How To Make Home-Made Mara Nyika Easter Pastries

Break away from tradition and tuck into Chef Benjamin Ontita’s Easter pastries. Even in the remote Mara bush, these baked beauties taste utterly delectable!

Guests at Great Plains Mara Nyika Camp in Kenya don’t talk about just their safari adventures – often rave about the breakfast pastries! They are surprised to taste such fresh and quality products in the middle of the Masai Mara bush setting – but these little pastries can prove anyone wrong.

Making pastries can be fun and personalised – once the dough is made you can get a variety of products from it as you just need to substitute the filling. For example the same procedure can be used to make chocolate croissants, almond croissants, blueberry Danish etc. So choose the fillings depending on your taste!

For the dough:
950gms White Flour
150 gms Sugar
20 gms Salt
30 gms Yeast
150 ml Milk
150 ml Cooking Cream
200 ml Water
500 gms Unsalted Butter ( folding)
1 Egg – for egg wash

For the Pastry Cream (Used in making of the Danish pastry)
250ml milk
75gms sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
22.5 gms corn flour or custard powder
Few drops of vanilla essence

For the Cream Pastry:
1 In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
2 In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and corn flour; then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs.
3 Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs do not curdle or scorch on the bottom.
4 When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Keep aside to cool

To prepare the dough:
1 Mix all ingredients together to make a soft dough.
2 Chill the dough for 2 hours then fold in the butter.
3 After folding in the butter roll the dough and make the first turn (fold the pastry in half). Then chill the dough for an hour.
4 After the hour roll the dough and make a second turn. Chill the dough for another hour. Then make a third final turn.
5 Divide this dough into two.

To make the Croissants:
1 Roll one-half of the dough and cut into triangles for croissants.
2 Fill the triangles with any filling you would like (experiment with what you have from jams to Nutella!)
3 Start rolling the croissant from the base of the triangle to the tip.
4 Apply egg wash and keep aside to proof.
5 Once croissants are proofed (almost double the size) bake at 170 degrees C for 10 minutes

To make the Danish pastry:
1 Roll the other half of the dough to requires size, then spread the homemade pastry cream evenly on the dough.
2 Sprinkle raisins evenly on the dough (or anything else you have in the cupboard – be experimental!)
3 Roll the dough starting from the far end towards yourself.
4 Once at the end apply egg wash to seal the dough.
5 Cut the rolled dough into desired sizes, apply egg wash and keep aside to proof.
6 Once are proofed (almost double the size) bake at 170 degrees C for 10 minutes.

Recipe provided by Chef Benjamin Ontita of Great Plains Mara Nyika Camp in Kenya

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