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Various Danish pastries.
|Place of origin||Austria|
|Region or state||Vienna|
|Main ingredient(s)||Flour, yeast, milk, eggs, butter|
A Danish pastry or Danish (especially in the United States) is a viennoiserie pastry, of Viennese origin, which has become a specialty of Denmark and neighbouring Scandinavian countries. Danish pastries are popular around the world.
The Danish pastry is called wienerbrød (Danish pronunciation: [ˈʋiːˀnɔˌbʁœːˀð], lit. "Viennese bread", corresponding to the French Viennoiserie) in Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and Sweden. It is referred to as facturas in some Spanish speaking countries.
In Vienna, the Danish pastry is referred to as Kopenhagener Plunder or Dänischer Plunder. Like other viennoiserie pastries, such as croissants, danishes are made of laminated yeast-leavened doughs, creating a layered texture similar to a puff pastry.
The origin of the Danish pastry is ascribed by the Danish Confectioners, Bakers and Chocolatemakers Association to a strike amongst the bakery workers in Danish bakeries in 1850. The strike forced Danish bakery owners to hire foreign workers. Among these were several Austrian bakers, who were unfamiliar with the Danish baking recipes, and therefore baked pastries using their native homeland recipes.
Amongst these Austrian pastries were Plundergebäck, which became quite popular in Denmark. Later this recipe was changed by Danish bakers, increasing the amount of fat (by adding more egg) which resulted in what is known as the Danish pastry.
Although a Danish invention, the Viennese contribution was the lamination technique. The Danes then called it Wienerbrød, "Vienna bread", acknowledging the Viennese for their contribution.
At that time in Denmark almost all baked goods were given exotic names. For instance a plain wheat flour bread is called 'Franskbrød' ("French bread") even though it has almost nothing to do with the French baguette.
The Danish bakery Mette Munk were the first company to export frozen Danish Pastry to the UK and USA and are still producing.
History of the Danish in the United States
Lauritz C. Klitteng, of Læsø, Denmark, popularized "danish pastry" in the United States in the years 1915–1920. The Danish was, according to Klitteng, the dish that he baked for the wedding of United States President Woodrow Wilson in December 1915. Klitteng toured the world to promote his product, and he was featured in such 1920 periodicals as the National Baker, the Bakers' Helper, and the Bakers Weekly. Klitteng opened a short-lived Danish Culinary Studio at 146 Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Herman Gertner owned a chain of New York City restaurants, and Gertner brought Klitteng to New York to sell Danish pastry. Gertner's obituary appeared in the January 23, 1962 New York Times:
"At one point during his career Mr. Gertner befriended a Danish baker who convinced him that Danish pastry might be well received in New York. Mr. Gertner began serving the pastry in his restaurant and it immediately was a success."
In industrial production, other fats are also commonly used, such as hydrogenated sunflower oil (known as "pastry fat" in the UK). A yeast dough is rolled out thinly, coated with butter and then folded into numerous layers. If necessary, the dough is chilled to ease handling. The rolling, buttering, folding and chilling is repeated several times to create a dough which is fluffy, buttery and flaky. However, not all danishes are made this way. The dough is sometimes not even laminated.
The Danish as consumed in Denmark can be topped with chocolate, sugar or icing, and may be stuffed with either jam, marzipan or custard. Shapes are numerous, including circles with filling in the middle (known as "Spandauer's"), figure-eights, spirals (known as snails), and the pretzel-like kringles.
In the UK, various ingredients such as jam, custard, apricots, raisins, flaked almonds, pecans or caramelized toffee are placed on or within sections of divided dough, which is then baked. Cardamom is often added to increase the aromatic sense of sweetness.
In the US, danishes are typically given a fruit or sweet bakers' cheese topping prior to baking. Danishes with nut fillings are also popular.
- Ole Stig Andersen (Jun 26, 1995). "Hvor kommer brød fra". Politiken.
- "Wiener Plundergebäck". Lebensministerium. "Je nach Fettmenge können Plunder mit mind. 300 g Fett pro 1000 g Grundteig und dänischer Plunder (Kopenhagener Plunder) mit mind. 600 g Fett pro 1000 g Grundteig unterschieden werden."
- "Wienerbrød". Arbejdsgiverforeningen Konditorer, Bagere og Chocolademagere. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
- "Mette Munk, Denmark (Some information is in English)". Mettemunk.dk. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
- Hakon Mielche (1944). Jorden rundt med morgenbrød (in Danish). Hasselbalch.
- "Cheese Recipes: Bakers Cheese". Schmidling.com. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
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