Happy New Year! Nothing like kicking off a new year with some cream-filled pastries.
Let me just say right here that I have never made anything quite like these before and so my learning curve was quite steep. I learned a lot, however, and think that if I made these a few more times I could achieve better results. For now, I will just present to you my beginner’s version.
My dough was incredibly stiff and I gave up shortly before getting it into a perfect rectangle with square corners. But basically it should be a rectangle that you cut into 3-inch squares. If I had had another 20 minutes to let my dough warm up, I would have gotten there, I swear.
And then a dollop of pastry cream goes on the center of each square.
The edges get a coating of egg to help the dough stick together when they’re sealed.
Sealing these is difficult, I can’t lie about that. The pastry cream oozes out at every opportunity and once it gets on the edges of the dough square, good luck ever getting them to stick together. I did find that stretching the corners a bit helped keep the cream in place (but not by much).
I just had a helluva time. One thing I might try in the future is cutting the squares a bit larger (but using the same amount of pastry cream) and sort-of making a little crater in the middle of square with my finger tips so the pastry cream will settle in more.
As you can see, a few of my buns never sealed up – the pastry cream was just too unruly!
I took the sealed buns and gently rolled them on a piece of parchment paper as the MSBH instructs. This is difficult too – even with very gentle motions, the pastry cream would work its way out and the seams would burst open. I only achieved one perfectly smooth, round, seamless bun. I think this all would come easier with practice.
The buns are left to rise for a while and then baked. I was bracing myself for major explosions and burnt pastry cream everywhere, but I only had one bun rupture while baking and it didn’t cause a mess at all.
The baked buns cool completely before being brushed with melted butter and dipped in a bowl of sugar.
And that’s that!
The unsugared tops give the impression that there’s nothing sweet about these buns at all and in actuality, that’s true (I took a bite of one before the butter/sugar step). Neither the baked pastry or the pastry cream is all that sweet.
But with the sugar – wow! It drastically improves the look of the buns and adds a much-needed kick of sweetness.
I was expecting this awesome pocket of gooey pastry cream in the center of the bun but what I found instead was pretty underwhelming. The pastry cream bakes along with the dough so it dries out quite a bit. It becomes more of a pastry paste. And there’s just not enough of it (the recipe says 1 tablespoon per bun) to make its presence known.
I can’t imagine using more cream and still being able to seal the buns up, but the centers need something more. Maybe instead of a tablespoon of cream you could do a half-tablespoon of cream and a half-tablespoon of strong jam. Or perhaps just using a more strongly flavored pastry cream (like bourbon!). Or maybe just getting better at sealing the dough so you can double the amount of cream used. I don’t know.
Anyhow, as always, the Danish Dough bakes up beautifully. It’s so soft, flaky, and buttery. I love using it.