Friday, January 08, 2016

Wienerbröd (Danishes)



Flaky, buttery, vanilla-creme goodness is a great way to start off the new year, if you ask me. Danishes, or Wienerbröd as we Swedes call them, is a popular pastry on the fika table. We used to get them all the time growing up, and to this day it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling whenever I have one. 

This wonderful recipe makes danishes that are airy and flaky on the outside, while rich and buttery on the inside, just like the ones you would get from a bakery. You can use different fillings, such as chocolate, raspberry, strawberry or blueberry jam, or you can go Swedish style and stick to the vanilla custard. Either way, it's delicious. 




Look at all those beautiful layers of puff pastry! It comes from folding and rolling out the dough several times. This was the first time I made my own puff pastry dough, and even though it's time consuming, it's not hard. It uses only a handful of ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. So, as long as you follow the steps and make sure that all of the ingredients and the rolling pin are chilled, you'll be fine. If there is one thing I struggled with, it was making the danishes look pretty. They kind of want to do their own thing!






Here's an easy step-by-step tutorial for you, so you can enjoy this lovely pastry, too! Happy baking!




Wienerbröd
from Hembakat

Makes 18 danishes

50 g fresh yeast
250 ml milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
480 - 600 g flour
400 g butter

Icing
200 g icing sugar
milk (as little as needed to create a slowly running consistency) 


(For the vanilla custard/crème anglaise recipe, see this post.)


Directions:

1. Make sure all of your ingredients are cold (I'm talking flour, sugar, everything!). I put mine in the fridge the morning of baking. Oh, and per other bakers' advice, I even put the rolling pin and baking sheets in there. 

2. Now for the dough: crumb the fresh yeast into a bowl. Add the egg, sugar, salt, and flour, a little bit at a time. The recipe calls for between 480 g to 600 g flour, but I ended up using the lower amount. Quickly form it into dough, then let it rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.



3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into the shape of a rectangle, about 12 x 16 inches in size.
Cut the butter into thin slices, and arrange them on one-half of the dough. Leave about 1 inch on each side and fold the edges over the butter.




Fold the other half of the dough over the buttered side, and pinch the edges together.




4. Turn the dough 90 degrees, so that the folded edge is towards you. Gently roll out the dough to a rectangle again, to about 3/4 of an inch in thickness.




5. Fold the dough in three parts (like you would with a business letter), and turn it so that the folded edge is towards you. Once again, roll the dough into a rectangle and fold it in three parts. Repeat this procedure two more times, then put it in cling wrap and let rest in the fridge for 15  minutes.




5. Remove from the fridge and roll out the dough into a rectangle, a little less than 1/2 inch in thickness. Cut it into 1/2 inch wide strips.




Twist the strips and shape them into the shape of the number eight.




Put them on a baking sheet, that has been lined with parchment paper. Let rise covered with a kitchen towel for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 435 degrees.




6. Put some vanilla custard in the two holes of the shape. I prefer using a decorating bag, but you can also use a zip lock bag that you cut a small hole in. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the oven, and let cool on baking racks.




7. For the icing, mix icing sugar with milk and swirl over the danishes, again using a decorating bag or a zip lock bag.




Give it a few more minutes to set, and then, enjoy!



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