I was genuinely intimidated by the thought of making Danish pastry from scratch. So much so that it knocked my Great British Bake-off cook-a-long right on the head.
But one of the things children excel at is reminding you of those promises you’d just as soon forget, and there was no way I was getting out of this one.
So one afternoon, I gathered my courage and tackled Paul Hollywood’s recipe for Danish pastry. Although time consuming, it wasn’t that tricky. Turns out chilled butter is quite amenable to being rolled into thin sheets and folded.
I let my finished dough rest in the fridge overnight before shaping into pastries in the morning, which worked really well. I tossed together a couple of fillings, shaped and filled my pinwheels and swirls, and left them to rise while the oven heated.
Within half an hour, we were breakfasting on the most fresh, delicious pastries I’ve eaten in ages. While Danish pastries aren’t something I’ll make regularly, they were definitely worth the effort… and the wait.
For the dough:
- 500g white bread flour
- 10g salt
- 80g caster sugar
- 10g instant yeast
- 2 medium eggs
- 90ml cool water
- 125ml tepid full-fat milk
- 250g unsalted butter, chilled
For 18 pecan pinwheels:
- 85g pecans
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 1 Tb maple syrup
- 25g butter, softened
- granulated brown sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
For 18 currant swirls:
- 50g currants
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 50g butter, softened
- 1 egg, beaten (for glazing)
- Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the eggs, water and milk and add to the dry ingredients, stirring until it forms a ball.
- Turn the ball onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is firm and elastic. Dust with flour, wrap in clingfilm and chill it in the fridge for at least an hour.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 50cm by 20cm rectangle, about 1cm thick.
- Place a block of chilled butter between two large sheets of clingfilm. Flatten it out to a 24cm by 19cm rectangle and place at the one end of the dough.
- Fold the dough in half so the butter is completely covered. Pinch the edges to seal in the butter, turn the dough by 90°, and fold into thirds. Wrap and chill for an hour.
- Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface with the short end towards you. Roll the dough out to a 50cm by 20cm rectangle, and fold into thirds. Chill for an hour.
- Repeat the rolling and folding into thirds at least twice more, chilling the dough in between, then leave to rest for several hours or overnight.
- Prepare the filling(s).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Cut the rested dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll a piece of dough into a 35xm by 35cm square.
- To make pecan pinwheels, cut the dough into nine equal squares. Place a spoonful of filling in the centre, and make a cut from each corner almost to the centre. Fold each point over and press into the middle. Place a baking sheet lined with parchment, and leave to rest for half an hour. Before baking, brush with beaten egg.
- To make cinnamon swirls, spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough. Roll tightly lengthwise, and cut into nine equal pieces. Place a baking sheet lined with parchment and leave to rest for half an hour. Before baking, brush with beaten egg.