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|Place of origin||Denmark|
|Region or state||Copenhagen|
|Main ingredients||Flour, yeast, milk, eggs, butter|
|Cookbook:Danish pastry Danish pastry|
A Danish pastry or Danish (especially in the United States) is a multilayered viennoiserie pastry, of Viennese origin, which has become a specialty of Denmark and neighbouring Scandinavian countries. Danish pastries are popular around the world.
Danish pastry is called wienerbrød (Danish pronunciation: [ˈʋiːˀnɔˌbʁœːˀð], lit. "Viennese bread", corresponding to the French Viennoiserie) in Denmark, 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 often ascribed to a strike amongst bakery workers in Denmark in 1850. The strike forced the bakery owners to hire workers from abroad and among these several Austrian bakers, who brought along their own baking traditions and pastry recipes, hitherto unfamiliar in Denmark. The Austrian pastry of Plundergebäck, soon became popular in Denmark and after the labour disputes ended, Danish bakers adopted the Austrian recipes, but adjusted them to their own liking and traditions, by increasing the amount of egg and fat for example. This development resulted in what is now known as the Danish pastry.
One of the baking techniques and traditions the Austrian bakers brought with them was the Viennese lamination technique. This was new to the Danes and hence the Danish name for Danish pastry became "Wienerbrød" (meaning bread from Vienna) and this name is still used in much of Northern Europe today. At that time, almost all baked goods were given exotic names in Denmark.
The Danish bakery Mette Munk was the first company to export frozen Danish Pastry to the UK and USA and is 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."
Butter is the traditional fat used in Danish pastry. 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, covered with thin slices of butter between the layers of dough, and then the dough is folded and rolled again and again into numerous layers. If necessary, the dough is chilled to ease handling. The process of rolling, buttering, folding and chilling is repeated multiple times to create a many-layered dough that, once baked, is fluffy, crispy on the outside, buttery and flaky. However, although this is the traditional method, not all Danishes are made this way. The dough is sometimes not even laminated.
Danish pastries as consumed in Denmark are usually topped with chocolate, pearl sugar, glacé icing and/or slivered nuts and may be stuffed with a variety of ingredients such as jam or preserves (usually apple or prune), remonce, marzipan and/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 variety of fruit toppings 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.
- Inger Abildgaard (1 February 2007). "De danske kager er en fantastisk historie". Samvirke (in Danish). Retrieved 16 October 2014.. Interview with Bi Skaarup, a Danish food-historian and former president of "Det Danske Gastronomiske Akademi" (The Danish Gastronomical Academy").
- "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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