Danish Almond Puff Pastry

June 12, 2007 at 3:36 AM (almonds, butter, Denmark, dishes by cuisine, dishes by main ingredient, grains and grain-like, milk and milk products, sugars-sweets, various nuts like me, wheat)

    This pastry is a very standard recipe with little variation, and can be found in many places- online and tucked away in recipe files- to be brought out and utilized for something impressive, fairly-quick and easy, a few hours before company is expected. There is nothing healthy or nutritious about it- save the nuts; it is a total, melt-in-the-mouth carbohydrate and butter fest

    When my sister and I were young, my mother would make this -once in a great while. We always loved it, but it was my mother herself who would slowly nibble her way through most of it. Though it has been a few years since she has made this (that I know of),  she still has an unquenchable sweet-tooth, so I thought I would make this and set aside some just for her. She appreciated it very much! (though I am sure her waistline didn’t!) 😀

    This pastry is not made of French “puff-pastry” (pâte feuilletée) as the name would suggest(multiple layers of dough and butter)…I don’t even know if it truly is Danish in origin- it might be, but it is very common in my area of the U.S., and once in a while will show up on dessert trays of large gatherings. It is composed of three layers: 1) short-crust pastry (pate brisee), 2) choux pastry (pate a choux), and 3) butter-sugar icing or sometimes cream-cheese icing, plus almonds.

Danish Almond Puff Pastry

makes 16, 1″x 3″ pieces

1 C All-purpose flour

1/2 C unsalted butter, chilled and firm

2 T cold water

Step one: Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry-blender or fork, until the largest “grains” are the size of peas. Dribble the water over the surface and, using your hands, gently press the water into the flour/butter mixture (most of it will come together, but by no means knead it!). Press this gently into two long rectangles- 3″ X 12″- on an ungreased baking-sheet. You can use a knife to gently tap the sides to straighten them.

1 C water

1/2 C unsalted butter

1 t almond extract

1 C flour

3 eggs

Step two: Bring the water and butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the almond extract and immediately turn off the heat. Add the flour all at once and stir quickly until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each is well-blended until the next is added. Spread this mixture over the two short-crust rectangles. Bake for one hour- to one hour 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours or so.

2 T unsalted butter, softened- room temp

1 1/2 C confectioner’s (powdered) sugar

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

1-2 T water

2 handfuls of chopped or sliced roasted almonds

Step three: Cream the butter until fluffy. add 1/2 C of the sugar, mix well, then add remaining cup. Add the vanilla extract and enough water to make a spreadable consistency (be careful not to add too much, if you do, adjust with sugar). Spread over the top. Sprinkle with almonds and lightly press them into the surface. Allow an hour or two for the icing to set before cutting into 1″ X 3″ strips. Serve with coffee or tea.

    I think it would be interesting to experiment with this recipe, not only in various flavourings- I have made a peach version (slice carefully through the choux-pastry layer and spoon in peach preserves; replace the top)- but also to incorporate whole-wheat flour somewhere for added fiber and nutrients. The butter content can’t be fooled with: these are age-old formulas to achieve definite textures. In lieu of this, it is best made for special occasions or the bulk given away to neighbors…

 

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23 Comments

  1. Asha said,

    Oooh!! Look at that ,sinfully rich and delicious.Thank you for the recipe:)

    Hehehehe..just be careful now…it has a way of calling to you from the plate- when it gets too loud that is the time to give the rest away! 🙂

  2. Anita said,

    I’m sure one could replace half of that white flour with the whole wheat kind, now that you mention it. 🙂
    A little butter or white sugar or refined flour will not kill us – moderation, and sharing with neighbours, as you suggest! Life would be so boring (and sooo looooong!) without these little mercies.

    That’s right…and what I did to offset it is eat fairly oil-free food for the day (tofu-kimchee-noodle soup, soupy dhal, raw vegetables with chile-paste). The shortcrust pastry works quite well even with ALL whole-wheat flour, but I have never tried making a choux pastry with whole-wheat, so I don’t know if it’ll work. Let me know… 😀

  3. Suganya said,

    With more than 1 CUP (?) of butter, it has to taste good ;).. Forget all the calling.. My friends have to wait for their turn on this…

    Hehehehe…1 T butter per piece- be careful now. 😉

  4. viji said,

    wowww..Looks great!!!!Thanks for the Recipe.

