a baking fool ~ a perfect marriage of Italian and Danish

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fool  (fl)

n.

1. One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.
2. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion.
3. One who has been tricked or made to appear ridiculous; a dupe.
4. Informal A person with a talent or enthusiasm for a certain activity.
5. A member of a royal or noble household who provided entertainment, as with jokes or antics; a jester.
6. One who subverts convention or orthodoxy or varies from social conformity in order to reveal spiritual or moral truth.
7. A dessert made of stewed or puréed fruit mixed with cream or custard and served cold.
Phrasal Verbs:

fool around Informal

1. To engage in idle or casual activity; putter: was fooling around with the old car in hopes of fixing it.
2. To engage in frivolous activity; make fun.
3. To engage in casual, often promiscuous sexual acts.
OK ~ I can only guarantee I have been foolish in the kitchen… A fool baking in the kitchen!
I wish I had a dollar for every minute I spend in the kitchen… I’d settle for a penny for every minute!  Really ~ how do people get “discovered” for their talents?  Oh, well ~ I’ll keep baking, cooking, distributing, sharing, teaching for the sheer joy of being able to… of giving in another’s time of need; offering bits of sustainment to my family and friends (and more & more often, strangers) because God has blessed me with the true love of doing so.
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Nutella Danish
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks butter, cut in cubes

Pour water into a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast in to soften about a minute.  Add milk, egg, sugar, and salt; whisk to mix, allow to rest for 5 minutes.

In another large bowl (or if you are fortunate enough to own a professional grade food processor… I do not) combine flour and butter.  I use my hands to work this, being careful not to process too much, you want to see the butter! (If using the food processor, I assume you would pulse gently, also being careful not to over process). Add flour-butter mixture to yeast mixture, stir gently with wooden spatula, just until the ingredients are moistened.  Note:  DO NOT over work this batter/dough… you want to see distinct pieces of butter ~ it will be a gift to the layers, light and flakey pastry at the end! Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 5 days.
Since this is a flakey pastry dough, there is no getting around the rolling and folding!  I do guarantee this dough is SO much easier than croissant pastry! 
On a lightly floured surface, turn out the chilled dough; dust dough lightly with flour. Using your hands dipped in flour, pat dough into a square; roll it with floured rolling pin into a rectangle form; fold in thirds and repeat 5 more times, chilling dough if becomes too sticky to work.  At this point, you should have a beautifully soft, pillowy dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or store in fridge up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to a month. I usually cut mine in half to use now and to share later, or vise versa!
To fill and bake:
I am showing one example ~ there are endless possibilities! 
Roll 1/2 of dough recipe into a rectangle, about 24 x 16 on a lightly floured surface.  With a pizza wheel, cut dough lengthwise, creating 2 – 12 x 8 sheets. Place good quality chocolate squares ( I used an Italian Perugina hazelnut chocolate) down the center of dough.  Place dollops of Nutella onto squares. Spoon confectioner’s cream (recipe below) over Nutella.  With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut 12 – 14 slanting lines down each side, angling the cuts from the center of the dough to the edge and cutting strips about 3/4 inches wide.  Fold the strips of pastry into the center, crisscrossing the filling by alternating one strip from the left with one from the right.  Brush pastry with a beaten egg, sprinkle with raw sugar and let rest for 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-18 minutes or until golden.  Remove pastry to cooling rack, make the glaze: stir 2 T cooled, strong coffee, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl.  Whisk until smooth ~ drizzle over warm pastry ~ serve or share! with love ~ Val
Confectioner’s (pastry) cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 T cornstarch
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Whisk cream, cornstarch and sugar in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook in microwave for 1 minute at full power; stir and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until thickened.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Whisk vanilla and egg yolk.  Temper by adding a spoonful of hot cream while whisking.  Add into bowl of cream, stirring until smooth.

note ~ things i use:
  • real vanilla
  • real, unsalted butter ~ with no apologies!
  • kosher salt ~ I just like it better!
  • good chocolate
  • unbleached “better for bread” flour, unless baking a cake ~ then I’ll use cake flour.
  • real eggs
  • heavy cream, unless I’ve experimented and KNOW I can use my fat-free half and half!
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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Bridgett says:

    I highly recommend a “pastry blender” gadget. (like this: http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-607507/OXO-Pastry-Blender) It makes blending butter/flour mixtures much easier, and you don’t have to worry about melting the butter with your body temperature.

    Like

    1. Brigette,

      I have a pastry blender, this Danish pastry just doesn’t seem to warrant getting it dirty… Just a couple of stirs around the bowl! This really is the best and quickest pastry I’ve ever attempted! Thanks for recommending the pastry blender; I do love it for other doughs.
      Thanks for stopping by, and happy Christmas!

      Val

      Like

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