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Archive for the ‘Danishes & Croissants’ Category

This is another recipe using the Danish Dough.

First, you make a filling with prunes, corn syrup, sugar, and cinnamon.

This all cooks in some water for a while and then is cooled completely before going into a food processor to blend.

A half-batch of Danish Dough is rolled out into a large rectangle and cut into individual squares.  Or “squares.”

Each square is cut and then folded to form the pinwheel.  The MSBH has easy-to-follow instructions on this and it’s not hard at all.

Then the filling is spooned onto the center of the pinwheel.

The pinwheels are placed on a baking sheet and covered to proof.

Then they are brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with sanding sugar just before going in the oven.

My tips got a wee bit dark but other than that the whole process went off without a hitch.

The danish part itself is good, as always – flakey, buttery pastry that is delicious with the sweet crunch of the sanding sugar.  The filling was not so good.  It’s very, very sweet and prune-y so if you like sweet & prune-y, you may very well love it.  I, however, did not.  I do like the construction and look of these treats, but I might opt for a cream cheese/jam type filling in the future.

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I have very mixed feelings about these little treats.  On the one hand, they taste like a million bucks.  One the other hand, they look like freaky crap.

Basically you take a half batch of Danish Dough and roll it out, then cut individual squares.  Onto these individual square pieces, you place a dollop of Pastry Cream and then top with two apricot halves (the MSBH instructs the use of canned apricot halves and they seem to work wonderfully).

The squares are folded into bow-ties and allowed to proof before baking.

During the baking process, all my bow-ties unfolded, making these less apricot bow-ties and more apricot canoes. I don’t see how this could be remedied, as I took great care to avoid the problems I encountered when I made the Cheese Danishes.  I was careful not to fill the individual pastries too full, I didn’t wrap them too tightly, and I made sure that the dough was moist and pinched together securely.

The proofing allows the pastries to warm considerably before baking, so perhaps they should be chilled a bit just before putting in the oven (that old pastry adage about pastries: hot oven, cold dough)?

Despite the final product looking like two sunny-side-up eggs on a weird piece of curly toast, they taste really good.  Like, phenomenally good.  The apricots sync very well with the vanilla Pastry Cream and as always, the buttery flaky danish dough itself is divine.

So I’ll give it some thought and see if I can’t figure out a better presentation for these.  They really deserve a better presentation – at the very least something less akin to the old  egg in a basket.

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Much like fanny packs, I like these danishes better in theory than in practice.  The pastry bread itself (the MSBH Danish Dough) is, as always, delicious: buttery, flaky, perfect.  The filling just doesn’t play out well, however.  It’s a layering of pistachio pastry cream and chopped semi-sweet chocolate.  Again, brilliant in theory but it just doesn’t play out in the end.

The MSBH recipe for Pastry Cream is mixed with pistachio nut paste.  Pistachio nut paste is essentially just like natural peanut butter, only made from pistachios.  It’s very oily, you have to stir it well to incorporate the oil, and it smells like a dream.

This is mixed will with the chilled pastry cream.  In the MSBH photos demonstrating the different steps to this recipe, their resulting cream is a beautiful soft green hue, but mine remained fairly yellow.

Half of a recipe for Danish Dough is rolled out into a rectangle and the pistachio pastry cream is spread on top.  Then, chopped chocolate is spread on top of that.  I think the recipe calls for far too much chocolate.  I held back about 1/3 cup and I still had too much chocolate for my liking.

The rectangle is then rolled into a log just like the Sticky Buns and the entire log is chilled to make it easier to slice into the individual rolls.

Even chilled, the log was difficult to slice.  The chocolate chunks would slide around on the slippery pastry cream.  You know what would have been better than chopped chocolate?  Chopped pistachios and a sparse sprinkling of miniature chocolate chips.

The individual rolls are then covered with plastic and allowed to proof until doubled in size.  This took FOREVER.

Then it’s just a matter of baking.  My rolls did not remain tightly wrapped like the finished product in the MSBH photo, but I still think they’re presentable.  As for taste, like I said, the pastry itself was divine but the pistachio pastry cream – which tasted AMAZING by itself – was completely overshadowed by the chocolate.  In fact, the chocolate pretty much overwhelms everything about this danish – there was just too much of it.

I will probably attempt these again, but I’ll reign in the chocolate for sure.

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It has taken me this long to do a recipe using the Danish Dough because I have never been a big fan of danishes. They always struck me as too sweet, too soggy, too bland, too greasy, and they sit like a brick in my stomach.

Well, that has all changed.  Danishes can be amazing.  The danish recipe in the MSBH produces a light, flaky pastry full of flavor.  If the danishes at local bakeries were this good, I’d have a major danish addiction.

