Who doesn’t love a good Danish? Emphasis on good here. I’m talking about tantalizingly crisp pastry, stuffed (preferably, as much as is possible) with a sweet and tangy filling. It should be fresh—warm is best, and a cup of coffee (or two) should be at the ready. The best way to ensure that last part is to make the Danishes yourself at home (even with store-bought puff pastry dough!), where you’ll be in total control of everything from filling flavor to freshness to the perfect level of warmth. Which leads me to the topic of this discussion: deciding on the perfect shape(s) for your upcoming foray into deliciousness.
One of my favorite Danish shapes for its look, though it doesn’t allow as much room for filling—so use something super flavorful. I’m partial to a big scoop of dulce de leche.
This shape looks really great once baked, and is so easy to do! I like to fill these with a relatively smooth filling, like jam—but you can also use fresh fruit that breaks down easily in the oven, like berries.
This is a shape I used to see so often in bakeries—and I think it’s so elegant. I like to use this one to layer two fillings, or place a larger piece of fresh fruit (apricots, plums, etc.) on a base layer of cream cheese filling.
This shape is really versatile and looks sort of unassuming, but allows for a lot of filling in the middle (a huge pro for me). It’s great with multiple fillings—cheese plus fresh fruit, or jam and chocolate—because it can hold more than some of the other shapes. Try dusting the finished pastries with powdered sugar!
This shape is classic, almost like a miniature tart. It’s great for fresh fruit fillings or fillings with chunks (like nuts, chocolate chunks, etc.) because there are little “walls” on all sides to help keep them contained.
This shape is reminiscent of the way you make cinnamon rolls, and looks sort of like a bear claw! It’s great for smooth, spreadable fillings (nut butter, fruit butters, jams...), but you can always add a little texture by sprinkling nuts, coconut, grated chocolate, or chopped dried fruit over the filling.
This shape is as easy as they come, and I love the way the filling is visible from the edges. It’s another that can handle a little more filling, and works especially great with fresh fruit of all sorts.
The perfect shape for an excellent ratio of (plenty of) filling to (plenty of) crust. It works great with almost any kind of filling, and it's a great opportunity to layer multiple fillings if you like.
This is a little twist on the classic turnover shape: It’s a rectangle that’s also totally enclosed, and is the perfect base for score marks of all sorts, so it’s a great place to get creative and a little more elaborate, if you like!
Okay: Now what would you fold up into puff pastry? (Guava paste? Cream cheese? Oozy chocolate??) Dream big in the comments.