Before you begin to attempt to make danish pastry, i would suggest that you watch this video http://pbs-juliachild.onstreammedia.com/cgi-bin/visearch?user=pbs-juliachild&template=template.html&query=danish+pastries&category=0&ingredients=0&chef=0&project=0&viKeyword=danish+pastries
Thank you Beatrice for sharing such a lovely pastry and Cafe of the East for a wonderful write-up on danish pastries as usual and sharing step by step pictures.
It was so rewarding to make and i had to share my experience.
This refrigerator pastry needs to chill overnight
3/4 cup milk
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 sticks (1/2 pound) cold unsalted butter
egg white for brushing on pastry before sealing
1 beatened egg yolk plus 1 tbsp water for glazing before baking
Powdered sugar icing glaze :
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons hot coffee or water)
FOR THE PASTRY
In a large bowl, combine the milk, egg, sugar and yeast; stir to dissolve
Measure the flour into the work bowl of a food processor with the steel blade in place.
Add in the salt.
Slice the butter in half, then cut into 1/2 inch slices and add into the flour.
Then using pulse button of the food processor, cut the butter into the flour until it is in pea-sized pieces. This takes about 8 pulses.
Turn into a large bowl.
Pour the liquid mixture over and fold the two mixtures together just until the flour is moistened.
Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Lightly flour a work surface.
Scrape the bottom of bowl to loosen the dough from the bowl and dust lightly with flour the top of dough, then turn dough out onto floured work surface.
Dust the dough lightly with flour and shape the dough into a rough square with your hands.
Roll out to make a square about 16 inches on each side.(Roll from center of dough to the top, center to the bottom and then center to the sides - making a rectangle of 16 inches)
Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter.
Roll lightly to flatten the dough and fold it again into thirds, closing the ends (the dough will now be in a square).
Wrap the dough and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Roll again into a 16-inch square
Fold into thirds again, business letter style.
Roll out a second time to make a long, narrow rectangle and fold up again in thirds to make a square.
Cut the dough in half and chill again (to work on it later),
Roll out to make a square 20 inches x 10 inch.
Cut into eight 5-inch squares from one half.
Place a pastry square on the work surface.
Spoon a tablespoon of the filling onto the center. (apricot almond recipe is at bottom of page)
Brush the uncovered edges with egg white and lift the four corners of the pastry off the counter and seal in the center of the square. Squeeze the corners together to give them a little pinch and a twist to create a small topknot.
Place on a parchment-covered or silpat lined baking sheet.
Pastry can be shaped into Pin wheels/Spandauer. Techniques for folding pastry dough and shaping - See http://cafeoftheeast.blogspot.com/2007/09/danish-pastry.html .
Preheat the oven to 400*F. (375*F. for convection oven).
Let the pastries rise, covered with a kitchen towel for 30 minutes until they look puffy (they will not double).
Brush the pastries with beaten egg white and sprinkle with pearl sugar(if available) or sliced almonds.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.
Transfer onto a cooling rack and drizzle with powdered sugar icing glaze if desired.
Makes 16 pastries
1 cup (packed) dried apricots
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup toasted, chopped almonds
Stir the apricots, water and sugar together in a large microwave-safe bowl or a 4-quart glass measuring cup.
Put the bowl in a microwave oven and cook at full power for 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until apricots are soft and puffed and have absorbed almost all of the liquid.
Turn the mixture into the work bowl of a food processor with the steel blade in place and process until smooth.
Stir in the lemon juice, almond extract and the almonds.
Cool before using.
Can refrigerate up to 2 weeks .