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Danish Pastry

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Danish pastry is a sweet pastry which has become a specialty of Denmark and the neighbouring Scandinavian countries and is popular throughout the industrialized world, although the form it takes can differ significantly from country to country. They are referred to as facturas in some Spanish speaking countries.

Danish pastry is, like the croissant, said to originate from Vienna and is called wienerbrød "Viennese bread" in Denmark as well as Finland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and Sweden. In Vienna, however, the pastry is known as "Golatschen", and its origin may well be the Turkish baklava like the Strudel. Both the croissant and Danish are laminated doughs, and as such are categorized as Viennoiserie products.

The ingredients include flour, yeast, milk, eggs, and generous amounts of butter. In industrial production, other fats are also commonly used, such as hydrogenated sunflower oil. 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 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, figure-eights, spirals, 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, Danish pastries are typically given a fruit or sweet bakers' cheese topping prior to baking. Danish pastries with nut fillings are also popular.

The origin of the Danish 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 workpower. Among these were several Austrian bakers, who were unfamiliar with the Danish baking recipes, and therefore baked pastries of 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 which resulted in what is today known as the Danish

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