We continue our journey through Europe with another amazing recipe. The crème de la crème of pastries, we travel to Odense, the birthplace of the great storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen, and home of the best Danishes in the world. A beautifully braided strawberry cream cheese Danish beckons, so come prepared with the rose petal pink Roodeberg Rosé for a sumptuous pairing.
Ingredients for the Danish pastry
500g fresh strawberries, green tops removed, sliced into chunks
¼ cup (60 ml) sugar
230 g (1 regular tub) cream cheese, plain
½ cup (125 ml) icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 extra large egg, separated (yolk for filling, white for brushing)
1 x 500g sheet/roll frozen puff pastry, thawed
Ingredients for the royal icing
½ cup (125 ml) icing sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) hot water from a recently boiled kettle
- Place the strawberries and the sugar in a saucepan. Stir, then allow to stand for 5 minutes. Place the saucepan over medium heat and slowly bring to a simmer, cooking the strawberries until soft and syrupy, stirring often. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
- To make the filling, in a medium size mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese, sifted icing sugar, vanilla and egg yolk with a wire whisk until just combined. Do not over mix to avoid the mixture from becoming runny.
- For the pastry, preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Unroll the thawed pastry on a lightly floured surface to an even rectangle, facing you as a portrait shape (not landscape) then transfer to the lined baking tray. Spread the cream cheese filling down the centre third of the pastry from top to bottom, followed by the cooked strawberries. Slice the unfilled sides on either side of the pastry into 2-5cm wide strips, flaring out to the left and right. Starting from the top right, ‘braid’ the pastry by folding over a strip of pastry from the right over the filling (slightly diagonally), then a strip from the left, diagonally (to overlap the first), continuing until the filling is fully covered. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg white, then brush the prepared braided pastry with the egg wash. Bake in the center rack of the pre-heated oven at 180°C for 25 – 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the royal icing.
- For the royal icing, mix the icing sugar and hot water in a medium mixing bowl, then drizzle over the baked Danish.