Saturday 22 August 2009

Vegan Danish Pastries

vegan Danish pastriesAh, my Danish Granny would be proud!

vegan Danish pastries
I have been wanting to try Danish pastry for awhile now, I do miss them now and again but figured it would be way too difficult or impossible, after all, the butter is rather necessary. I was also daunted by all that folding in of butter thinking it wouldn't really work with margarine as it's too soft. Anyway I was looking through my favorite baking book, "The Great Scandinavian Baking Book" by Beatrice Ojakangas and she had a 'quick method' Danish pastry. Instead of folding in cold butter you cut it in like you would a pie pastry and then just do a few folds after the first rise. This seemed to be a lot easier and I decided to use shortening in place of the margarine as it would be firmer and stay colder.

Well, they turned out fab! The texture isn't like traditional Danish pastry, of course not without butter and eggs, but equally delicious! These were my first attempts and I can't wait to try more styles. I got most of these ideas from the fantastic pastry baking blog Joe Pastry - it's seriously fantastic, with step by step photos on how to fold and shape everything. I just worked in the kitchen with my laptop open to his blog and worked away :) I'll post the pastry recipe here then instructions for the individual styles below.

Quick Method Vegan Danish Pastry:
255g plain flour (2 cups)
135g chilled shortening (3/4 cup)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast ( 1 package)
60ml warm water
60ml soy cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
20g egg replacer
50ml water

Measure 225g (1 3/4 cups) of the flour into a large bowl add the egg replacer and mix well. Set aside. Sprinkle the yeast into the warm water and set aside for 5 minutes until it gets foamy. Whisk in the cream, salt, sugar and extra water. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture roughly until about the size of kidney beans. Add the liquid to the dry and stir with a rubber spatula until just moist. Cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.

Measure out 30g ( 1/4 cup) of flour and dust the work surface. Take the dough out and using the extra flour gently form into an 8" square. Fold into 3rds like you would a business envelope, turn the other way and fold into 3rds again until you have a square again. Repeat this 3 times finishing with an 8" square, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30min or overnight.

Remove dough from fridge and cut in quarters, working with 1 quarter at a time roll the dough out 1/4" thick and cut this into quarters. Most of the shapes below start off from 1 square.

vegan cheese DanishThe Cheese Danish

56g tofutti cream cheese
1 Tbsp caster sugar
1/8tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
3 tsp cornflour

Mix all together well and chill. Next take 1 dough square and place a heaping teaspoon of the 'cheese' filling in the middle. Bring the 2 points together and seal, then the other 2 together and seal with some of the cheese filling. Place on a baking paper lined sheet and brush with the cornflour mixture, cover loosely with cling film and leave for about 1 hour at room temperature until a bit puffy. They won't double.

vegan sweet rollsClassic Sweet Roll

This one is the most complicated to form. You'll need some vanilla buttercream, I made a tiny batch of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World's vanilla buttercream. Using half your dough roll out to a rectangle 1/4" thick. Spread the buttercream over half and fold it over towards you. Cut 1/2" strips from this and slightly elongate the strips. Twist the strips up and then twirl them around in a circular shape. This is very hard to describe but Joe Pastry shows step by step photos for this. When formed place on a baking paper lined sheet, brush with the cornflour mixture, cover loosely with cling film and leave to get puffy, again, about an hour. When ready, make a little bigger hole in the centre and spoon in raspberry jam.

vegan pinwheelThe Pinwheel

Using one the dough squares cut lines in to the dough from the corners to almost the centre. Fold the cut points up to the centre and gently press down to seal, forming a star shape. Place on a baking paper lined sheet and brush with the cornflour mixture. Cover loosely with cling film and leave to get puffy for about an hour. When ready make an indent in the centre with the back of a spoon and then spoon in some raspberry jam.

vegan bear clawThe Bear Claw

This one was also featured in my Scandinavian Baking Book and is usually filled with an almond paste. As I already had too much on the go I just filled this one with chocolate chips but will certainly try the filling next time. Taking one of the dough squares place your filling down the centre in a strip. Roll the dough over sealing the end with some of the cornflour mixture. Cut 'toes' into the leftover dough and then bend the whole pastry back till it's curved. Brush with the cornflour mixture, cover loosely with cling film and place on a baking paper lined sheet to get puffy for about an hour. When ready to bake press almond slices into the 'toes'.

vegan maple pecan plaitMaple Pecan Plait

Now this one I may have to get back to you on as I haven't tried it yet and my filling was a complete test! When I try it I'll post the recipe if it was a success, if not - back to the kitchen for me:) Take half of a quarter of the dough and roll out 1/4" thick in a rectangular shape. cut slanting cuts into both sides of the rectangle leaving the centre plain. Spread the filling down the centre then take the strips and fold them over creating a braid. Brush with the cornflour mixture leave on a baking paper lined sheet, cover loosely with cling film and leave for about an hour until puffy. When ready to bake sprinkle with chopped pecans and if you have it, maple sugar.

