Thursday, August 26, 2010
It's amazing, isn't it? That 2 days of work can be distilled into one picture. Yes, this is a pic of the best of the best, but that does puzzle me sometimes. It was a lot of fun making these, though.
For those of you that could possibly be intimidated by a large recipe, don't look, this is pretty long. So long that I've created a PDF file with the recipe as well as how to get these cool shapes, and I will link it below.
And, yes, I know that these aren't technically authentic danishes. But, where I'm from (the Pacific Northwest), when you ask for a danish in a restaurant, this is what you get - this tender, flaky pastry dough topped with a sweet filling.
Wow, I had so much to say about these, but writing the recipe out took so much energy, I'm quite speechless.
I made these for a friend of mine in Oregon. As some of you know, I worked my way through college as a sports statistician. Last year, when I heard there was a semi-pro team in my county (the GH Bearcats), I contacted one of the owners to volunteer to help them with stats. I created my own stat sheets, including halftime and game reports, and have been doing it ever since. It's fun, and gives me a lot to do. I like to have some sort of purpose when I get behind the wheel of the car to go places, and going to their away games has been fun.
The last game of their regular season was in Medford (i.e. VERY far away). I met my friend Tim in Salem (which is about 1/2 way), and we drove down...well, he drove down and back in my car. Such a great friend to shoulder 1/2 the driving on that day. I'm so happy that I took him some of these great danishes (and some of my jams)!
These danishes are soo good. The dough freezes well, too. So you can shape them and freeze them in shape. Then just thaw in the refrigerator and bake them fresh!
The dough is what's called a laminated dough. All that means is there's butter layers in the dough that make it flakey when you bake it. Kind of like croissants. Well, exactly like croissants! The difference between this dough and croissants is it has more eggs and sugar, and is flavored with cardamom and vanilla. Although the recipe can look intimidating, trust me, it's not at all. Give it a try, you will be very happy with the results.
Also, if you do want to try the recipe, download the printable pdf.
Adapted from Nick Malgieri
¾ cup milk
2 T. yeast (or 2 packages)
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ t. salt
1 t. vanilla
½ t. cardamom
4 T butter, lightly chilled and cut into small chunks
1/3 c. flour
3 ½ sticks (14 oz) unsalted butter, slightly chilled
Heat milk to lukewarm, about 100 degrees. This took me about 40 seconds in the microwave on 75% power. Whisk in yeast and a little sugar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until yeast starts to bubble. In the mixing bowl of a large mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, cardamom, and butter. Process until butter has been incorporated into the dry ingredients.
Add cardamom, vanilla, eggs, and milk mixture. Mix just until mixture forms a ball. If it does not form a ball, add up to ¼ c. flour at a time until dough forms a ball. Scrape dough out onto a floured work surface and cover with a towel. Let rest 5 minutes. Gently knead dough 6 or 8 times, adding more flour if dough is soft or very sticky. Dough should have enough flour to just come together and be soft, but not too sticky. Place in refrigerator and refrigerate 1-8 hours. When you are ready to work with the dough, prepare the butter
For the butter: Place a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper on a work surface. Sprinkle ½ the flour over the wrap and put butter on top of flour. Sprinkle remaining flour over the butter and pound the butter with a rolling pin to make it malleable. Roll the butter into a cylinder.
Remove dough from refrigerator and press into a 6x12” rectangle. Cut the butter into dabs and place over the top 6” of the rectangle. Fold the non-buttered dough over the buttered portion and seal the edges.
Roll dough back to 6x12 and fold the ends of the 12” side towards the middle of the dough, and then fold again. Your final dough should be approximately 6x3. Repeat this 3 times, refrigerating the dough as the butter gets soft and the dough becomes hard to manage.
Double wrap the dough and refrigerate at least 2 hours, until ready to use. When ready to use, cut dough into 4 pieces, and roll into 4” strips. Cut each strip into 4x4” squares to shape the dough. Shape and fill with desired filling (see below).
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, and let finished, filled pastries rest 30 minutes at room temperature. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (if desired), and bake at 375 for approximately 15 minutes until golden brown. Drizzle with glaze, if desired.
Cream Cheese – Combine 8 oz softened cream cheese ½ t. vanilla, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup sugar until smooth. Fill dough with ½ T. mixture before baking.
Raspberry Jam – Place 2 t. jam before baking
Apricot Jam – Place 2 t. jam in pastry before baking
Bear Claw filling – Purchase or make almond paste. Roll 2 t. into a rope approximately 3” long and use to fill. Top bear claws with sliced almonds to replicate the claws.
Icing (drizzle after pastry has cooled) – Combine 1 c. powdered sugar, ¼ t. vanilla or almond, 2 t. butter, and 1-3 t. milk until glazing consistency.
Egg Wash – Beat 1 egg with 2 t. water.