    You’re welcome- enjoy!..and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  5. Cynthia said,

    Pel, this is an excellently (if that is a word, is it? is it?). Anywhooo, what I mean to say is that the way this recipe is written makes one want to try it and believe that it is attainable because each step is so simple. It’s like you are there guiding. That’s not a quality many of us (particulary myself) can boast of when it comes to recipe writing.
    The pastry, gosh I know that it is sinful. I am not going to tell you that I’m going to try it because I have taken heed of your warning to Asha 😀

    Wise woman you are! I fell into it partway and had 4-5 pieces over 2 days…and the rest my dear, sweet (-deficient?), old mother polished off…as I knew she would. She ought to know better, having made it herself so many times… vile recipe!! I ought rename it “The Devil Wears a White Coat”…and promptly delete it.

  6. Anita said,

    [sigh]…I really shouldn’t…

    No…I’m sure you wouldn’t care for it…. 🙂

  7. sharmi said,

    oh that pastry looks very yummy and beautiful. your mom must have been so proud of you! and surely would have enjoyed it.

    Yes…I think so since she ate most of it! 🙂 Try it…I dare ya!

  8. Musical said,

    Hey Pel:
    This one looks really nice 🙂 Do you have some saved 😉 i would really like to taste this one, may be with a lil’ less sugar. gorgeous one it is!

    Thanks o’ felicitously-sonic one! I’m afraid the whole has been long-devoured, otherwise I’d put some in an envelope…; less sugar in the frosting would not be amiss- and more fitting for Santa Monica Beach and Boulevard!

  9. Maria Secor said,

    My sister and I used to make this together and share with our grandparents, I can’t wait to bake it for my family, this recipe was originally printed on one of the Betty Crocker Recipe Cards from the recipe packs that came to your mailbox once a month. Can you believe all recipes are there except the Almond Puff recipe?!! Thank you!

    Oh! I’m glad you found it then… I couldn’t imagine being without it! 😀 [thinks for a minute] So…I posted a Betty Crocker recipe?!!!

  10. Marti said,

    This was in a cookbook that I was given 45 years ago called “Entertaining” — a Betty Crocker cookbook. I have made it for holidays and to take as coffee time treats to meetings, etc., for years and people always rave over it.

    They do don’t they?! Pity it’s always such a well-loved sweet, as it never lasts long… 😉

  11. Theresa said,

    Christmas and New Year’s morning my husband and I went to the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego and got a latte and a danish to enjoy while we walked the beach. After paying $4.00 for this wonderful little danish the clerk told me was an Almond Puff Pastry so I got on line to see if I could make it myself for less and found this recipe. Oh my gosh. This is better than the Hotel del Coronado ! ! Other than a couple of bites from my husband, I ate the entire first batch. The next week I made two more but decided to share it with a friend we were visiting in Yuma, Arizona. She called me that evening telling me she had bit by bit eaten hers in about an hour, just going back saying to herself, “just one more small bite”. This will be a keeper for sure but not sure as to keep it off my hips or on them. Great recipe. Thanks

    You’ve brought back such fond memories for me with your talk of San Diego; I’ve had such nice times staying in “Little Italy”, making daily visits to the pastry-coffee shops, as well as sampling some of the delights to be had in the gas lamp district. I haven’t spent much time in Yuma, except to stop at a rural tag-sale to dig about. But you are right on with this sweet: it is addictive after the first bite, and, despite the calories involved, refuses to lay quietly until but crumbs of itself remain. Thanks for writing!

  12. Rochelle said,

    My mom has made this recipe since I was a child, my grandmother before her and my great grandmother before her. This year it’s my turn and I subsituted a few things to make it for Easter – I hope it turns out!

    I’m sure you’ll have no problems…easy recipe for a sweet that just looks complicated. Have fun with the substitutions; I’ve used raspberry and peach glazes/sauces for the top instead of the frosting and almonds, but that’s all I’ve tried so far. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Debbie said,

    Came across your blog, and when I saw your picture and recipe for Almond Puff I was so happy. My mother use to make it for us and I lost her recipe. She pasted away last year. I have been cooking all the foods she use to make for us, and I forgot about this till I came across you blog. I will make this for Mother’s Day in memory of her. It is so important to pass down family recipes, it keeps their memory alive and helps to comfort you in times when you miss them. Thank You.

