Nothing reminds me more of long summers in Sweden like a huge Vienerbrod. To most people this will be a vanilla danish pastry, but unknown to most the Swedish bakeries are without a doubt some of the best in Europe. My Cousin Kim worked in a Swedish bakery so when he came to England for the first time, we took him into our local bakery, he was truly horrified. I do think that we are getting moderately better but we do have some way to go yet. As a child I loved my holidays to Sweden with my mum, to say that she was a very health conscious parent would be an understatment, chocolate was never eaten in abundance, however when we went to Sweden my mother too turned into a big kid and wanted to indulge in the sweet treats just as much as I did. Every day we would visit the local Lake called Frostvallen and have a pack up of open sandwiches, with pate or cheese followed by sticky Vienerbrod. The recipe seems complicated but it is not, it is a little time consuming. I always do my baking on a rainy Sunday, without a care in the world.
You will need:
For the pastry
250ml of whole milk
3 tablespoons of sugar
50g fresh yeast
a pinch of salt
1 XL egg
300g of frozen butter
Firstly mix the milk, yeast and sugar together, make sure the milk is cold, normally when dealing with yeast I would use tepid milk, however you must make sure that all components of the pastry are cold so that the butter will not melt into the pastry and can be folded into it in layers, this is what will create the layers in the pastry and the light crisp texture.
In a mixing machine or a large bowl add the flour, salt and egg, followed by the yeast and milk mixture, mix with a dough hook attachment for five minutes or by hand for 10-15 minutes, then place in the fridge to rise for an hour.Slice the butter into cm thick slices and lay it onto a sheet of grease proof in one large sheet of butter until it is one block rough 20cmx20cm and 1cm deep. Place the butter in the freezer and allow to become really cold.
When the dough has risen, roll it out into a rectangle roughly 25cm by 40cm, place the frozen butter onto one half of the pastry, fold the other half of the dough over the butter and fold over the edges so you are making a tight parcel encasing the butter.
Roll the pastry with the butter inside of it into a rectangle roughly 50cmx20cm, this is very difficult and requires a lot of muscle.
Fold the pastry into thirds by pulling one side of the pastry a third of the into the rolled out pastry to create a fold, then fold over the other side to meet the folded edge of the pastry, it is very similar to folding up a brochure, then fold this in half (doubling it over see pictures). Roll out the pastry until it is roughly 50cmx 20cm once more and repeat the folding process.
Wrap the folded pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When the pastry has rested, chilled and risen repeat the folding process a further 3 times making sure that you always fold the pastry the same way so you create layers that will puff up, do not worry if you can still see butter running through the pastry that is a good thing. Repeat the process of folding and chilling in the fridge a further 5 times before.Whilst the pastry is chilling you can make the vanilla cream filling, which is similar to the french creme patisserie.
You will need:
500ml of milk
2 tbsp of corn flour
3 tbsp of vanilla sugar
3 tbsp of caster sugar
one vanilla pod, split and with the seeds scraped out
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
Place the milk and the flour into a pan and allow the flour to dissolve, it will never dissolve in hot milk so the milk should be cold, add the sugars, vanilla pod and vanilla extract. Cook the milk on a very low heat constantly stirring until the milk becomes infused and thickened like custard. With a whisk at the ready add the egg yolks into the thickened milk and whisk like crazy, keep whisking with the pan on the heat for a further five minutes until the mixture is smooth and thickened.
Pass the vanilla cream through a sieve, place a piece of cling film directly onto the cream so that a skin does not form, allow to cool in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c
Roll out the pastry and cut into 10cm x 10cm squares, place a dollop of vanilla cream in each square and fold in the corners so that the square becomes a diamond, brush the edges with egg wash and cook in the oven at 190 degrees c for 15 minutes or until golden.
Once the pastries have come out of the oven, brush the edges with runny honey, sprinkle the middle with freshly chopped almonds. When the pastries have cooled thoroughly drizzle with a little running icing, mix five tablespoons of icing sugar with one tablespoon of water, mix until it is the consistency of runny honey.