Danish pastries

There's something therapeutic about making your own puff pastry. The process of rolling, buttering and folding is important to create light flaky layers in the pastry and at the end you get to eat delicious Danish pastries.



1.Whisk warm milk, sugar and yeast in medium jug until yeast dissolves, cover, stand in warm place about 15 minutes or until mixture is frothy. Stir melted butter and egg into yeast mixture. Sift flour and salt into large bowl, stir in yeast mixture, mix to a soft dough. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth. (Dough should be sticky.) Place dough in oiled large bowl, turning dough once to coat in oil. Cover with plastic wrap, stand at room temperature 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight.
2.Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
3.Roll dough into 25cm x 40cm rectangle, keeping corners square. Cut butter into small pieces, scatter half of the butter over two-thirds of the dough.
4.Fold unbuttered section of dough over half of the buttered dough, fold remaining buttered section over it. With seam facing right, roll dough to form 25cm x 40cm rectangle again, fold one third of the dough onto centre third, fold remaining third on top. Enclose with plastic wrap, refrigerate 30 minutes.
5.Unwrap dough, with seam facing right, and repeat with remaining butter.
6.Meanwhile, make the creme patissiere, whisk egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in medium bowl until light and fluffy. Combine milk and cream in medium saucepan. Split vanilla bean in half lengthways, scrape seeds into saucepan, then add pod. Bring mixture almost to a boil, discard pod. Whisking constantly, gradually pour milk mixture into egg mixture; return custard mixture to same saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens, remove from heat. Return to same cleaned medium bowl with butter; stir until butter melts. Cover surface of creme patisserie completely with plastic wrap to avoid skin forming, cool to room temperature. Creme patisserie can be made a day ahead.
7.Preheat oven to hot. Divide dough in half, roll each half into 30cm x 40cm rectangle. Cut each rectangle into 10cm squares, you will have 24 squares.
8.Centre 1 heaped teaspoon of the cold creme patissiere on each square, top each with one plum half. Brush dough around plum with combined extra egg and milk, bring opposite corners together, pinch gently. Place pastries 5cm apart on ungreased oven trays, brush dough again with egg mixture. Bake, uncovered, in hot oven about 12 minutes or until browned lightly.
9.Meanwhile, combine the water and jam in small saucepan, stirring, over low heat until smooth, push jam mixture through sieve into small bowl. Brush pastries straight from the oven with jam mixture, transfer to wire rack to cool.

tips Canned drained apricot halves or seeded cherries can be used instead of plums, if desired. Pastry can be frozen (wrapped in plastic wrap) for up to 3 weeks. Thaw, covered, at room temperature for 2 hours before rolling out.


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