**Edit - see comments for filling recipe!**

vegan pain au chocolateWell, it's kinda a Pain au Chocolat!

Yes, this was supposed to be a pain au chocolate. It doesn't look like one and the pastry isn't like one but it is very, very good in it's own right! I'll have to think up a new name for it, chocolate cigars maybe? Anyway, taking one of the dough squares lay chocolate chips down the centre and fold the top over, then the bottom then place seam side down on a baking paper lined sheet. Brush with the cornflour mixture, cover with cling film and leave for 1 hour to get puffy.

vegan cinnamon swirlsCinnamon Swirls

These ones I weren't too happy with, they taste great but they are really just like mini cinnamon buns, not like the cinnamon swirls I used to get from bakeries. For some reason mine stayed quite thick and didn't cook down. They still taste great of course, just wasn't what I was expecting! Using half of a quarter of the dough, brush with melted vegan margarine and sprinkle on dark brown sugar, some cinnamon and chopped pecans. Roll up towards you and cut into 4 slices. Tuck the end bit underneath and place on a baking paper lined sheet. Brush with the cornflour mixture cover loosely with cling film and leave to get puffy for about an hour.

vegan Danish envelopeThe Envelope

Yeah, that's supposed to be an envelope, not a cross!! It was my last piece of dough and didn't really turn out very well. I couldn't possibly describe how to form this one so have a look at Joe Pastry's website for the step by step instructions. When ready, place on a baking paper lined sheet and brush with the cornflour mixture, cover loosely with cling film and leave to get puffy for about 1 hour. When ready spoon raspberry jam in to the centre square and sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Cornflour Mixture:
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Mix the cornstarch with a bit of water to make a paste. Add the rest of the water then pour into a saucepan and bring to the boil until it looks glassy. Let cool.

This is a great egg wash replacer courtesy of the PPK forums (thanks to cperry!)

Almond Icing Drizzle:
icing sugar
soy cream
almond extract

No quantities here, just add enough of icing sugar and soy cream until drizzly - you want it to run off a fork. Be careful not to add too much almond extract, you don't need much.

Apricot Jam Glaze:
100g apricot jam
20ml water

Stir together then heat up in the microwave - about 20 seconds. Push through a fine sieve and use warm.

**For all of the pastries, cook in a 190C oven for about 13 - 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and while still on the baking paper transfer to a wire rack. Brush generously with the warmed, sieved apricot jam then move directly to the wire rack to cool. When cool drizzle some with almond icing and sieve some icing sugar over some.**


  1. Oh gosh, these look SO delicious! I love finding a recipe for something I loved eating before I became vegan :)


  2. Absolutely amazing.

    Your food is beautiful and if it tastes even a fraction of as good as it looks, it's gotta be fantastic!

    Well done!

  3. Each and everyone gleaming and stunning. You have the patience of an angel. I will just admire yours and drool over them from afar.

  4. You are something else...... when will you publish a book? :)

  5. What a fantastic post! Thanks for that awsome recipe and all the options.

  6. They look so yumyumyum!!
    I really miss danish pastries, I think I might have to bake some!

  7. These look so tasty! And I love the bear paw one! So cute! The wee nails!

  8. Thanks so much for all the nice comments! :):)

    (Penny, yeah the bear claw was our fave too... so much so it's almost the only one left as no one can bring themselves to eat it!)

  9. I was searching for a recipe for teh Maple Pecan plaits everywhere! and these are vegan, as i hoped they would be!

    now, the only thing im wondering is, could you tell me what filling you made? i have been looking everywhere and this is the only recipe i found!

    thanks so much in advance, will definitely keep on following your blog, so much delicious things!

  10. Hi Stephy! Thanks so much for the heads up here - I completely forgot that I said I would get back to those!!

    So yes, the filling was good but still felt it needed tweaking. Your right - there are no recipes out there whatsoever for maple pecan plaits so I was on my own on this one! Also, I couldn't remember at all what the filling was like in these but felt it was like pecan pie. So I had a few vegan pecan pie filling recipes lined up but then remembered a new recipe I had. I was at a friends house and she made these lemon custard tartlets. They were very good and the texture was much like an egg filled one would be. The secret ingredient was polenta of all things.

