Weekend Brunch Round 21: Homemade Danish Pastries

I’ve been wanting to make danishes for ages now, I’ve been keeping a bucket list of all the more complicated baked stuff I plan to try out someday (croissants, marshmallows, donuts, you know, all that jazz) and Danishes were at the top of the list! I had some free time and brunch at a friends house today, so everything just seemed to line up and I figured this weekend was the moment to take the pastry making plunge.

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Making Danish pastries seemed like a pretty daunting task, I mean the darn stuff is pretty much made from nothing but butter! Plus I had attempted to make them a few years ago with less then stellar results, all that folding and rolling ended up with me frustrated and a bunch of slightly melty margarine all over the place. Not cool. At this point I figured enough time had gone by for me to attempt round two and I’m happy I did because these little beauts turned out fan-freakin-tastic! Lovely layers of flaky buttery awesomeness, ah man, I kinda wish we hadn’t eaten them all ;)

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I took tips and tricks from all over the internet but used most of the info from the baking blog Joe Pastry. Such a fantastic blog! So many great step by step photos. I also used Joe’s recipe and veganed that sucker up. I only tried out two different shapes this time around as I didn’t want to get too crazy being my first time making these and all. The shaping techniques I also got from Joe Pastry plus another great blog here. I ended up doubling the recipe and freezing half for another time, and just so you know, this recipe doubles and even triples perfectly, so feel free to bulk up. I know this recipe might seem long and overwhelming and yes, it does take a lot of time, but don’t let all the instructions wear you down, they’re really pretty easy to make and soooo worth the effort! Now that I’ve got the recipe down, I can’t wait to start experimenting with different flavor combinations and shapes! I see plenty of pastry making fun in my future :)
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DANISH PASTRIES
Makes about a dozen danishes

INGREDIENTS

  • 5.5 ounces (2/3 cup) unsweetened soy or almond milk, room temp
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1.6 ounces (3 tablespoons) non-dairy cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour

FILLING OPTIONS

  • Various jams (blueberry, raspberry, apricot, etc.)
  • Cream cheese filling (recipe below)
  • Sliced banana
  • Brown sugar, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

Combine all the dough ingredients in a mixer and, using the dough hook, mix about five minutes until the dough is smooth, uniform with a somewhat sticky texture. Turn it out onto a lightly flour dusted surface, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it ferment for half an hour at room temperature, then place it in an oiled bowl, cover and put it in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, or overnight.

While the dough is chilling, make your margarine block.

Take your margarine and place it on a large piece of parchment paper or a double layer plastic wrap. Sprinkle the margarine with the flour and place another sheet of parchment paper over top. Using a rolling pin, work the margarine to make it pliable. Don’t be afraid to hit that butter hard! Once it looks pretty flat, remove the parchment paper, then use a pastry scraper, cut it into a rough square, placing the trimmings back on top, then resume working the margarine. If at any point it starts to get too warm, stick it back in the fridge for a while to cool it down. It’s important that the margarine stays cool; not too cold that it’s hard or it will crack, you want it cool enough that it doesn’t melt or absorb into the dough. The texture should be similar to play dough.

Using your pastry scraper, shape the dough into a square that’s about a 1/4 inch thick. Store in the fridge until needed.

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On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a square that’s larger then your margarine block. Place the margarine block on top of the dough so that the corners don’t line up with the corners of the dough.

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Fold in the dough like an envelope, pulling the dough up around the corners and edges, sealing the margarine in. Pay attention to the corners and edges as you don’t want spots where there’s no margarine.

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Roll out the dough into a rectangle, you may need to hit the dough with your rolling pin a nice few times beforehand to get it pliable again.

DSC_0045With the long side towards you, dust all the flour from the dough and fold one third of the dough in.

DSC_0047Then fold the other third over the top.

DSC_0049Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Repeat the rolling and folding step three more times, then put the dough into the refrigerator and let it rest for one hour.

Before shaping, make the “egg” wash.

“EGG” WASH

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 teaspoons of non-dairy margarine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 teaspoon ener-g egg replacer or cornstarch

DIRECTIONS

Mix together all the ingredients until combined, place in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds, whisk, cook for another 30 seconds, then whisk again. Do this one more time then set aside to let cool to room temperature, giving it a stir from time to time.

There’s all kinds of different ways you can shape Danish pastries, I tried two methods.

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First was the classic roll, to do this, remove the dough from the fridge and roll into a 12 x 9 inch rectangle, then cut 1 x 9 inch strips.

DSC_0060Press one end onto your work surface, then take the other end and twist several times.

DSC_0063While still holding one end of the strip down, twirl the strip around the center into a coil, then tuck the end underneath. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush with “egg wash” and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until they are nicely risen and puffy.

The second shape I made was a pinwheel.

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Roll the dough into a rectangle that’s about a 1/4-inch thick. Cut your rectangle into 4×4 inch squares.

DSC_0052Then cut a slit at a diagonal from each corner to the center, leaving enough space in the middle for the filling.

DSC_0054Take the same side of each corner and fold it into the middle, lightly pressing the dough into the center.

DSC_0058Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush with “egg wash” and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until they are nicely risen and puffy.

While the Danishes are rising, prepare your fillings.

CREAM CHEESE FILLING

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounces non-dairy cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

DIRECTIONS

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Store in the refrigerator until needed. Bring it to room temperature before using.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Once the pastries have finished rising, make an indent in the center with your thumb or the back of a spoon and fill with cream cheese and/or fruit filling, another option is to fill with cream cheese mixture, top with a couple slices of banana and sprinkle with brown sugar. Lightly brush with additional “egg wash” and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely, then drizzle with icing.

ICING DRIZZLE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

DIRECTIONS

Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth, then lightly drizzle over Danishes. Enjoy!

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19 thoughts on “Weekend Brunch Round 21: Homemade Danish Pastries

  1. Dear yummy looking vegan pastries,

    It will come to pass that you will be created and come to life within the walls of my kitchen. We shall greatly enjoy the company of each other as we get acquainted with each other. I must tell you that it has been written in the book of Brian that you will be consumed by my mouth and shall rest within the walls of my belly as I bask in the elation of your yummy goodness.

    Your friend,
    Brian

  2. Wow, those danishes are GORGEOUS! I’m glad you made it back for a second attempt at danishes, they look incredible. I’m always the most intimidated by anything that involves dough (with the exception of seitan). I envy anyone who got to eat one of those beauties! :)

  3. Holy moly! I can’t believe you made those! Incredible. I am in the same boat as Cadry. Dough scares me and I am envious that you do not have this fear. It just seems time consuming and scary. So instead, you wanna send me some? Totally joking…..unless you wanna :-)

  4. Danishes are my favorite dessert! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve never found a vegan recipe for these before! :)

  5. Ahh so beautiful! I have only tried to make danish type pastries using brioche dough as a shortcut. But I know I just have to give it a chance finally!

  6. I love your description of a baking bucket list! Glad you got to make the danishes – they look like they were definitely worth the effort. It looks like the sort of thing I’d love to make to cheer up a rainy afternoon!

  7. Those are beautiful! I love Joe Pastry’s site – I veganized his croissant dough recipe last year and should definitely try these!

  8. I so <3 this recipe!!! I WILL make these! I WILL make these! I WILL MAKE THESE. sorry mantra to self! … I have a question Maggie, how does one make the dough FLAKIER?? I love the dough process here and want to make Cuban Quava Pastele` with it, just needs to be a bit more flakey. Thanks for sharing the Vegan Love!!

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