Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of cutting corners in the kitchen wherever possible, and while I love the idea of fresh Danish pastries on a Sunday morning, the idea of getting up early to faff about making a yeast dough is never particularly appealing.
This is the answer; my cheat’s Danish pastries can be assembled in ten minutes with a minimum of effort so you can spend precious extra time in bed; you can even assemble them up as far as stage 5 on Saturday night, then keep them in the fridge overnight so they are ready to make the next day. Any unbaked bases can be popped in the freezer and saved for next weekend, simply defrost and add the toppings of your choice before baking. The drained fruit can also be frozen separately. (And as a happy little addendum to this recipe, after I had made them for the photograph I left an apricot pastry on my mum’s chair as a little snack after church and she thanked me for getting her a treat from the patisserie! If I can do it, anyone can!).
Sometimes little tarts and pastries made of puff pastry can still be soggy underneath even though their tops are golden brown. The way to avoid this is by putting a heavy baking sheet in the oven when you put it on to warm up; when you place the sheet full of pastries on top the base will heat up quickly ensuring the bottoms are nice and crispy.
Ingredients (makes 6)
1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
6 tinned apricots (my son loves cherries so I also made some with the tinned version)
50g butter, softened
50g ground almonds
50g granulated sugar
½ tsp almond essence
Glaze and topping
1 tablespoon apricot jam
75g icing sugar
Flaked almonds, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- Drain the tinned fruit and set them on a piece of kitchen paper to absorb any excess moisture.
- Make the almond filling. Cream together the butter, ground almonds, sugar and almond essence before beating in the egg.
- Unroll the puff pastry and cut it into six 12cm squares, before dividing the almond mixture equally in the centre of each one.
- Take two opposing corners of one of the pastries and pinch together, before repeating with the other two corners; you should now have a nice little tidy parcel.
- Push down in the centre of the parcel to make a well and then pop your apricot on top, cut side down. Repeat with the other pastries.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes until puffed and golden.
- Warm the jam up slightly then brush over the top of the pastries to glaze.
- Add a little warm water to the icing sugar to make a thick cream and then drizzle over the top. Sprinkle over a few flaked almonds to serve.