Faux Danish Pastries

I want to be completely honest with you, I think our relationship deserves that much, don’t you? Real talk. I love danish pastries. Come on, you know you do too. I can’t get enough of them. In fact, I love them so much that I can eat about twenty and it still wouldn’t be enough. I’d want more and more. All day, everyday. I’m not even kidding. Okay, maybe a little, but I only exaggerate out of my love for danish. Real talk. The problem with my infatuation for these treats is that I want to be able to make them at home and feel like I’m a fancy Danish baker that specializes in making homemade danishes. Real talk. The one thing that stops me from fulfilling said danish dreams is the fact that I’m really lazy when it comes to procedures in the kitchen that take way too much time and effort. I don’t like overly complicated recipes. Honest to goodness real danish pastry dough is so time consuming and involves all these not-so-complicated-steps-but-to-me-they’re-the-most-stressful-steps, steps. Not only is it labor intense but it also takes a lot of time to rest and do it’s magic. Who can wait that long?! Not me, my friends. Real talk. I don’t have that kind of time. Something tells me, you might be in the same boat and don’t have much time for tedious pastry work either. If that’s the case then you’ll want to stay tuned and continue reading because I’m bringing you not one, not even two, but three—yes friends THREE—fake out danish pastry recipes. You’re welcome.

How do you fake out danish, you might ask? Well I’m so glad you did ask, because boy do I have the perfect answer. Two words for you, puff pastry. Wait. Scratch that. I have four words for you, store bought puff pastry. That sounds a lot better, no? Yes, it does my friends. Yes it does. It might not be the most authentic version of danish—it’s actually missing that yeast factor shhh—but it’s still just as tasty, and when it’s all said and done folks, isn’t that all that really matters? Well that, and that I’ve just cut your danish making time in half. I expect a monument named after me for this. Real talk. I’m only partially kidding about that one.

Sure I could have just offered you one danish recipe and called it a day, but what kind of person would I be if I didn’t share all three recipes with you? I’d be a selfish human being that’s for sure. Especially since I had all three ideas in my head for the longest time. I couldn’t decide which one you’d prefer more. That’s a lie. The truth, real talk, is that I couldn’t decide which I really wanted to eat more. Okay there it’s out there now. So instead of limiting myself to devouring just one pastry, I decided to have all the pastries. ALL THE PASTRIES. I put on my wizard hat and started calling myself “The Danish Magician.” I wouldn’t respond to people calling me by any other name. My family kept saying, “Jon this…” and “Jonathan that…” but whatever they said went unacknowledged and unanswered until they referred to me as The Danish Magician. Or Danish The Great. Real talk. That really didn’t happen. I couldn’t get them to call me either of those things. So for now, I’m still just plain ol’ Jonathan. That’s not even majestical, but it’ll have to do. Plain ol’ lousy Jonathan with three killer danish recipes. Real talk, you’ll love them as much as I did.

The first filling we’re going to make is the almond filling for the bear claws. That famous saying usually goes something like, “Save the best for last,” but I’m all for avoiding the run around and making the best first. That way you can eat the best right away. Smart right? I know, sometimes I surprise even myself.

We start with almond paste.

**Note: You can find this in most well-stocked super markets or online. Just google “almond paste.” You can get it, no excuses.”

Next up is a whole bunch of sliced almonds. You can measure it out but really you don’t have to. A few extra almonds never hurt anyone. It just makes things tastier. More almondier (real word).

We’ll also need some sugar because no dessert is complete without sugar, am I right ladies and gentlemen? That’s a straight out lie. Of course there are plenty of desserts that are just as tasty without sugar. But this isn’t one of those desserts, so add the sugar.

Let’s also throw in a bit of cinnamon because everything is absolutely better with cinnamon. It’s my all time favorite spice. That’s not a lie. That’s nothing but pure factual truth right there. I’m laying down the cold hard facts. Dun dun duuuuuuuun.

Aaaaand while we’re at it, just throw in a few pats of butter because why not? [Insert bad butter joke here]

And the last ingredient is an egg white. It helps loosen up the rest of the ingredients and allows it all to come together. If you have any worries about eating egg whites, don’t worry about it silly because we still need to bake off the filling in the bear claws. No worries necessary. Your worries are for naught. Oooh we fancy today.

Also throw in the almond extract. (Not pictured, sorry. The image got lost in the crazy internets.)

Okay those are all the ingredients for the almond filling. For real now.

Pulse in a food processor (or mix in a stand mixer) for a few seconds. Then turn off the processor and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. You want to make sure to get everything incorporated together.

Pulse once more until the almond filling is smooth and completely blended.

**Note: It won’t be 100% completely smooth, it’ll be slightly grainy because of the sliced almonds. That’s okay!**

Transfer the filling to a bowl.

Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use.

We’ll assemble the bear claws later on, in the meantime, let’s turn our attention to the next filling.

We start with a pot. This filling is going to get the cooking treatment so hence the pot.

It all makes sense now right?

Throw in two pints of fresh blackberries (washed and rinsed).

Originally this was going to be a strawberry danish but the strawberries were looking all sad and depressed at the market. I turned to them and was like “Ooooooh nooooooo! You all look so sad and depressed. What am I going to do now?!” Then I looked over to my right, or was it my left? No it was the right, so then I looked over to the right and saw the blackberries looking all delicious and plump. I tossed those suckers into the cart and decided to make blackberry danish then and there. And that’s how blackberry danish came to be. I don’t want to brag but I’m pretty sure I just invented blackberry danish. Okay maybe not, but maybe I did.

We’ll also add some sugar, because of that comment I made earlier. Now I just have to go with it. SUGAR!

A little fresh lemon juice. This helps bring out the fresh tart flavor of the berries. Look at us being all scientifical (real word, kinda).

We’ll also add some of the zest off of the lemon. Might as well use as much as we can. Why not take advantage of all the flavor possibilities? It’s all about being smarter in the kitchen.

And last but not least, a tad of cornstarch. This helps thicken the quick jam.

This is sort of like a rough/rustic/fake-out jam recipe. That best describes what we’re making here. I know you were just dying to know, so there you go.

Okay so I lied with the last ingredient being the last ingredient. I could have easily gone back and erased my sentence and fixed it to be correct but I’m too lazy. But now this, this here, this is the last ingredient. Add a pinch of salt. It’ll tie in all the flavors of the “jam” nicely.

There, now, that’s all of the jam ingredients. Super simple right?

Stir everything together to coat the berries evenly with the sugar and cornstarch and lemon juice and lemon zest. It’s okay to break down some of the berries with the spoon. It’s a jam. It needs to look rustic and chunky.

Allow the mixture to bubble and simmer, stirring constantly, until the berries release their natural juices. Those juices, in turn, will begin to boil and cook down the blackberries. The cornstarch will cause the liquid to thicken making a jam like filling. It’s like magic, MAGIC, folks.

Simmer the jam for a few minutes on medium-low heat, making sure to stir constantly so that the jam doesn’t stick or burn on the bottom of the pot. Burned jam is so not the jam.

 

After a few minutes of simmering, the jam will begin to thicken and the berries will begin to breakdown. That’s exactly how you want it. And just in case you need a reference image for how it should look, you came to the right place, because here it is.

Remove from the heat and transfer the jam to a bowl. Allow to cool down completely before using and putting together the danish.

**Side note: You’ll maybe, probably, most definitely have extra jam left over after you put together the danish. You can send your thank you’s directly to me. Slap that stuff on some biscuits or scones or toast. It’s insane. The good insane good though, I assure you.**

In the meantime, let’s make our third filling for our final faux danish pastry.

I know it seems tedious to make all these different fillings, but believe me it’s worth it.

Next up is the cheese danish filling. And in case you didn’t suspect it already, yes, we need cheese. What kind of cheese you might ask?! Well we’ll need cream cheese. Full fat cream cheese, don’t be bringing any of that fat-free or low-fat stuff to the party. I didn’t send them invitations.

Drop the softened cream cheese into a food processor. You can also do this with an electric mixer or by hand (gasp). That’s crazy, but I won’t say anything. If you want to do this by hand, more power to you.

Add an egg yolk.

**Tip: When you separate the eggs for the almond bear claw filling, you can pull out one of the yolks then. Let’s not waste anything in the kitchen. We’re not made of money. But maybe some of us are. But not me, so I’m saving that yolk from earlier.**

We need some sugar. Now it’s just a constant theme in each of the fillings. We need sugar to sweeten things up. SUGAR!

A bit of vanilla extract never hurt nobody. Double negative, and I don’t even care. I’m singing a song. If you know the song, please sing along. Think Gatsby soundtrack. A bit of vanilla extract never hurt nobody. Do wop do wop.

Let’s do a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

FRESH. Lemon. Juice. Enough said.

And that’s pretty much it. I can’t think of anything else to add to this filling so let’s call it a day, shall we? I think it’s a good place to stop.

Turn on the processor and pulse for a few seconds. Then turn off the processor and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. We need to ensure that everything gets well blended. You know the drill.

Turn on once again and pulse until completely smooth.

Once the cheese filling is completely smooth, you can transfer it to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside, along with the other two fillings from earlier. We’re a filling making factory.

