I never realised just how fabulous Danish Pastries could be until I made a batch of these.
I brought 24 of these to our last craft night – with a mere 30 shortbread biscuits. I came home with nothing! Given the choice between one unhappy husband against 33 well-fed crafty ladies and I’m afraid there was no real contest!
These are simply spectacular.
I’ve made a few batches and tweaked Paul Hollywood’s receipe so it worked better for me – but I’ve included his original notes below and just mentioned where I did it differently. The main change is that I made them smaller – which better suited eating them in the evening!
The same health warning here as for the Almond Pastries – you have to make the pastry the evening before you want these, so don’t start off hungry!
Danish Pastries/ Pain Aux Raisins (Makes 24 (or 30 smaller ones)
1 x quantity Danish Pastry Dough – see here
Flour for dusting
1 x quantity Crème Pâtissière – see below
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium eggs
a glaze – which can be 150g apricot or (as I use) a tablespoon of sugar dissolved in about 4 tbsp water which is brought to the boil for just a moment and taken off the heat
(Optional) lemon drizzle icing: 200g icing sugar, 2 tbsp cold water, finely grated zest of a lemon.
First, make up the Crème Pâtissière:
The first time I followed the receipt exactly and used all the Crème It was all very tasty but some of the filling did ooze out the sides of the roll and this made it hard for the pastries to stick as they rose. Most recently I made smaller versions of the pastries and used only half the amount of the Creme and they were way nicer. I ended up having to bin the rest of the Crème – for fear I’d start smearing it on everything to be honest! I’ve given the original version but if you want to go with less, as I do, just make up half the batch.
100g caster sugar
4 medium egg yolks
500ml full-fat milk
2 vanilla pods
1. Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour together until smooth. Set aside.
2. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed pan and add the vanilla pods, split lengthwise and with the seeds scrapped out. Bring to the boil.Take off the heat immediately.
3. Pour about quarter of the hot milk onto the egg mixture and whisk until smooth with no lumps. Add this mixture to the remaining milk in the pan. Cook over a gently hear, stirring constantly. When the mixture begins to thicken remove from the heat immediately.
4. Pass the mixture through a seive into a bowl. Add the butter and stir to melt. Cover the top of the mixture with baking parchment to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside to cool and chill before using.
Then, taking your dough from the fridge make up the Danish Pastries as follows:
1. Line 3 or 4 baking trays with baking / silicone paper.
2. Cut the dough in half (or in three smaller pastries). On a lightly floured surface roll out to a large flat rectangular shape c.7mm thick. I found it really handy to do this on a large chopping board as it meant I could rotate the board around if the rolling got tricky.
3. With the long edge facing you, spread the Crème Pâtissière across three-quarters to two-thirds of the pastry – stopping way before the edge! Beware! It oozes as you roll so do stop before the edge!
4. Sprinkle half (a third) the raisins and cinnamon evenly across the Crème Pâtissière.
5. Turn the pastry so the long edge of the ‘bare’ part is closest to you. Start rolling the pastry from the other side making sure to keep it tight and pressing down as you need to. Don’t be afraid to give the pastry a small tug – its fairly stretchy.
When you are finished press the edges gently, and if you can roll the ‘sausage’ of dough to seal the edges.
6. Taking a sharp knife, cut the rolls into slices, c. 3cm thick.
7. Lay the slices cut side up and apart, on the lined baking trays.Cover the trays in plastic bags and set aside to rise, at room temperature, for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.
8. Repeat for the other one (two) pieces of dough.
9. Heat the oven to 200C. Brush the risen pastries with beaten egg. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown.
10. While the pastries are baking make either a jam or sugar glaze. For a jam glaze, mixing the apricot jam with a little water in a pan to dissolve and sieve before using. For the sugar glaze, dissolve c. 1 tbsp sugar in 4 tbsp water and bring to the boil for a moment making sure not to let it burn. As pastries as removed from the oven brush them with a little of your glaze and place on a wire rack to cool.
11. When cooled, drizzle with the lemon icing, if using.
And the best bit… once they are cool, wrap any leftovers individually in tin foil and freeze. Defrost overnight at room temperature and reheat for about 4 minutes in a 180C oven. Delish!