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christmas 2010

I don't know about your family, but for us Christmas week is often a time of long lazy mornings often enjoyed with pots of strong coffee or hot chocolate and something sweet to nibble on. Especially during our chilly Mid-Winter Christmases in July, Summer tends to be lighter with berries, yoghurt and fruit infused teas or juice.

I made these back in April or May, which is Autumn for us, but I never got around to posting them. However I think if it were snowing outside these would be perfect lazy Christmas morning fare. Don't you agree?

The pastry can be made ahead and left to rest in the fridge overnight until you are ready to assemble and bake them fresh in the morning. The pastry is also equally delicious baked with stonefruits, peaches, plums or berries if you desire a more Summery Christmas morning Danish.

  • Pear and Chocolate Danish Pastries
  • For the Danish Pastry:
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • ¼ cup of tepid water
  • 4 teaspoons of dry active yeast
  • ½ cup of milk at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 350 grams of high grade flour
  • 1 teaspoon of natural sea salt
  • 250 grams of cold butter (unsalted)
  • Topping:
  • 250 grams of dark bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 6 small pears, peeled, halved and cores removed
  • 2 tablespoons of Apricot jam, diluted with a little hot water
  • To glaze:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  1. Place the water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and leave to foam.
  2. Place the milk in another bowl and beat in the egg with a fork.
  3. In a food processor sift the flour and salt and pulse to mix.
  4. Cut in the cold butter into the food processor and pulse until the butter is cut up, but still rather chunky.
  5. Empty the food processor contents into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the yeast and egg mixtures.
  6. Using your hands or a flat spatula, fold the ingredients together gently to form a soft moist dough, pebbled with beads of butter.
  7. Be careful to handle the dough as little as possible and not over mix.
  8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean plastic bag and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  10. After 1 hour, knock back the dough and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to a 25cm by 40cm rectangle.
  11. Fold the rectangle into thirds, like a business letter and turn the dough so that the folded edge is to your left.
  12. Roll out again to a 25cm by 40cm rectangle, repeat these rolling and folding steps 3 more times. (Making a total of 5 times!)
  13. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.
  14. (At this stage you can freeze or refrigerate the pastry for future use, or cut it in half to make 6 Danish today and another 6 in a fortnight! Refrigerate for no more than 4 days, freeze up to 2 months.)
  16. After 30 minutes, halve the pastry and roll each out into a large rectangle, 26cm by 38cm,
  17. Cut each rectangle into 6 squares, so you end up with 12 even-sized squares, approximately 12cm by 12cm.
  18. Place the squares onto a lined or lightly greased baking tray.
  19. Mound a good tablespoonful of chopped chocolate in the lower centre of each Danish and position a pear half, with its core hollow downwards, over the chocolate.
  20. Brush the pear halves generously with the apricot jam diluted with a little hot water.
  21. Fold in the four corners of each square so that they don’t meet in the middle, but rather form a frame to hold in the filling.
  22. Cover the Danish with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove and double in size - about 45 minutes. The pastry should feel soft like marshmallow.
  23. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C with the fan bake. (Slightly higher if you have no fan.)
  24. Brush the frame of the Danish with the beaten egg and milk.
  26. Bake the Danish for 10 to 15 minutes or until puffy and golden.
  27. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly, meanwhile gently melt the remaining chocolate in a small bowl fitted inside another bigger bowl of hot water.
  28. Drizzle the chocolate over the cooked danish and leave to set.
  29. Makes 12.

Christmas 2010 Front Cover Table of Contents Gluten Free Gathering Buckwheat Blini Lamb with Quinoa, Apricot and Almond Stuffing Leek and Greens
Roast Potatoes with Oregano and Feta Frozen Figgy Pudding A Christmas Turkey Dinner Potato Baskets with Salt and Pepper Prawns Turkey Roulade with Apple Cranberry and Pecan Stuffing Confetti Roasted Root Medley
Steamed Broccoli with Sundried Tomato Butter Individual Christmas Puddings De-constructed Trifle Tiramisu Vanilla Extract Windsor Blue
Petits Fours Cranberry and Orange Macarons Shortbread White Christmas Florentines Peppermint Marshmallow Tarts Advent Calendar
First of December Second of December Third of December Fourth of December Fifth of December Sixth of December
Seventh of December Eighth of December Nineth of December Tenth of December Eleventh of December Twelfth of December
Thirteenth of December Fourteenth of December Fifteenth of December Sixteenth of December Seventeenth of December Eighteenth of December
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