain a nine week old baby!
So Danish pastry it was, and I started researching ‘easy’ versions via Google. I eventually came across one by Nigella from Domestic Goddess, which did seem less process driven than some of the more traditional recipes for danish pastries. She also included a cheese version with ricotta, lemon and sugar, and I thought that might appeal to Andrew’s more savoury palette, so I decided to give it a go.
I started the evening before by making the first part of the dough: strong white flour mixed with sugar, salt, yeast and butter.
You just whizz it all up in the food processor and then mix with milk and water, then leave in the fridge overnight, so to be fair this was easy.
The dough was a gooey mess, as described by Nigella, but it rolled out easily enough the next morning with a liberal dusting of flour.
Book folds and turns three times leaves you with your dough ready to use (only half is needed for six pastries), and then you just need to roll the dough and cut into six portions and add your filling.
The filling is a simple mix of ricotta cheese, sugar, lemon, egg and butter.
You dollop it into the middle of each pastry square and then fold the pastry around it, leave to rise for a couple of hours, and then bake for 15 minutes before glazing (sugar and hot water) and icing (icing sugar and water).
Unfortunately this was where I struggled: firstly the dough did not rise (why do I always have this problem), and secondly there was too much filling for each pastry and it leaked everywhere.
The Danish pastries still tasted delicious, but they were a bit flat and ugly. I suspect I rolled the dough too thinly and didn’t put it in a warm enough place to rise, so next time I’ll have to try a bit harder on those aspects.
Luckily for me I still have half the dough in the freezer to use in future!
As usual I am joining in with Jenny’s challenge over at Mummy Mishaps. Check out all of the recipes in the link up here.