Friday, January 15, 2021

Strawberry Cream Danish Pastries - With Quick Danish Pastry!



Strawberry Cream Danish Pastries - buttery, delicious, soft and quite flaky!

Danish pastries, often simply called Danish, are buttery and flaky with a yeasty flavor. Think sort of croissants with different sweet fillings. The method for the classic version involves making a yeast dough which is laminated with blocks of cold butter. A rather lengthy process with numerous steps (with great results am sure!). 

For those of us who don't feel up to the challenge here is a relatively easier method by Beatrice Ojakangas, the author of The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. I tried this recipe recently and was quite pleased with it. Since it is strawberry season, I filled them with strawberry pastry cream. You can simply use any kind of preserves or just make croissants with the dough. 

That's the beauty of these building blocks, you can play around a lot! Don't let the quantity of butter here stop you. This makes a largish quantity of pastry, so you can divide it into 4 parts and freeze it for later use.

Be sure the yeast you are using is active and good. Here is my video about yeast types and activating yeast. 

Recipe for Quick Danish Pastry. From the book Baking With Julia  

Weigh ingredients for best results always.
Details make a difference, pay attention to the small details, follow recipe instructions correctly. If making something like this the first time, please check the notes below. 


Warm water 60 ml / 1/4 cup

Instant Yeast 2 1/4 teaspoon

Milk, at room temperature - 120 ml / 1/2 cup

Egg - 1 / 50 grams without shell, at room temperature (read note)

Sugar - 50 grams / 1/4 cup

Salt 1 teaspoon

All-purpose flour / maida - 350 grams / 2.5 cups

Cold unsalted butter - 226 grams / 2 sticks, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices 


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water,yeast, milk, egg, sugar and salt. Set aside. 

2. Take the flour in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Drop in the butter. Pulse in very short spurts, 6 to 8 times, until butter is cut into 1/2 inch pieces, no smaller. Check after 5 pulses and then continue if necessary. You should see 1/2 inch pieces of butter in the flour. 

3. Empty the flour mixture into the yeast mixture. Using a silicon spatula, gently fold the two mixtures together just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Be gentle, the butter must remain in pieces so that you will produce a flaky pastry, not a bread dough or cookie. The dough will be quite soft but not really sticky or wet. If necessary add a bit of flour and mix gently, make sure the butter pieces remain intact.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or up to 4 days to suit your schedule).

4. Before you begin the rolling process, make sure you have enough space in the fridge to place the pastry. You will need lots of space on the counter (check the dimensions below), flour for rolling, a big rolling pin. Make sure there are no liquids on the counter. Have a large baking sheet ready to place the pastry in, a measuring tape.  You need to work in a cool kitchen to keep the butter from softening too quickly. If necessary, rub a cold ice pack on the counter. 

5. Lightly flour the work surface; turn dough out onto it, and dust dough with flour. Using the palms of your hands, pat dough into a rough square. Roll out to 16 inches on a side. 

Fold dough into thirds, like a business letter and turn it so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Roll out again, into a long narrow rectangle, about 10 inches wide by 24 inches long. 

Fold into thirds again. Roll out to make a 20-inch square. Fold square into thirds again to make a long, narrow rectangle. Then again, fold into thirds to make a square. (If at any point in this procedure the dough gets very soft, cover and chill it for 30 minutes or so.) 

Cover and chill the dough before final shaping. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for 4 days or wrap it air tight and keep it frozen for 1 month; thaw overnight, still wrapped, in the refrigerator.

I chilled the dough overnight. The next morning, I cut it into 4 equal parts, wrapped 3 of them individually in plastic wrap and put in the freezer. 

I rolled the remaining piece into a 10'' square and cut it into 6 squares. 

To shape the spandauers.

Place a pastry square on a parchment lined baking sheet with one of the points facing you. Put a teaspoon of the pastry cream in the center.

Brush a little of the beaten egg white on the left and right hand corners, fold the sides such that the points overlap.

Press down gently but firmly to seal, create a rectangular or square packet.

Cover  and let rise for 30-45 minutes or until puffy.

Bake at 200C for 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Let them cool slightly on a rack before you glaze.

To prepare the glaze, whisk together 1/2 cup icing sugar and a tablespoon milk. Be very careful when you add the milk or you will have to add more sugar to adjust the consistency. 

Using a spoon or piping bag, pipe the glaze on the pastries. Serve warm or at room temperature.  

For the strawberry pastry cream. 

Milk 120 ml / 1/2 cup

Cream 120 ml / 1/2 cup

Cornflour 1.5 tablespoons / 10 grams

Sugar 30 grams / 2 tablespoons

Egg yolk - 1 / 18 grams ( save the white for shaping the pastries)

Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon 

Strawberry puree  2-3 tablespoons 

In a flat bottomed bowl, whisk together the yolk and vanilla. 

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the milk, cream, sugar and cornflour ensuring there are no lumps.  Cook on medium heat, whisking until it thickens slightly.

Slowly, pour it into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. 

Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan, cook on low heat, whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and starts bubbling.

Push the pastry cream through a strainer, press cling wrap on the surface. Once it comes to room temperature, whisk in the strawberry puree.

This can be made ahead and chilled. You can store this for 3 days in the fridge. This makes a lovely dessert on its own, can be used as a filling for cakes and tarts etc. 


1. Weigh and cut the butter, chill several hours. The size of the pieces is important especially if using a food processor.  You want them to remain as 1/2 inch pieces after you cut it into the flour, helps make the pastry flaky. I made this first time using a food processor and felt I should have processed less than I have.  

2. If you do not have a food processor,  use a metal dough scraper to cut the cold butter into the flour.( as we do for pie crusts)

3. If at any point of time, the pastry becomes too soft or the butter starts oozing out, put it in the fridge until it firms up again before continuing the process 

4. I have used egg in the dough. You can try replacing it with cream (such as Amul), I haven't tried it, but should work well. Tell me if you try.  

5. I baked some scraps of the pastry and it was very crisp and flaky. Next time, I will use an almond filling or something less liquid. I guess the liquidy filling softens the pastry as it creates more steam. 

6. I will be making this again, and will post updates. 

7. To make the strawberry puree, take chopped berries and some sugar in a saucepan, cook until the berries are mushy. Mash or process in the mixer for  a smooth puree. Cool and use as needed. 

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Watch Beatrice making Danish Pastry here.

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