Chestnut danish pastries
- January 2013
- Makes about 10 pastries
- Hands-on time 55 min, oven time 20 min, plus resting and overnight chilling
Start Christmas morning with a freshly baked danish pastry. Full of festive flavours, such as chestnuts and almonds, they’re a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
- 21.5g (11.3g saturated)
- 43g (22.6g sugars)
For the pastry
- 15g fresh yeast, crumbled, or 7g sachet fast-action yeast
- 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 150ml full-fat milk, warmed
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten, plus 1 extra egg, beaten, to glaze
- 100g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- 200g ‘00’ flour (from large supermarkets)
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- Milk to glaze
- 4 tbsp icing sugar to decorate
For the filling
- 60g unsalted butter, softened
- 60g golden caster sugar
- 1 medium free-range egg
- 50g ground almonds
- 75g cooked or freeze-dried chestnuts, whizzed until fine
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 100g marrons glacés, finely chopped
- To make the pastry, mix the yeast, 1 tsp of the caster sugar and 2 tbsp of the milk in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes. Add the remaining milk and 1 beaten egg to the mixture, mix well, then set aside for a further 10 minutes until frothy.
- Sift the flours, the remaining caster sugar and the sea salt into a large bowl, mix well, then make a well in the centre. Gradually stir in the yeast mixture until it comes together to form a soft dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and the surface is slightly springy to the touch – it shouldn’t be sticky. Roll out to a rectangle measuring about 30cm x 40cm, then wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
- Unwrap the chilled dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Dot two thirds of the length of the pastry with the softened butter at 1cm intervals – leave a 1cm border free of butter.
- Fold the butter-free third of the dough up and over the middle third, then fold the exposed buttered third over to form a flat parcel (as you would fold a letter into three to fit inside an envelope). Lightly press down the open ends, then wrap in cling film and chill for 15 minutes.
- Remove the cling film and lay the dough on a lightly floured surface with the short side pointing towards you. Roll out away from you until you have a long rectangle 1cm thick. As before, fold the bottom third of pastry over the middle third, then fold over the top third. Wrap in cling film, then chill for 15 minutes more.
- Repeat the rolling and folding process once more, but this time lay the dough on the floured surface with the longest side facing you. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for another 15 minutes, then repeat the rolling and folding once more, this time with the short end facing you. Finally, wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge overnight to firm.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and trim the edges, then roll out to a rectangle measuring about 30cm x 40cm.
- In a mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon to combine all the filling ingredients, except the marrons glacés, to form a smooth paste. Spread the paste over the dough, then sprinkle over 50g of the marrons glacés. Roll up from the short end to form a sausage shape, then use a serrated knife to cut about 10 x 1.5cm rounds. Lay on a baking sheet, then chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Brush the pastries with a little milk, then bake for 18-20 minutes until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack.
- In a small bowl, mix the icing sugar with ½ tbsp water, then drizzle over the pastries and scatter with the remaining marrons glacés. Serve warm.
These are a labour of love and take time to make, but the taste is more than worth it. You prepare these pastries the day before you want to serve, up to the end of step 7, then keep the dough overnight in the fridge.
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Or, how about...?
Classic almond pastries
This almond pastries recipe uses home-made Danish pastry; alternatively, you can buy puff pastry.