My sister-in-law and I made Homemade Toaster Strudel the other day (Sorry no pictures. We split them and they didn’t make the day, let alone make it for pictures, next time I promise). I had made the Danish dough, but it wasn’t ready to be rolled out at the time we were making the strudel.) Today, I decided to make these Danish Pastry Slices. The recipe is from the book, Baking with Julia, and they don’t disappoint! Delicious!
Danish Pastry Dough:
Makes 2 pounds dough
1/2 Cup Warm Water (105 to 115 Degrees F.)
2 1/2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup Milk, at room temperature
1 Large Egg, at room temperature
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
2 1/2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2 Sticks (8 ounces) Cold Unsalted Butter
Pour the water into a large bowl, sprinkle over the yeast, and let if soften for a minute. Add the milk, egg, sugar; and salt and whisk to mix; set aside.
Put the flour in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Cut the butter into 1/4 inch thick slices and drop them onto the flour. Pulse 8 to 10 times until the butter is cut into pieces that are about 1/2 inch in diameter. Don’t overdo this – the pieces must not be smaller than 1/2 inch.
Empty the contents of the food processor into the bowl with the yeast and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently turn the mixture over, scraping the bowl as needed, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Again, don’t be too rough – the butter must remain in discrete pieces so that you will produce a flaky pastry, not a bread or cookie dough.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight (or up to 4 days). Lightly flour a work surface, turn the dough out onto it and dust the dough lightly with flour. Using the palm of your hands, pat the dough into a rough square. Roll it into a square about 16 inches on a side. Fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter, and turn it so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. (If at any time the dough gets too soft to roll, just cover it with plastic wrap and pop it into the refrigerator to chill.)
Roll the dough out again, this time into a long narrow rectangle, about 10 inches wide by 24 inches long. Fold the rectangle in thirds again, turn it so the fold is to your left, and roll it out into a 20 inch square. Fold the square in thirds, like a business letter, so that you have a rectangle, turning it so that the closed fold is to your left, and once more, roll the dough into a long narrow rectangle, 10 inches wide by 24 inches long. Fold in thirds again, wrap the dough well in plastic, and chill if for at least 30 minutes, or for as long as 2 days.
The dough is now ready to be shaped, filled and baked.
The dough can be kept covered in the refrigerator for 4 days or wrapped airtight and frozen for 1 month; thaw overnight, still wrapped, in the refrigerator.
1 Recipe Danish Pastry Dough, Chilled
1 Cup Confectioner’s Cream or Almond Filling (I used the Almond Filling
1/2 Cup Apricot, Prune, or Fresh Berry Jam Filling (I used a Raspberry filling)
1 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted, for glaze
3 to 4 tsp. Milk, for glaze
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Working on a lightly floured work surface, roll and chill dough into a rectangle,, 1o inches wide by 24 inches long. Using a knife or pastry wheel, cut the dough crosswise to make two strips, each 10 inches by 12 inches.
Spread the cream or almond filling down the center of each piece of dough, leaving a 2 inch border along each of the long sides. Spread the fruit filling over the layer of cream or almond filling. Carefully lift the bare edges of each pastry with your fingers and fold them over the filling, leaving about 1 inch of the filling peeking out down the center. Press the edges down gently over the filling
Carefully lift the pastries onto the parchment lined baking sheet (two wide spatulas work well here)and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow the pastries to rise at room temperature for about 30 minutes, until they look and feel puffy; they will not double.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the pastries for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. Transfer the pastries to a rack to cool sightly while you make the glaze.
Stir the sugar and enough of the milk together to produce a shiny glaze that falls easily from the tip of a spoon. Drizzle the glaze over the pastries. Allow the glaze to set a few minutes before cutting the pastries into slices, each about 1 1/2 inches wide.
You can keep the pastries covered at room temperature for a few hours, but they should be served the same day they’re made.
1 cup Blanched Almonds, toasted
1/2 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. Pure Almond Extract
1 Large Egg White, lightly beaten
Put the almonds, sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the metal blade. Process until the almonds are finely ground, stopping to scrape the bowl as needed. Add the almond extract and 2 Tablespoons of the beaten egg white and process to mix. Pack the filling into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until needed. Bring to room temperature before using. The filling can be made up to a week ahead and kept chilled.
Makes 1 cup