The Red Folder

cropped-p1110784.jpgRed Folder recipe – Almond Danish

Breakfast Baked Goods – how very dare you, my name is Danish, and I am the king of pastry.

Yes, you too can make Danish Pastry without the dreary butter layers that need rolling and turning and putting in a bag with refrigeration after each roll. This is so fantastically easy and makes such a professional pastry, people do not believe I have just made them.  You do need a food processor and have to start the day before, but I just make the mix quickly after dinner is over with. When the children know I am making them, they fist pump and are happy to do the dishes, while I perform the magic!  It really is no trouble, there is a rise time of an hour and a half, all good things come to those that wait.

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Half eaten, you can see the light pastry and the soft almond filling.

The pastry can be held in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen, so you could go that way.  Christmas morning, I will be sinking into one of these with a good strong cup of coffee.  My moment of Europe before the madness begins.  Nigella Lawson shared this after finding it originally in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking with Julia.  Psst Pass it on.  This mix will make 12 large portions of pastry.

TIP  I actually make three batches of this when the mood takes me and freeze five portions of the pastry. You have to make one lot of mess so make the most of it, is my motto.  I put the gooey mess stage into three plastic bags rather than bowls; saves on washing up and fridge space.

  • 60ml warm water
  • 125ml milk, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 350g white bread flour I use high grade do not panic
  • 7g of easy blend yeast or 15g fresh yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 250g cold unsalted butter – cut into ½cm slices
  1. Set aside a large bowl. Pour the water and milk into a measuring jug and add the egg, beating with a fork to mix.
  2. Put the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the processor and pulse to mix.  Add the cold slices of butter and again pulse until the butter is roughly mixed and cut up a little more.  Do not overmix, you still want the lumps of butter, that’s what makes the pastry Danish.
  3. Tip this mixture into the large bowl that you have set aside and add the milk, water, and egg mix.  Combine quickly with your hands or a spatula, you should fold here.  The idea is to combine, not mix, so you will be looking at a gooey mess with butter sticking out of it and feeling that you do not trust that this is going to work!  It will. Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge overnight.  It can stay like this for up to four days.
  4. When you are ready to roll, take the mix out and allow the chill to come off it. Do not allow it to get over warm.  If this happens put it back in the fridge for a bit.  Tip it onto a very  floured surface and have the courage to roll into a large square 50cm x 50cm.  I will not lie, this can get messy but keep you rolling pin floured and believe. Now this is where some of the old methods make an appearance. You have to fold and turn four times.
  5. Looking at your square, grab the two corners top and bottom on your right folding at a third. (you might have to scrape with a knife here) Lift the corners top and bottom on your left and fold on top.  You now have a folded piece of pastry 1/3 the width of the original running away from you. Turn so that it is horizontal to the bench, this is one fold and turn.  Roll away from you until you have a 50cm x 50cm square again, fold in and turn, number two.  Repeat twice more and end with the long rectangle shape. Fold this in half. Wrap and put in the fridge for half an hour.  This dough will make 12 so obviously if you only want 6 cut the dough in half and wrap individually, freeze now if that is what you want.

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This rich, puffy sinfully buttery pastry can be used as an almond danish pastry like I am doing here, use apricot, raisins, blackberries, there are a lot of recipes out there or go savory, cheese and spinach.  If you can not find the strength to make the pastry, you can buy it frozen, the almond danish is still worth a go.

ALMOND DANISH

  • half quantity of pastry as above
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 80g icing sugar
  • 1 egg white

Simply put the almond, icing sugar and egg white into the processor and mix to combine to a paste.  Roll out the pastry to a square, approx 330mm x 330mm and divide into six.  Now either place the almond mix in the middle of the pastry and pick all corners up, squeeze together and gently flatten down or make a longer shape of the mix put it horizontally on the pasty and pick up to diagonal corners and squeeze together and flatten.  You can see both below.

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I grabbed this back out of the oven to take a picture, so the butter has started to melt, but you can see how the pastry has risen.

Place on a baking sheet and brush with an egg glaze.  leave them to rise until they are puffy, as much as 1½ hours, the butter will melt if they get too hot.  When risen cook in a preheated oven at 18oºc for 15 – 20 minutes.  They should be golden brown and have risen slightly.  I brush them with sugar syrup as they come out – I have this in my fridge for cocktails – just dissolve 100g caster sugar in 60ml hot water and allow to cool.  When they are much cooler you can drizzel with 100g of icing sugar mixes with 1 – 2 tbsp of warm water.

Is anybody out there listening to me??

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