Danish Pastries

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Method

Danish pastries are made in various traditional shapes. To make about 25 pastries, you will need 1 tablespoon dried yeast and a pinch of caster sugar, 150 ml (¼ pint) warm milk, 500 g (1 lb) plain white flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 25 g (1 oz) lard, 25 g (1 oz) caster sugar, 2 beaten eggs plus 1 for glazing, 300 g (10 oz) softened butter, a selection of fillings, glacé icing, flaked almonds, redcurrant jelly or glace cherries.

  1. Prepare the yeast and sugar with the warm milk. Put the flour and salt in a bowl and rub in the lard. Stir in the sugar. Add the yeast liquid and 2 beaten eggs, mix to a smooth dough and knead.

  2. Put the dough in a bowl, cover and chill for 10 minutes. Shape the butter between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper into a 18 × 12cm (7 × 5in) rectangle. Roll out the dough to a 40 × 20cm (16 × 8in) rectangle.

  3. Put the butter in the centre of the dough and fold the sides on top. Seal the edges. Give the dough a half turn, then roll into a 40 × 20cm (16 × 8in) rectangle. Fold the bottom third up and the top third down.

  4. Cover the dough and leave for 10 minutes. Turn and repeat rolling, folding and resting twice more. Cover and leave for 30 minutes. Roll out to 5mm (¼in) thick, make a variety of shapes (right) and add the fillings.

  5. Put shaped pastries on baking sheets, cover and leave for about 30 minutes. Brush with beaten egg. Bake at 220°C, 425°F, Gas Mark 7 for 15 minutes.

  6. Place on a rack and pipe with glace icing and sprinkle some with flaked almonds while slightly warm. Finish centres of stars with redcurrant jelly or a cherry. Cool.

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