I love making pastry: all those flaky layers, so buttery and rich. A few years back I found a great Danish pastry recipe, and it’s never failed me yet. I can’t even remember what book I found it in, but I assume it’s pretty standard — butter cut in with flour, yeast and sugar and milk added in. This one sits overnight in the fridge and is ready the next day for rolling and then shaping into two braids. The only thing left to do is decide on a filling.
I had a package of sweat red bean and chestnut paste in the cupboard, which was really the driver for the whole pastry craving from the start. Back in Korea, I used to get a dessert from the pastry shop — it was a pastry filled with sweet red bean paste and it was my favourite. I often dream about it. Literally. In fact, I dream about going to Korea to look for this pastry and I usually can’t find it. I search and search the streets of Iksan, but the elusive pastry remains out of reach. I wake up sad.
My version is not exactly the same, but it’s the closest I’ve come so far to reproducing it. I think the only difference is just a slightly different kind of pastry, which simply requires continued experimentation (unless someone knows exactly what I’m talking about and how to make it; and if you do, please tell me). For the other braid, I had some Gala apples around, so I sautéed them with some butter, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom.
After adding the fillings to the pastry and fancying it up with some “braiding,” they went into the oven for 20 minutes and came out looking like heaven.