Denmark is a Scandinavian country comprising the Jutland Peninsula and numerous islands. It’s linked to nearby Sweden via the Öresund bridge. Denmark is considered to be one of the most economically and socially developed countries in the world. The country ranks as having the world’s highest social mobility, a high level of income equality and the lowest perceived level of corruption in the world.
Nyhavn, København, Denmark
Spandauer – Custard crowns
Preparation time: On and off most of the day
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Skill level: Involved
Making the dough
Ingredients for the dough
- active dry yeast – 7g
- whole milk – finger warm – 75ml
- caster sugar – 25g
- butter – softened – 25g
- strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting) – 175g
- salt – ½ tsp
- egg – 1
Ingredients for the layers
- butter – 175g – slightly softened
Add yeast to the warm milk and whisk together. Cover and leave in a warm place to activate the yeast – it should become frothy.
Pour into a large bowl and add the sugar and softened butter, then stir the salt into the flour and gradually add to the main mixture. Halfway through, add the egg and then the remaining flour. Keep mixing for about 5 minutes (either by hand or with a mixer and dough hook). The resulting dough should still be a bit sticky.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to rise for at least an hour or until doubled in size.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour as required until you have a stretchy workable dough. Then roll out to a square about 25 x 25cm.
Next up, for the layering, roll out the butter between two sheets of baking paper, flatten until you have a square of about 20 x 20cm, then place it on your dough at a 45 degree angle.
Carefully fold the dough corners over the butter until completely enclosed, a kind of dough envelope. Dust with flour and carefully roll this square to a rectangle 25 x 35cm. Next fold the bottom third over the middle third and complete by folding the top third over that so you now have a smaller rectangle. The butter must stay inside the package at all times.
Place the dough on a lined baking sheet, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Repeat the folding process. Roll to a rectangle and fold back on itself, you will now have 9 layers of butter. Rest the dough in the fridge for another 15 minutes then repeat the rolling and folding process again, giving you 27 layers of butter. After the final rest in the fridge the dough is ready to use.
Making the marzipan
- ground almonds – 25g
- icing sugar – 12g
- caster sugar – 12g
- egg yolk – 1/4 (you’ll need the other 3/4 for making the pastry cream, below)
Mix the ground almonds, icing sugar and caster sugar.
Add the egg yolk and mix until fully combined in a smooth dough.
Wrap in clingfilm and store in the fridge (it will keep for up to a week). You could always accidentally make too much marzipan and then have to eat it at your leisure, cos hey, it’s lockdown again.
Making the remonce almond paste
- marzipan – 50g
- butter – 50g
- icing sugar – 50g
- vanilla extract – a few drops
Grate the marzipan into a bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. The almond paste is now ready to use.
Making the pastry cream (kagecreme)
- full fat milk – 250ml
- vanilla pod – seeds scraped out – 1/2
- egg – 3/4
- caster sugar – 50g
- cornflour – 15g
- pinch of salt
- butter – 12g
In a saucepan, heat milk with vanilla seeds. Whisk the egg, sugar and cornflour in a bowl until well combined.
When the milk has just reached boiling point, take off the heat and pour one third into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Once thoroughly mixed, pour back into the remaining hot milk. Return to the heat and slowly bring to the boil, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens – for at least a minute to ensure the custard doesn’t taste of cornflour.
Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and butter.
Pour into a cold bowl and cover with a sheet of baking paper to stop the custard from forming a crust as it cools. Refrigerate before using.
Making the pastries
- Danish pastry dough – 1 portion
- Remonce almond paste – 1 portion
- pastry cream – 1 portion
- raspberry jam – some
- egg – beaten – 1
- icing sugar – 50g
Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough.
Cut into 10 squares about 10cm x 10cm.
Place a generous spoonful of Remonce almond paste in the centre of each pastry square.
Fold in the corners so they meet in the middle. Squash the corners down with your thumb using the almond paste to hold them down.
Put the pastries on baking sheets lined with baking paper and cover with cling film.
Leave for 20 minutes to rise.
Preheat your oven to 200°C.
Brush each pastry with beaten egg and put a teaspoon of pastry cream (and jam if demanded by a small person of your acquaintance) in the centre.
Bake until golden brown, about 12–15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
Make the icing by mixing together the icing sugar with a tablespoon of boiling water. Using a piping bag, trace a spiral of icing on the pastries.
Leave a few minutes to allow the icing to set.
Verdict: I only went and made proper Danish pastries, who’d have thought it, extremely delicious.
Drink: Coffee with a glass of water chaser
Entertainment: Gave it the full Denmark and watched the final of ‘Lego Masters’.