Once the MSBH recipe for Danish Dough is made, these are fairly easy.  The filling is made with Farmers cheese, which struck me as unique.  This is another ingredient from the MSBH that I had to drive to Cheyenne to procure.  Laramie grocers just don’t offer a wide range of cheeses.  I suppose Chevre or something like that could be used instead.

Colorado dairies are very proud of their cheeses.

The cheese mixture that fills the MSBH’s cheese danish also contains golden raisins which may strike you as weird, but believe me they are fantastic little burst of sweet.  Some other clever additions make this a simple but impressive danish filling.

Half of a recipe of Danish Dough is rolled out and cut into squares, then the filling is placed in the middle.

Then each square is folded into the individual danishes.   The MSBH provides really clear instructions for this, including photos, which is one of the reasons I love that book so much.

A little extra rising time, an egg wash, and some sprinkled sugar then into the oven they go.  Within a short time, the kitchen smells like heaven and you get a panful of the prettiest little pastries.

All but one of my danishes came unfolded during the baking process and I have no doubt it is because my dough was too flour-covered (from rolling out) when I folded the individual danishes together and because I put too much filling in each one.  Live and learn.

I still thought they looked gorgeous – golden brown with a subtle sheen from the egg wash.  And the aroma!  So delicious.  The cheese and butter and dough all combine to make these smell so good once right from the oven.

And they tasted AMAZING.  The Farmers cheese is so rich, thick, and kind-of tangy but the golden raisins are sweet and burst in your mouth after being baked in the pastry.  The danish itself is buttery and flaky, crisp on the outside but tender and soft on the inside.  This was the perfect breakfast with apple slices and a cup of dark coffee.  I felt very French.

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This is a yeasted foundation dough that will be used to make several recipes in the MSBH, including danishes, sticky buns, and sugar buns.

This dough has pretty much the exact same ingredients as brioche, but the process to bring these ingredients together is totally different.  Instead of kneading the butter into the dough, it is placed between layers of dough and then the entire batch is folded over and over to incorporate the butter without ever fully mixing it into the dough itself.

It is all quite a process and takes several hours, as you have to chill the dough between each of the folding stages.

So, you begin with a lump of dough that has been mixed briefly in the electric mixer.

This is then kneaded by hand just enough to create a smooth ball that will be wrapped and placed in the refrigerator to chill.   Here is where I think the wording of this recipe should be clearer: the text says to “wrap well with plastic and refrigerate.”

Now, I read and re-read that sentence over and over again because I knew that this dough had a fair amount of yeast in it because, you know, I had just made it.  There was a lot of yeast mixed with lots of things yeast loves: warm milk, flour, and sugar.  I knew that this dough was going to be growing.  Even in a cold environment, it was going to expand.  “Wrap[ping] well with plastic” was a bit ambiguous.  Surely it should have read, “Place in a bowl and top with plastic,” right?  But “wrap well with plastic” implies what one would do with a disc of pie crust dough – wrap it up so it doesn’t dry out.  But I knew that was a bizarre thing to do with yeasted dough.

But in the end I decided wrapping “well” meant wrapping tightly enough to keep it from drying out but loosely enough to give it room to expand.  That’s not an easy thing to do with plastic wrap, and here’s what happened within an hour of my placing it in the refrigerator:

So I placed it in a bowl and covered that with plastic, which is what I should have done in the first place.

Once it has chilled several hours (or overnight), the majority of the butter the recipe calls for is incorporated through the folding process.  The dough is rolled out into a large rectangle and the butter is distributed onto 2/3 of the surface area.  Then the rectangle is folded into thirds like an envelope.

Once folded, it’s rolled out again into a large rectangle just like before.  No more butter is added at this point, but it is folded into thirds again and refrigerated.

After chilling for an hour, it’s rolled out into a large rectangle and folded into thirds and then chilled again.  You repeat this several times.

The butter becomes more and more incorporated until the dough can be rolled out into a very flat and smooth rectangle.  You can still see some of the light-colored butter patched through the dough, but there are no bumps at all.  It takes a lot of muscle to roll out the large rectangles, as the dough gets very cold in the refrigerator.  This is definitely a labor-intensive recipe.

Once it has gone through all its rolls and folds and chills, it must chill again overnight before it can be used for any recipes.  It’s wrapped up in plastic wrap and it does continue to rise a bit in the refrigerator due to the yeast, but not too much.

All of the recipes in MSBH calling for danish dough require only half a batch be used, so at least you can get two recipes out of your efforts.

You can see the thin layers once the final “envelope” is cut in half.

(Recipes using this dough will be posted soon!)

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