    So I was thinking this would work well in these as it would give that slightly grainy texture I seem to remember these having. I did really like the filling but I do think any vegan pecan pie filling would work here. I'll post the recipe I used but I'm afraid it's a bit 'rough' - I made changes as I went as it was a total experiment :)

    1 cup dairy free milk
    3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
    1 Tbsp vegan margarine
    1 Tbsp maple syrup (you'll actually need way more than this)
    1/4 cup fine cornmeal (must be fine)
    about 3 Tbsp chopped pecans
    *I also added some maple extract*

    Heat the milk, sugar, margarine and maple syrup over high heat without boiling until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat then slowly add the cornmeal, stirring constantly. Cover and cook over low heat 10min stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in pecans.

    Now at this point I found it too thick and no where near sweet or maple-ly enough so I kept adding maple syrup until I was happy with it. (Also in hindsight, the cornmeal could probably be cut in half as it did get too thick.)

    Original recipe called for cream added at the end as well. I didn't do this but some soy cream might be nice too.

    Note on the pastry here, it's very good but not like the pastry for a maple pecan plait. I don't know if you can get these where you are but Artichoke Zine posted about these vegan croissant dough tubes that you get at Aldi. They are pre cut but I think that can be worked around and would probably make a better maple pecan plait dough than mine here :)

  11. You're lovely! I will try this as soon as possible! Thanks for making my cravings end :D

    And yes, they do have those around, I'll try both, but I think you dough looks absolutely yummy!

    Thanks so much!

  12. Wow all of those are so delish! I am not vegan ... but can you tell in your pastry recipe how much does the egg replacer come to if it is real egg ... 1,2? Thanks in advance!

  13. Hi Heni! Thanks so much! I'll actually just post the original recipe here for you as I had to make a few changes to veganize this one. Hope the cups aren't confusing - it's how the cookbook wrote it up. I also cut my recipe in half as it makes quite a lot, this is the whole recipe:

    3 1/4 - 4 cups plain flour
    1 1/2 cups chilled unsalted butter
    2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
    1/2 cup warm water
    1/2 cup heavy cream or undiluted evaporated milk
    1/2 tsp freshly crushed cardamom seed (optional)
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 eggs, room temperature
    1/4 cup sugar

    Directions would be the same as mine but start off with 3 1/2 cups of flour and add the eggs with the cream.

    I think that's about it! Hope you get to make them and they work out for you :)

  14. I am so glad to have found this website and can't wait to try this recipe at the weekend. Yay!

  15. Thanks and Welcome Rosie Apples! Hope they work out for you! :-)

  16. Whoa! Those look so awesome!

  17. hi can u please tell me the recipe of pecan plait filling recipe. thanks

  18. Hi Juv, it wasn't much of a recipe, more an experiment but recipe is in the comments here (posted by me, Debbie) :-)

  19. These are beautiful, and I was really excited to make these!

    Unfortunately, my pastries came out with a more cookie-like consistency than a pastry-like one. I used all-purpose flour and followed the recipe exactly, not sure what went wrong.

    Otherwise, these were still beautiful and yummy O.O I'd like to make these again, but is there anything I can do about consistency?

  20. Hi! Sorry these didn't turn out as you were expecting :-( I really had to think hard how mine were as it's been so long since I've made them.

    While the texture wasn't cookie like they also weren't exactly pastry like either (as I mention in the post) so it may just be down to different products yielding different results.

    To be honest I haven't made these since, not that they weren't delicious it's just that I have found using croissant dough in a tube to be much more accurate as a Danish pastry dough and lets face it, easier :-)

    I don't know if you can get vegan croissant dough in a tube where you are but I highly recommend it in making quick and easy pastries, it's the only way I do it now. I either make them as croissants but fill them with the fillings I've used here or my frangipane filling for an almond Danish:


    OR you can put 2 of the triangles together to make a rectangle to make other pastry shapes. They really turn out wonderful and are almost just like Danish pastries in texture. If you are in the UK/Eire I use Jus-Rol croissant dough.

    Sorry I can't be of more help regarding this recipe in particular! The other option of course would be to attempt proper Danish dough with all the kneading of fat that's involved, depending on your patience ;-)

    -Deb ♥

  21. Thank you so much, Deb! I'll try using the "lazy" recipe--looks so good! thank you again for taking the time to answer my question! :D

  22. This is...there aren't words...oh my. Thank you so much for all these recipes and drool-worthy photos!

  23. Hi Debbie

    Thanks for this blog. Very nice recipes. Im usually a fussy eater but each time my girlfriend makes me something from this website I love it. Just wondering what brand of shortening you use here in the UK? I cant seem to find anything really.. only vegan friendly margarines.

    Merry Christmas


    1. Chris, I am so sorry for the shockingly late posting and reply to your comment, your comment came in when I was on a blog break then somehow wasn't seen until now....I realize this is far too late now but will answer anyway :-) Back when I lived in the UK I always used Trex, not sure if that is still available or still vegan but it was at the time. Glad you like some of my recipes and apologies again for missing your comment :-(


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