You’re probably wondering when are we going to start making danishes. Sure the fillings are fun and easy to make but let’s get to the good stuff already. Well hold your horses, we’re getting there. We’re getting there. We have one more thing to whip up before we get to the danish making stage. I know the suspense must be killing you—believe me it’s killing me and I’ve already done this whole thing—but this next step is vital.

We have to make an easy buttercream. It’s not a filling necessarily, more like a glue for the blackberry danish. I’ll explain it clearly later on. Or rather I should say, it’ll make more sense later on. I might just confuse you all if I tried to explain it, it’s what I do.

Start by placing some butter in a food processor. Again, you can do this by hand or with a mixer if you don’t have a food processor or if you just want to use one of those other options.

Drop in a bit of powdered sugar. Or confectioner’s sugar depending on what part of the world you live in. I’m sure there are other names as well, but these two are the ones I know about. SUGAR!

Let’s do a splash of vanilla extract.

Let’s bring out and enhance all the flavors of the other ingredients by adding a pinch of salt. Just a tad. Enough for it to be like, hey what up? It’s me salt and I’m here to party. That’s what the salt would say if salt could talk. But salt can’t talk, silly.

So essentially everything is just dumped into a bowl of a food processor or mixer. Nothing too complicated here. I’m trying to make this danish making process as easy as possible.

Turn on the processor and pulse for a few seconds.

Stop and just like the other ten times before, scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. We’ve done this so often in this post that we’re going to become pros. Pro spatula side bottom scrapers. I’m working on the name.

Mix once again until completely smooth.

Okay so transfer the buttercream to a bowl and sigh a sigh of relief my friends because you are finally done with the fillings. We can now (it’s about time, gosh) start making some danish.

Let’s begin to make our fake danish pastries. I mean, faux danish pastries. I know you’re thinking that’s exactly the same thing Danish The Great and you’re right, it is the same thing, BUT fake sounds so bad. Faux sounds better.

Let’s start with the blackberry danish.

This is faux danish pastry because we’re not actually making our own pastry dough. That would take too long, and as it is this post is already super long so if I did that as well, you’d be here for hours. Which when I think about it, isn’t a bad thing necessarily. I’d love for you to stay at my site for hours, but I’m sure you all have other things to do. Although I couldn’t imagine what could be better than reading my blog. I kid I kid. But am I really?

We’re also not making our own pastry dough because it’s so labor intensive. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Thaw out the puff pastry. Working with one sheet at a time (two come in a box) unfold it, and roll it out slightly to take away the creases.

Grab some of the buttercream (not to be confused with the cream cheese filling. Don’t laugh, I almost made that mistake) and spread a thin layer on half of the rectangle.

  

Fold the puff pastry sheet in half, bringing the top half over the buttercreamed (that’s a word) half.

 

Using a pastry cutter, or a pizza cutter (I mean seriously who has a fancy pastry cutter these days? This guy doesn’t. A pizza cutter will do.) cut strips of dough.

You want them to be about 1 inch to 1 inch and a half thick.

Grab one strip, at both ends, and stretch it out slightly.

Then twist the strip so that it looks like this…

Create a pinwheel with the twisted dough strip—boy I just realized how complicated this is or it’s just complicated to explain—by twisting it into a tight pinwheel circle.

   

Place the pinwheel dough circle danish pastry thingy on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the steps above until all the strips are done. Then repeat the entire process with the second sheet of puff pastry in the box.

Cover the sheets lightly with plastic wrap and then place in the fridge to rest while we make the other danish.

I used 1 box of puff pastry for each danish type. So grab another box and let’s make some bear claws. Roar. Rawr. Claw claw. I promise that’s my one and only bear roar joke.

Again, working with one sheet at a time, unfold the puff pastry and roll it out slightly.

Cut it in half and then into six even rectangles.

Then spoon some of the almond filling (about two tablespoons) in the center of each rectangle.

 

Brush a bit of water right next to the filling, this will allow the dough to stick together and seal it so that the filling doesn’t ooze out in the oven.

Then fold over the top, pressing down on the edge to seal it. Leave about half an inch of dough at the end. Like so.

 

Make a few slices along that excess dough to create “claws” on the bear paws.

 

Place the bear claws onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Once on the baking sheet, curl the ends of the bear paw to separate the claws.

Repeat the process with the second sheet of puff pastry.

Cover the claws lightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge to chill for a bit while we put together the last danish. The cheese danish!

To make the cheese danish, unfold a sheet of puff pastry and lightly roll it out to remove the lines. You know the drill. Cut the dough into thirds and then into 9 even squares.

Spoon about a tablespoon of cheese filling onto the middle of each square.

 

Fold the cheese danish by bring in the four corners into the center, sealing the edges with a bit of water. You can use your fingers to drip some water on the corners to seal them.