    Yes they do don’t they? I treasure all of my handed-down recipes. I am sorry to hear of your mother’s passing, but I am glad that I was able to help keep her legacy thriving.

  14. Nancy said,

    – had a craving for this tonight and even though it was 9pm, i broke out the dishes and the butter and whipped up a good ( but not perfect ) batch- i put too much of the choux pastry on and ended up with a little too much, but it still tasted soooo good so i ate half of one strip right away! good thing my husband doesn’t like it ( he’s german :p ) don’t have to worry about it disappearing on me in the middle of the night….LOL

    My Stepmother is very proud of her danish heritage and a few years ago, she had complied a cookbook of her mother’s ( and other family favorites) recipes, and this recipe was in there. I remember her showing me how to make it and she always emphasized the cutting of the butter into the flour, not mixing or kneading. still, no one in the family can make this like her mom- such a easy recipe, but it takes practice to get it just right. isn’t it a wonder how our mothers and grandmothers can make such delicious treats and no matter how much you try, it seems you just can’t get it quite like their’s! One of her tricks was using almond paste when available instead of extract. it gave it a more natural almond taste- not sure how much to use, i’ll have to check into that. anyway, i think i’ll go eat the rest now…. :O 🙂

    Hi Nancy, thanks for visiting. It is an easy recipe, yet totally impressive! I was just thinking about it earlier today, in fact, and almost made a batch! But I decided to behave myself and wait for the weekend when there are more people around to save me from the potential calories. 🙂

    Almonds- and most nuts- tend not to absorb either water or oil easily (from my experience). I have successfully added ground almonds to streusel and Indian burfi, and my sister often adds it to drop cookies (which are really nothing more than chunks of badly-made pastries). So…I would recommend trying 2T in the shortcrust, and seeing how that works out (take notes, and keep trying), but I don’t think it would be a good thing to add to the choux pastry as it might obstruct the puffing mechanism of the formula. Just my opinion, but if I’m wrong, I’m all ears! Happy cooking!

  15. baby sweet tooth said,

    omg i am totally gonna try this one
    hey u can be a lil naughty sumtyms ini
    mmmm me and my man gonna hve this in bed wwwohhh topless wooh

    I’ll have to give that a try myself! 😉 You go girl!

  16. Val Gauen said,

    This wonderful pastry has been a favorite in our family for 40 years. My teenaged daughters enjoyed making it when they were bored, and now my 13 year old granddaughter loves to make it for friends. It is so easy, and the ingredients are always on hand. Salted butter works as well as unsalted, and a good quality margarine. like Fleischman’s or Imperial works too. If you have a daughter who is trying to impress a young man this is the recipe to use.

    I can vouch for that bit…

  17. Sherry said,

    You found my favorite recipe!!! I’ve been making this for over 25 years and it’s always delicious!! It looks like you slaved over it for hours, but is very easy to make – the hardest part is waiting the hour for it to bake! I used to make it so often, that I had it memorized – it’s been a while though, so I wanted to double check the measurements (1 cup of flour – not two!!)

    • elaichietcetera said,

      Thanks for your enthusiasm and for the visit- do stop by again!

  18. Deb Mekeel said,

    I’ve been making Danish Puff pastry for years.

    Recently, I’ve had a problem with the puff mixture rising. It simply doesn’t rise as high as I would like it

    I’ve followed the recipe exactly. Could you tell me what I may be doing wrong, or what the problem may be

    • elaichietcetera said,

      First, allow me to apologize for a late reply; for some reason your comment ended up in my spam folder. But I didn’t lose ya!

      The first thing that comes to mind is your oven-temp…especially if this same recipe worked before and started suddenly not to work. The thermostat can sometimes start malfunctioning, so…I’d heat the oven to a few different temps (say, 250F, 350F, 450F) and place an oven thermometer inside to check the accuracy. That’s where I’d start, instead of wondering if your technique is off- most-likely it’s not!

  19. Betty Gardner said,

    I had some of this pastry at a wedding shower today, it was beautiful and to die for!

  20. Arlene speranzo said,

    What am I doing wrong? The puff separates from the dough. When I cut it it falls apart even though I takes great pains to cover dough completely.

    • Elaichi et Cetera said,

      That’s odd. If you followed the recipe exactly and you don’t live at a high altitude, the only suggestion I can make at this point is to use a very-sharp knife for cutting.

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