Puff pastry preparation can be difficult and time consuming, because the pastry must be kept at a constant 16 degrees Celsius (60.8 degrees Fahrenheit) or the butter folded within it might melt. Puff pastry is a flaky and puffy pastry. Danish pastry is based on the puff pastry recipe and can be topped with chocolate, icing or sugar, or stuffed with custard or jam. There are many varieties and creations available in both types of pastries.
Puff pastry and Danish pastry are made using similar recipes, however puff pastry contains no yeast. Puff pastry uses only steam to make it rise. The moisture in the puff pastry dough turns to steam, and together with the air folded inside, expands and pushes the layers upwards and outwards. Steam also helps Danish pastry to rise, however, yeast causes most of the rising action.
Sugar and butter
Puff pastry does not contain sugar, so it is used to create both savoury and sweet creations. For example, it is used to make savoury meat and cheese pies, as well as sweet fruit pies and puffs. Danish pastry contains sugar and is therefore usually only used in sweet recipes with fillers such as fruit, jam and caramelised almonds. Danish pastry is made using more butter than puff pastry, so the result is a more buttery taste.
Puff pastry has many crispy layers which crack and break as they are cut. This is why puff pastry is sometimes called leafed pastry, because there are many leaves or layers to it. It is buttery, flaky and light, and used bake crispy varieties of foods such as croissants and Allumettes. The light texture of puff pastry is partly attributed to the use of steam to get it to rise. Danish however, is a heavier pastry, partly because it contains yeast. Danish too is light and flaky but it has a fluffier, more buttery texture. Some Danish recipes are somewhat bread-like, further distinguishing it from puff pastry.
Danish and puff pastries differ in their origination. Danish pastry was first tasted in the 1840s in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was a creation of the master baker Albaek, who baked his creations especially for the royal court. His pastry recipe was passed on to other bakers, some of whom travelled the world imparting their knowledge about Danish pastry to yet more bakers. Danish pastry became world renowned. Puff pastry originally came from France in the 17th century, and is said to have been created by the French painter and cook Claude Gelee. Today puff pastry is often referred to as the king of pastries.
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