Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins
Perfect Danish pastry is so flaky and buttery that it melts in your mouth. And, it's the very best when it is hot out of the oven. Even though this is a short-cut method for making the pastry, the results are as close to perfection as one can find, except in Denmark, where Danish pastry is called "Vienna bread." Don't be intimidated with the idea of making your own pasty; the simple mixing method is similar to that of making a pie crust, the difference being the addition of yeast. I like to do as much as I can with the help of a food processor. Once mixed, the dough is chilled and becomes quite easy to handle. You can make the dough a day or two before you plan to bake.
FOR THE DANISH PASTRY
- 5 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1⁄2 cup warm water (about 105 to 115 F.)
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
- 1 large egg white
- pearl sugar or coarsely crushed sugar cubes or sugar
- almonds (sliced or chopped, for topping)
- 6 cups tart apples, sliced cored Granny Smith apples or 6 cups pippin apples
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- 1 1⁄2 cups golden raisins
- 1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 -2 tablespoon whipping cream
- 1⁄2 cup chopped almonds
- 8 ounces almond paste
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped blanched almond
- 1⁄2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 large egg white
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- FOR THE DANISH PASTRY: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add a pinch of sugar and let stand 5 minutes, until the yeast foams. Stir in the remaining sugar, the egg yolks, and whipping cream, then set aside.
- In a large bowl or in the work bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the butter until pieces are the size of kidney beans.
- Turn the flour-butter mixture into the bowl with the liquid ingredients. Fold together just until dry ingredients are moistened throughout. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.
- Prepare the filling of your choice (below).
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and dust with flour. Using a rolling pin, pound the dough until it is smooth and about 3/4 inch thick.
- Roll out to a 24-inch square. Fold the dough into thirds to make a long, narrow strip. Cut lengthwise into two parts.
- Working with one part at a time, roll the dough into a rectangle, about 24 by 6 by 1/4 inch.
- Spread half the filling in a 2-inch strip down the length of each dough strip.
- Brush the uncovered edges with egg white and fold over to seal in the filling, making a filled roll 24 inches long and about 3 inches wide.
- Brush the outside of the roll with egg white and press the sugar and sliced almonds on all sides. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Cut filled rolls into 12-inch lengths.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet or cover with parchment paper. Place the rolls on the baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes; they will not double.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from the baking sheet onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.
- Makes four 12-inch-long pastries.
- FOR THE APPLE-ALMOND FILLING: In a large bowl, mix the apples, sugar, almonds, and cinnamon.
- FOR THE RAISIN ALMOND FILLING: In a small saucepan bring the water to a boil over medium high heat and add the raisins. Remove from the heat and let stand 5 minutes; DRAIN.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter until soft, then add cardamom, confectioners' sugar, and enough cream to make a smooth, spreadable mixture. Mix in the raisins and almonds.
- FOR THE MARZIPAN FILLING: Crumble the almond paste into a mixing bowl and blend in the almonds, confectioners' sugar, egg white, and almond extract until well mixed. You can do this quickly in the food processor.