Ah, if only these hadn’t been baked at 9 at night, I might have felt more inclined to whip up some kind of glaze or icing for these. They have kind of a matte finish, which is fine, but would be prettier with a covering. However, they were still delicious. Taking a bite, I initially knew the flavor but couldn’t place it, and then, I remembered that danish pastries are made of croissant dough (which I only just learned recently). Ah geez, if I recall (I’m not at home with the recipe), the ingredients were:
3.5 c flour
1 t yeast
1 c water, barely warm
1.5 c butter, cold
1 # rhubarb (two long stalks)
≤ 1/2 c sugar
≤ 1/4 c water
1 T cornstarch
The rhubarb filling I made days ahead of time, as cooked filling will last longer than fresh produce. I chopped off the very ends of each stalk (no leaves, poisonous!), then sliced each into hunks no thicker than 1/4 -1/2 “, then I put them in a saucepan with the sugar, water, and cornstarch, stirred, and heated up to simmering, before turning it down to medium heat, or just under. I stirred gently, but constantly for 10-12 minutes, or until soft. There will be some chunks intact, but some of it will break down and turn to mush. Then I left out a little to cool before refrigerating.
The dough… Yikes, I don’t remember. Here goes my memory: I combined 1 cup of flour, the water and yeast, stirred to eliminate lumps, and let rise for an hour or so (it’s a thin mixture). Then, I added the cream and the rest of the flour, stirring until it came together into a loose, shaggy mass, before kneading by hand for about ten minutes on the counter until smooth and elastic. Then I refrigerated for about 15 minutes. While that was going, I mashed the butter in between two sheets of plastic wrap with a rolling pin, until I got a roughly 8″ x 8″ square. I then refrigerated the butter while waiting for 15 minutes to finish on the dough. After taking the butter and dough out, I rolled out the dough to double the area of the butter, then placed the butter on one end of the resultant rectangle and folded it over. Then I rolled it out longer, and folded the dough into thirds (like a letter) over itself, then turned, crease on the left, into the an 8″ x 16″ rectangle, then, fold into thirds. Total, I folded it five times I think. (I started late at night, got tired, and finished the last two folds in the morning before work.) Then I floured it, wrapped it in plastic and refrigerated it for at least 12 hours. It was kind cool how even in the morning, the dough had ballooned overnight (due to the yeast).
That evening, it was time to roll out into a rectangle no more than 1/4” thick in parchment paper, before putting it all on a pan, and into the fridge or freezer for chilling, to firm up the dough a little, about 15-20 minutes, less in a freezer. When I took it out, I sliced the dough into strips about an inch wide, then twisted each end of each strip in opposite directions until the inside of the strip was no longer visible. At that point, I formed each into a loose spiral, before saving an inch or two of the tail to tuck up through the space in the middle, and pressing down to make/seal a pit for the filling. (Note: the longer the rolled rectangle, the larger the pastry, as the dough strip will wrap around itself more.) Then I crammed the filling in. (Note: the size of the pit doesn’t matter. More filling shouldn’t affect how the pastry cooks. The bottom was not at all moist, as I thought may happen, but it was crisp!) The uncooked pastries went onto ungreased, unlined baking sheets and covered in plastic wrap to proof for an hour or two. Just before baking, I glazed them with egg wash. Then, FINALLY, I baked them for about 20 minutes at 400º, or until desired brownness is reached. Pleasing taste, light texture, fruity center. Even uncooked, I was excited about them, and I felt vindicated afterwards.
The flat perspective. Not as nice, but I was so happy they turned out, I like looking at them.
The whole family:
What I’d do differently:
Glaze it, as I mentioned earlier. Also, I’d make the pits bigger to stuff more filling. (In fact, I have leftover icing from the cake, maybe I’ll use it in these next time.) But, if using fruit filling, it’s probably best to cook the fruit first, to remove moisture, or else line the bottom with some kind of paste or cream cheese filling if using fresh fruit. Also, it might be fun to fill it with a non-sweet filling. With pastry doughs, anything is possible!