 

Repeat this process with the second puff pastry sheet and then place the danish, corners side up, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Now that all the danish are done (well almost done) we can bake them off. Let’s start by creating an egg wash—just an egg with a splash of water whisked together—because they all are going to require an egg wash before baking.

Brush the bear claws with some of the egg wash.

 

Sprinkle the tops with sliced almonds before baking. You can put an almond on each claw to create “nails” if you’re into that kind of stuff.

 

Bake in a preheated 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown all around. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes. Then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

Let’s finish off the blackberry danish and bake those as well.

Make a small dent in the center of the dough pinwheels and then brush them with some of the egg wash.

Spoon on a bit of the blackberry “jam” onto each center.

   

Bake in a 350°F oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and flaky. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pans for a few minutes. Then transfer the danish to cooling racks.

And finally, brush each of the cheese danish with some of the egg wash and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

You know what to do after, I don’t want to type it once again. Lazy, remember?

 

Before baking the danish, and after the egg wash, you can sprinkle them with sugar if you’d like. I thought about it after the fact so I didn’t do it, but just know that if I had thought about it before, you better believe these bad boys would have had some sugar sprinkled on top of them.

Once the cheese danish are done they can be eaten warm. Store any leftovers in the fridge, wrapped or kept in an airtight container. Warm them up in the oven before eating or eat at room temperature.

So you’ve eaten those, they are tasty. Yum yum. So good. All is fine and dandy. Now you want to try the other pastries right? Before you can enjoy the blackberry danish or the bear claws, we need to make a simple powdered sugar glaze for them. Just because there isn’t enough sugar or decadence as it is.

In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, melted butter and milk. Mix until completely smooth and pourable. Not too thick but not too thin either. Keep in mind that if Goldilocks was choosing a glaze, she’d pick the just right one.

**Tip: If the glaze is too thin, you can add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick add a bit more milk, but only a splash at at time because a little goes a long way in the world of powdered sugar. Am I right ladies and gentlemen? We’ve all experienced that.**

   

Pour the glaze into a piping bag, or if you’re like me and just want to make a quick drizzle without having to clean something else, you can just use a plastic food storage bag with the end cut off. Works like a charm. Easy clean up too. BOOM.

Drizzle the glaze over the tops of the bear claws and the blackberry danish. It doesn’t have to be perfect, make it rustic.

 

 

 

And just like that you are officially done with this super long post. Well, I’m lying actually, you’re almost done. You just have to bear with me for a few more images. It’s the normal, finished product images as always. The one’s you’ve come to expect. But just know that at the end the recipes await.

 

I think it goes without saying that you don’t really have to make all three of these danish pastries all at once. I featured them all in one post because I thought it would be a great idea to give you all a little variety. Something to choose and pick through. Of course, if you feel like making all three in one day like I did, well then you’re a gem and I’ll want to keep you. In a friendly non-creepy way of course.

 

This would be a great thing to make with your kids, or your friend’s kids. Throw a danish making party and enjoy the good times that come from creating something so tasty and delicious. You can have different coffees available and set out the fillings. Then have everyone make their own danishes, bake them off and then devour everything in sight. Now, doesn’t that sound like a lot of fun?! If you have a danish making party, you best be inviting me as I just gave you the idea. Or at least send me some danishes. I won’t be mad.

I’m sure you’re just dying to know which one of these three was my absolute favorite. You’re probably losing sleep because you don’t know my answer to that question. I won’t take the easy road by saying “oh all three are my favorite.” It’s true, all three are tasty and could easily be my favorite, but if I had to choose. If someone held a gun to my head and said I had to choose just one or else, I’d probably pick the bear claws. Something about almond goodness with a hint of cinnamon. Nothing else can compete.

 

Comments

  1. avatar says

    Hi Johnathan , as I preciously said….” I LOVE YOU, You are the “MASTER” of Photo Tutorials….please never give this up…you were born to teach !

  2. avatar says

    Wait, so only the pinwheels get the buttercream filling? I kind of want to ask why, but may just make it and find out myself. Cool beans. I’ve always wanted to make danishes.

  3. avatarNicole Fraisse says

    I know this post is a few months old now, but I have to say, what an awesome post, I often make Danish with leftover puff pastry sheets, I also do make the pastries from scratch too, because I too love Danish and could also eat 20 and not get enough!!! My favourites always with Latte or Cappuccino to wash it down.

    So I was looking to show a friend of mine (who likes my pastries) so she coule make her own, I mentioned using pugg pastry sheets to start with instead of making the dough from scratch (saving time) and said I would find her a recipe/guide, well here it is…

    Great work, photos are just splendid and now im so craving Danish and coffee I;m going to have to go to the shop to buy pastries!

    Thanks

    N

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