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I don’t know if you saw my second attempt at croissants  that I posted a couple of weeks ago, but that flaky, crunchy consistency turned out just right. Which was quite a victory after my pitiful first attempt at this French classic. What I also mentioned in my post was that croissants take a lot of time to make. Two full days, to be exact. This Danish pastry isn’t quite as bad, but it is definitely a labour of love that comes with the same principle as croissants: fold, fold, fold and then fold again. You need to get this just right in order to achieve those crispy, buttery layers that make really good pastries so crunchy. But even though it takes a day from morning till night, biting into one of these Danish pastries and the rich custard topping is absolutely worth it.
250 grams or 8.8 oz. of butter (butter slab)
15 grams or 0.5 oz. of fresh yeast
1 dl or 0.4 cup of whole milk
210 grams or 7.4 oz. of wheat flour
30 grams or 1 oz. of FiberFin
10 grams or 0.35 oz. of Tagatesse
10 grams or 0.35 oz. of butter (room temperature)
55 grams or 1.9 oz. of eggs
45 grams or 1.6 oz. of egg yolk
35 grams or 1.2 oz. of Tagatesse
20 grams or 0.7 oz. of corn starch
190 grams or 6.7 oz. of whole milk
3 teaspoons of vanilla essence
15 grams or 0.5 oz. of butter
pecans for topping
maple syrup for topping
In the oven: 200° Celsius/400° Fahrenheit/Gas 6
Start by preparing the butter slab. Soften the large quantity of butter and get a plastic bag out. The butter slab needs to be 15 cm x 17 cm / 6” x 6.7”. Once the butter is soft, place it into the plastic bag and use a rolling pin to roll it even to the proper size. Place in the fridge to harden.
Crumble the fresh yeast into your mixing bowl and mix it together with the whole milk using a whisk. Once the yeast has dissolved, add the wheat flour, FiberFin, Tagatesse, butter and eggs. Mix this at low speed for 3 minutes using a dough hook and then at medium speed for 2-3 minutes until the dough is nice and supple.
Shape the pastry dough into a rectangle, cover it in plastic foil and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Place the pastry dough in the fridge and get the butter out. In order to make the rolling out and folding process as easy as possible it’s very important that the butter slab and pastry dough have the same hardness. Cut the plastic sides and top cover of the butter slab off using a sharp knife and place it plastic side down on a chopping board.
Once the butter is soft enough, get the pastry dough out of the fridge. Sprinkle a good amount of flour onto your work surface and roll the dough out to a rectangle that’s 17 cm x 34 cm / 6,7” x 13.4” in size. Place the butter slab atop the bottom half of the pastry dough and fold the top half over the butter.
Now you’re going to do what’s called a single turn. Turn the pastry dough so that the opening with the butter slab is facing away from you. Using your rolling pin, gently push down at the dough from top to bottom and then roll it from the middle out to a rectangle that’s 17 cm x 34 cm / 6,7” x 13.4” in size. Fold the bottom third of the rectangle over the middle third. Finally, fold the top third over the two.
Place the dough on a plate, cover with plastic foil, and place in the fridge for 40 minutes.
Now comes the double turn. Get the dough out of the fridge and roll it out to a rectangle that’s 40 cm x 20 cm / 15.7” x 7.9” in size. Fold the bottom of the dough up over 2/3 of the rectangle, then fold the top 1/3 over the remaining dough and push the seam together. Finally, fold this in two, like a book. The dough may crack a little while you do these turns, but that’s fine. Just sprinkle some flour over and under it if it gets stuck anywhere.
Place the dough on your plate again, cover it with plastic foil, and place it in the fridge for another 40 minutes.
Finally, we do a single turn again. Roll the dough out to a rectangle that’s 17 cm x 34 cm / 6,7” x 13.4” in size. Fold the bottom third of the rectangle over the middle third and then fold the top third over the two.
Okay! That’s the folding done 🙂 Place the dough on your plate, cover it with plastic foil, and place it in the fridge for cooling.
In the meantime, make the custard. Mix egg yolks, Tagatesse and corn starch using a whisk or hand mixer to a thick, airy consistency. Pour the milk and vanilla essence into a non-stick saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring.
Pour the milk mixture slowly over the egg yolk mixture while stirring vigorously. Pour this back into the saucepan and thicken over low heat, while stirring continuously. The custard needs to be really thick not to seep out during baking, so make sure you reduce it as much as possible. If it curdles a little that’s fine; it won’t affect the end result.
Place the custard in a bowl, stir in the butter and cool it in the fridge while you make the Danish pastries.
Get the pastry dough out of the fridge and roll it to a square 32 cm x 32 cm / 12.6” x 12.6” in size. The edges may be a bit dry and cracked. If so, use a sharp knife to cut them off. Now, cut out squares approximately 8 cm x 8 cm / 3” x 3” in size.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Fold in the corners to the middle of the squares and push them gently down. You can always use some of the discarded dough as ‘glue’. Place the Danish pastry onto the baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise at room temperature for at least 90 minutes.
≈ Preheat your oven to 200° Celsius/400° Fahrenheit/Gas 6 now ≈
Spoon the custard into a piping bag fitted with a tip and pipe out a generous amount onto the middle of each Danish pastry square. Place them in the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes. The pastries are done when they’re golden brown. Don’t worry too much if a bit of butter seeps out during baking.
Cool the Danish pastry on a baking grill, then top with pecans and maple syrup. Now, sit down, and bite into this crunchy, delicious treat – you’ve certainly earned it!