Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Basic danish pastry dough

The look of my pastries may be misleading, they aren't croissants but simple danish filled with fruit preserved. If you haven't tried your hand at making danish pastry, you still don't know how to make one after you read through this post... I mean, if I wanted to learn how to drive, I wouldn't go to some one's blog and expect picking up all the skill from his/her hundreds-word post, would I? But two things better than learning to drive. One, it can be self-taught (I can do it so can you!!!) Go get some well-written books, like Joy of Baking, and read the whole pastry's chapter, from the first through the last word! Second, it doesn't hurt you or anybody if you keep failing (aka practicing). It's not unusual for us trying a few times before we can get our cookies totally right; please be extra patient to these advanced pastries. For those who are already skillful in making danish pastries, Beatrice Ojakangas' quick version is what I fregrently stick with. If you have a chance to make it, I'd like to hear your feedback too :D

Recipe courtesy Beatrice Ojakangas's The Great Scandinavian Baking Book

Yield: 24 servings


  • 14 g active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour
  • 330 g chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 slices. Get the butter with best quality & taste!
  • 1/2 cup heavy/double cream
  • 2 pinches ground cardamom
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in cream, cardamom, salt, eggs and sugar
  • In a large mixing bowl, add flour and sliced butter, use a pastry blender to further cut the butter to the size of kidney beans
  • Add the yeast mixture into flour mixture, combine carefully with a big rubber spatula, the mass is just moistened enough and hold together. Cover, refrigerate 4 hours or overnight
  • To do this step, please ensure your room very cold: lightly flour the work table, turn out the chilled dough, pound and flatten to make a 16 - 20 inch square (photo upper left). Fold into thirds making 3 layers (upper right). Turn dough around and roll out again. Fold from the short sides into thirds. This should result in a perfect square (bottom left). Rest in refrigerator for half an hour, repeat folding and rolling one more time. Wrap and chill the dough 30 minutes or overnight before you proceed pastry making (bottom right)


Patricia Scarpin said...

Dear Gattina,

I hate disagreeing with you but I have to - with your clear text, great instructions and wonderful photos your readers can learn to make pastry dough - yes, they can!

I'm thinking of giving it a go next holiday here in SP, 2 days from now.

I'll keep you posted. ;D

Tks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

Anonymous said...

Oh my! Yes. They look like croissant. Thanks for the recipe! You trully are great. I'm curious about the taste of it with the cardamom.


Anonymous said...

Stunning! If the weather remains cool on the weekend I will give these a try!

Anonymous said...

I agree we can be self taught the best.

Through reading and the great reading one gets here is an experience.

I self taught myself, book keeping, business, debt collection, and a slew of other things along with cooking.

I also agree it is no big deal to make a mistake. Well...unless you do something deadly like mistake arsenic for flour..lol.

Great post gattina!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Great picture of the dough!
I've always said if you can read, you can cook. And with blogs like yours to read it sure does making self teaching a lot easier. Your words and pictures here have made it look really easy. But you are so right trying is what makes us get better and better. Failure in cooking (without the arsenic at least) is never fatal!
Great job...these are beautiful.

Brilynn said...

You're setting the bar pretty high, I'm pretty certain my pastry attempts will fail miserably, but that doesn't mean I won't give it a try.

Lis said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting the pictures of the folding.. OMG.

I'm making croissants this weekend *gulp* and I wondered how the dough would look when folded - also I didn't expect the butter to be so noticeable - I'm so happy you showed us because I probably would have tried to incorporate the butter into the dough too much.

You rock, Gattina!

FH said...

Looks fabulous Gattina.I love Danish,never dared to make it at home!:))Thank you for this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gattina,

I've been reading your food blog for almost a month now. Thank you for your recipes and tips, you're an inspiration. Just got my Kitchen Aid mixer yesterday and I can't wait to try these recipes and give you feedback.

Anh said...

Gattina, thanks for the advice... I know Danish pastry is hard, but your post is such an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

The photo is totally deceiving because I really thought they were croissants, but no matter what name they have Gattina, I think that they simply look gorgeous! You are the queen of these pastries!

Anonymous said...

Your pastry looks amazing...absolutely amazing! I am so impressed!

Gattina Cheung said...

Pat, oh you're so sweet! And enjoy your holiday!

Mae, pinches of cardamom gives an undertone but great flavor to the dough. You can skip it if you don't care :D

Ellie, definitely it's easier to make it during cold days.

Coffeepot, you're just amasing! Self-taught isn't that popular in our Chinese culture (from my observation), but I start seeing more benefits of it!

Tanna, thanks! You and coffepot made me chuckle :D How true, if you can read (carefully :D), you can cook.

Brilynn, you go girl! As I said, if I can do it, so can you!

Lis, oh baby, it's not croissants, they're danish. And the preparation isn't the traditional way that you're going to do (big slab of butter wrapped by dough) for this weekend. So please don't use my photos as your guideline :D Have fun on making crossiant Lis! It's a good time to have buttery pastry with hot coffee in such a cold day!

Asha, if you're an accomplish pie/bread maker, you shouldn't have much problem in dealing with this pastry. Thanks for your kind words my friend!

hi anonymous, thank you for visiting! I'm glad you see some recipes you like :D

Anh, no worry about hard or easy, we have nothing to lose right :D If you haven't ever tried, wait until the (very) cold days come and do it, that helps for sure!

Bea, oh I'm flattered. I haven't made crossiants for a looooooong time, I'd probably like to pick it up again :D

Gattina Cheung said...

Kristen, really thanks for your encouragement!

Pooja said...

this looks so crispy and nice in color. :) . i love ti . you are really great with cooking . I have so many things to learn from you .
thanks for sharing your wonderful way of making danish pastry dough. pictures are nice too. :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pastry and perfect advice. My mom made Danish pastry and she did just as you wrote--she practised almost every day, making the pastry. Then we would eat the "rejects" (which were pretty darn good). In a few weeks she was turning out magnificent pastries.

That picture of the finished pastry is perfect, I can almost smell and taste it!

Krithika said...

so golden !! love that color. I agree with bea you are the queen of pastries

Anonymous said...

Came across your blog while searching for some baking recipes. You have a very lovely blog

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your danish pastry recipe. I made danishes for a baby shower recipe and they were lovely!

Anonymous said...

thank you so much. I'm curious though, would you be able to post a video of the rolling process? That would be very helpful. thank you

Anonymous said...

What a perfect pastas I gonna try this.