The principles of making Danish pastry are the same as for croissant dough. The only real difference is that Danish dough is sweeter and richer. It is a wonderfully versatile dough. We recommend making this quantity of dough because the process is time-consuming, the dough turns out better, and any extra can be frozen for future use.
2 cups milk
2 packages (½ ounce) active dry yeast
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
7 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Warm the milk to 110°. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let it dissolve for 5 minutes, then whisk to fully dissolve. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk just until mixed.
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Using your fingertips and palms, rub 3 tablespoons of the butter into the flour mixture, rubbing just until the butter is no longer visible in the flour.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Knead the dough on a floured work surface just until smooth; there should be no dry spots left. Be careful not to over-knead. The dough should be slightly wet.
Lightly flour a baking sheet. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet and shape it into a rough rectangle. Dust the top with flour and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Transfer the dough from the baking sheet to the lightly floured work surface, and roll out into a 26 × 13 × ⅜-inch rectangle. Brush off any excess flour. Position the rectangle so that one of the short sides is closest to you.
The butter should be soft enough to spread, but not so soft that it has started to melt. By hand, smear the butter evenly over the lower two-thirds of the dough, leaving a ½-inch un-buttered border around side and bottom edges.
Fold the upper third of the dough toward the center of the rectangle, then fold the lowest third over that.
With your fingers, crimp the short edges and the seam on top to seal in the butter. Turn the dough so that the long, crimped edge is on your right.
With one of the short sides closest to you, gently roll the dough out into a 21 × 13 × ⅜-inch rectangle, using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface and rolling-pin. Brush off the excess flour. Fold the top third of the dough toward the middle, then the lower third up over that. Place on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Repeat this process three more times, refrigerating the dough for 30 minutes between each turn.
After all of the turns are complete, let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours (overnight is best) before using as directed. At this point, the dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Freeze on a baking sheet, well sealed with plastic wrap.
I used Solo Fillings, using the Almond filling & Raspberry fillings. I made a homemade Apricot filling, from Baking with Julia
. A quick, easy to make filling.
1 Cup (packed) dried apricots
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. Pure Almond Extract
Stir the apricots, water and sugar together in a large microwave safe bowl or a 1 quart glass measuring cup. Put the bowl in a microwave oven set to full power and cook, stirring a few times, for 10 minutes, or until the apricots are soft and puffed and have absorbed almost all of the liquid. Turn the mixture into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth, scraping the bowl as needed. Transfer the puree to a bowl, add the lemon juice and almond extract and stir to mix. Scrape the filling into a small container and cool to room temperature. Seal the container and chill. The filling will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Water
1 Tbsp. Corn Syrup
In a heavy saucepan, bring all of the ingredients to a rapid boil. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
2-3 Tbsp. Water
Whisk ingredients together until completely smooth. If too thick, add 1 tsp. water at a time until it is still white, but liquid enough to drizzle off of a fork onto the pastries.
3/4 Cup Flour
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Very Cold Butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Combine all dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter, and pulse several times until mixture is crumbly.
I made my Danish into The Classic Sweet Roll (See this great post from Joe Pastry for Danish Directions
). After rolling them into Classic Sweet Rolls, I let the dough sit for 2 hours. I then made an indent with my hands, pressing down in the center, making a hole to add the fillings. You can use whatever fillings you might like. I used the almond and raspberry fillings on some, just raspberry for a few more, and an almond and apricot filling for another. After filling with the desired fillings, and sprinkling with streusel, (I’m a streusel fanatic, love the stuff, plus it tastes fantastic on them), make an egg wash of 1 egg and 2 Tbsp. Milk, whisking slightly with a fork to mix together, and then using a pastry brush, brush with egg wash. (Just kinda brush around the fillings and streusel). Set in a preheated 350 degree oven on the center rack and bake for 15 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.
When pastry comes out of the oven, brush with the clear glaze. Set aside to cool. Drizzle with the Sugar glaze before serving.