OK, small print over. This is a post about one of the most delicious and most unhealthy treats that has ever been invented. I am talking about the Danish pastry. That pretty little flaky bundle of buttery happiness, wrapped around some sort of equally lovely filling that might be lemony, or almondy, or fruity, or nutty, or just about anything you can wrap some dough around.
Prior to this past weekend I had only ever made Danish pastry a couple of times, back when I was at catering college, and I found it an incredible annoyance. All that battering out blocks of butter, enveloping it in dough, rolling out and folding and turning, wrapping in cling film and resting in the fridge and remembering how many folds and turns you’d done and so on and so on. Not for me, sorry. I’m just too lazy. I did notice that Nigella had some sort of food processor method in How To Be a Domestic Goddess, but never got around to trying it.
Then I acquired (by which I mean I bought - but don't tell my husband) a copy of Nick Malgieri’s latest book, Bake!, and his method for food-processor Danish pastry looked so quick and simple that I thought it would be rude not to try it. I wasn’t convinced it was going to work. There was hardly any folding and turning – where would all the flaky layers come from? And the butter I was using didn’t seem ideal. Normally I use Lurpak or Country Life, but I had some Welsh butter that had a high fat content and seemed extremely soft even straight out of the fridge, so I had visions of the pastries melting in the oven and turning into fatty little flat things.
All rolled out and folded and ready to go
They didn’t. They were fabulous. Nick Malgieri is the new love of my life, and his easy Danish dough will stop me going to Waitrose and buying them there, because my home made ones are far more fabulous. Even my husband liked them, and he’s not normally a fan.
I filled them with the ricotta and lemon filling Nigella provides in her Danish recipe (only because Nick’s uses cream cheese, and I didn’t have any) and it was perfect.
With the ubiquitous espresso, in my new vintage 1950s china cup :)
You’re not getting the recipe, because I want you go to and buy the book. (Currently it’s only £4.99 from the Book People website, and there’s usually a free delivery code to be found if you search online, so you have no excuse.) It’s a beautiful book, with step by step photographs for every baking technique you will ever need, followed by lots of variations for each so what you are actually getting is hundreds of recipes (that really work). And there really is something for everyone here; both the complete beginner and someone who’s been baking for years and knows their way round a professional kitchen will be delighted with Nick’s helpful tips and ideas and the variations on old-fashioned methods (I can’t wait to try his puff pastry).
Nick's pastries and my pastries!