Monday, 22 March 2010

Apricot Danish Pastries by Luca Montersino - Danesi alle Albicocche di Luca Montersino

I got this recipe from Luca Montersino, one of the most popular Italian pastry chefs. For this recipe he doesn’t use croissant dough, but brioche dough. The result was great and I really enjoyed making these pastries. I used a kitchen mixer, which is the best option in my opinion, but if you don’t have one you can of course knead the dough by hands. You can also watch Luca Montersino’s videos here: Danish Montersino Part 1, Danish Montersino Part 2, Danish Montersino Part 3.

Per leggere la ricetta in Italiano andare al fondo del Post


  • Fresh whole milk, 160g
  • Whole eggs, 360g
  • Sugar, 140g
  • Butter, 360g
  • Fresh yeast, 30g
  • Honey, 30g
  • Rum, 15g
  • Salt, 15g
  • Grated zest of a lemon
  • Italian Flour OO (or pastry flour), 1kg (but I used 500g of OO flour and 500g of strong flour)
  • Preserved or canned apricot halves,150g
  • Apricot glaze
  • Vanilla, 1 pod
  • Pastry Cream (Whole milk, 250g, Caster sugar, 70, Half vanilla pod, Egg yolks, 2, Sieved Flour, 40g)


For the Pasty Cream:

In a saucepan, bring the milk slowly to the boil with the vanilla pod (seeds scraped out into the milk). Allow to cool slightly and remove the vanilla pod. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar. Sift the plain flour and mix thoroughly. Pour the milk onto the egg mix whisking continuously. Return to a clean pan and stir with a wooden spatula to the boil over a gentle heat until it starts to thicken, then using a whisk stir to ensure it is of a smooth texture. Place some cling film over the surface and chill.

For the Danish Pastries:

In a kitchen mixer, combine butter, sugar, lemon zest, rum and vanilla seeds (scraped from the pod) and beat until very fluffy (for about 10 minutes at high speed).
Transfer the mixture to a different bowl and set aside.
Put the flour in the kitchen mixer, break the yeast with your hands and add it to the flour. Using a dough hook, start working the flour and the yeast, adding the eggs one at a time (speed 2).
After about 7-8 minutes of mixing, the dough should come together and wrap itself around the dough hook.
Once all eggs are incorporated, start adding the milk gradually. Keep mixing for about 10 minutes.
At this point start adding the butter mixture gradually, allowing the butter to be incorporated nearly completely after each addition. Finally add the salt and mix for additional 5 minutes.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and pat into a rectangle about 2-3 cm thick. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 30mm thick.
Using a pastry cutter, cut the dough into regular squares (about 8x8cm). Now make a diagonal cut from the corners of each square:

Fold over every other point to the center, overlapping them slightly and pressing gently.

With a fork, prick the center of each pinwheel.
Drop a good spoonful of pastry cream in the centre of each danish and top with a preserved apricot half.

Cover the pastries with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove for about 1 and ½ hours (or until doubled in size).
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C and bake for about 18 minutes.
Once cooked, the apricot halves will look a bit dry, but don’t worry, just brush the pastries with apricot glaze and they will look shiny and delicious again.

Danesi alle Albicocche di Luca Montersino

Potete trovare la ricetta passo per passo qui: Danesi Montersino Parte 1, Danesi Montersino Parte 2, Danesi Montersino Parte 3.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Focaccia Barese

A great recipe from the Apulian chef Palma D’Onofrio.
The mushed potatoes give this focaccia a nice, sweet flavour.
Focaccia is present in many variants in Italy itself. This one is from Bari. Enjoy!

Per leggere la ricetta in Italiano andare al fondo del Post

  • Flour 00, 200g
  • Fine Semolina Flour, 100g
  • Potatoes, 250g (Boiled and mashed & weighted after cooking)
  • Fresh yeast, 13g
  • Lukewarm water, 250g
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 50g
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Cherry Tomatoes, approx. 20
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Rock Salt


Dissolve the yeast in some lukewarm water (taken from the 250g) and whisk thoroughly. Pour the yeast mixture into a bowl, add 00 flour, semolina flour, mashed potatoes (still warm), a pinch of sugar and olive oil.

Start mixing the ingredients together, and work the dough for 10-15 minutes.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for an hour.

Oil a round baking tin with olive oil and pat the dough out onto the tin. Using your fingers make some holes on the dough surface, and insert the cherry tomatoes - cut in halves - nicely into the holes.

Brush with a mixture of warm water and olive oil and sprinkle with rock salt.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it doubled in size.

Bake the focaccia in a preheated oven to 220ÂșC for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Focaccia Barese di Palma D’Onofrio


  • Farina 00, 200g
  • Farina di Semola, 100g
  • Patate lesse, 250g (pesate dopo cotte)
  • Lievito di birra, 13g
  • Acqua tiepida, 250g
  • Olio extra vergine di oliva, 50g
  • 1 pizzico di zucchero
  • Pomodorini, circa 20
  • Olio extravergine di oliva per condire
  • Sale grosso


Bollire e schiacciare le patate.

In una ciotola amalgamare: le farine, le patatate schiacciate ancora tiepide, lo zucchero, l’olio ed il lievito sciolto in un po’ d’acqua tiepida.

Lavorare l’impasto, riporlo nella ciotola e coprire con della pellicola alimentare trasparente. Lasciare lievitare per almeno un’ora.

Trasferire l’impasto in una teglia ben oleata e fare pressione con le dita sulla superficie della pasta per ottenere dei buchi. Tagliare i pomodorini a meta’ e disporli nei buchi.

Preparare un’emulsione con acqua e olio. Versarla sulla focaccia e cospargerla con del sale grosso.

Coprire di nuovo con la pellicola trasparente, far lievitare una seconda volta fino al raddoppio del volume ed infornare a forno caldo (circa 220°) per circa mezz'ora.