What pretty little crumbly confections! They are sitting pretty on my countertop because I was instructed to pick a random recipe ...
This month's Random Recipe comes from Nick Malgieri's book entitled bake! -essential techniques for perfect baking. It was the tenth book on the top shelf, as I counted from right to left. The ten is taken from my birthdate ... the 10th of December. The page opened up to Danish Apricot Pinwheels ... aargh! I have never made puff pastry dough ... and this was such a busy week that I bought some prepared dough, used the rest of Nick's recipe, and never looked back.
These were a bit fussy to make. The pastry gets a quick roll out. An easy almond filling is placed in the center of the rolled pinwheel square. A boozey apricot gets placed atop and the pinwheel folds are made. An egg white wash seals the centers atop the apricot and another small circle of dough gives the pinwheel a finished look.
This is the first time that I have ever made this type of pastry, so the shaping of the puff pastry pinwheels was a challenge, as the pinwheels are delicate to move from the rolling and construction surface to the baking sheets. In retrospect, I think I would have rolled and cut the pastry squares and then moved the squares to the baking sheet to construct the pinwheels so that the points could stay put and not have to be finagled with.
Instead, I constructed on the drainboard and then struggled to get the pinwheels transferred to the cookie sheets . The filling for the pinwheels held up well, but the points of the pinwheels got pulled out of shape a bit on a few of the pastries.
I didn't have fresh apricots, so I boiled a syrup of apricot brandy, brown sugar, butter and dropped whole dried apricots into the syrup to simmer for a few minutes. When they cooled, they were soft, sweet, and boozey ... the reserved syrup made an icing drizzle for half of the baked pinwheels. The rest were given a simple sprinkle of confectioner's sugar.
They were so delish ... I will definitely be making these again. Next time, perhaps I will be brave enough to try making my own puff pastry dough. Thanks, Dom for the random recipe challenge! Who knows when I'd have gotten around to these little treats!
Danish Apricot Pinwheels
½ c. whole almonds, whizzed to a fine grind in the food processor4 tbsp. butter, softened
⅓ c. sugar
2 large egg yolks, egg whites reserved for pastry egg wash
1 tsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
12 whole dried apricots3 tbsp. light brown sugar
3 tbsp. apricot or peach flavoured brandy
1 generous pat of butter
Making the Pinwheels:
- Let the puff pastry dough thaw on the countertop for about 45 minutes.
- Place the prepared almonds, softened butter, and sugar in a bowl and mix with the back of a spoon to smash the butter into the mix to make a thick paste.
- Add the egg yolks and mix well.
- Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla.
- Add the flour and mix until it is thoroughly incorporated.
- Set the almond filling in the fridge to firm up a bit.
- Meanwhile, bring the brown sugar, brandy, and butter to a good simmer.
- Add the dried apricots and let them bubble for a minute. Push them below the surface, cover and remove from the heat to soak while you roll out the puff pastry dough.
- Separate the two sheets of dough and working with one at a time, roll to a rectangle about 13 inches by 8 inches.
- Use a pizza wheel to cut a one inch strip across the width of each rectangle. This strip will be used to cut little circles for the pinwheels.
- Cut the rest of the rectangle into six 4-inch squares. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry dough.
- Cut in toward the center of each square, but do not connect the cuts.
- Eyeball the almond filling. You need 12 round dollops of the almond paste filling.
- Place one dollop in the center of each square.
- Drain the apricots, reserving the stewing syrup. Place an apricot on top of each dollop of almond paste. Fold one corner of each side of the squares up and over the apricot to form a pinwheel. Seal the pinwheel closed with a dab of egg white and place a small circle of dough over the sealed points.
- Brush with some of the reserved egg white and sprinkle some coarse sugar over the damp pastry crust.
- Place the pinwheels on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake in a 400 ° F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the baking sheets and let them cool before sprinkling with confectioner’s sugar or drizzling with a drizzle made with confectioner’s sugar and a small amount of the apricots’ simmering syrup.