tea party, and it reminded me once again that I have never tackled the Danish. The method is very similar to a sweet, eggy croissant, so there was no reason for me to put it off yet another year. Besides, I had a whole lot of blueberry and cherry preserves that I could use as filling, plus some almond flour left over from the macarons that I could use for bear claws.
One apology, and that is that this is the one-egg version. It makes a lot. The main difference between croissants and danish is that the danish dough uses an egg. You're actually going to go through three by the time you make the fillings and egg wash the pastries. I'm using the Bible's recipe because it was the smallest one I could find, but I'm reducing the butter by a stick. They specify two dozen pastries out of the batch, but I made them out of 3" squares instead of 4" and ended up with more. It's a good thing they are freezable.
1 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 packages (5 tsp) dry yeast
about 4 C flour
*1-1/4 C milk
1 C (2 sticks) butter - not margarine
1. Warm milk and sugar to 100ºF. Stir in yeast and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. In stand mixer with paddle, stir together 1-1/2 C flour and the salt. Stir in milk mixture and beat on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Add 1-1/2 C flour to make a soft dough and beat until stringy, about 2 minutes.
3. Turn out dough onto liberally floured board and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Because of the egg, the dough will remain sticky. Do not add too much flour, hoping it will firm up. Place in lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. There's a lot of yeast in this dough; it won't take long.
4. While dough is rising, roll sticks of butter between two pieces of waxed paper to make a 12" by 8" rectangle. It isn't easy and you have to lean on it pretty hard to get the sticks started. Place sheet in freezer to firm.
*3/4 C almond flour
1/4 C sugar
*1/8 tsp almond extract
1 egg white
*sliced almonds for decoration
1. Stir together almond flour and sugar, then stir in extract and egg white. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm. Fills about 12 bear claws.
Cream Cheese Filling
1/2 C cream cheese (half a brick)
1/4 C powdered sugar
*1 egg yolk
*1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1. Beat together cream cheese and sugar. Beat in yolk and extract until mixture is smooth. Place in fridge to firm up until needed.
For Jam fillings, have the jar ready. You don't put it on the danish until it comes out of the oven because the high baking temperature will turn the jam into hard-crack candy. I made that mistake once with jam tarts.
Also, beat another egg with 1 Tb of water to make the egg wash.
1. Roll out other half of dough to 1/4" and cut into 3" or 4" squares. Cut a slash in each of the 4 corners reaching at least halfway to the center.
1. Roll out dough to 1/4" and cut into squares. Place one tablespoon cream cheese filling in center and fold in two opposing corners. Pinch to seal. Brush with egg wash and allow to proof at room temperature. If you want to bake the jam in, fold all four corners so the jam isn't directly exposed to the heat of the oven.
To bake: Preheat oven to 400º while danishes are proofing. Bake for 11-16 minutes, until golden brown, crisp, and puffy. Remove to cooling rack and place half a teaspoon of jam on the ones that need it. Before wrapping for storage, either at room temperature for one or two days or frozen for longer storage, allow to cool completely.
Makes 2 to 3 dozen, depending on size
Difficulty rating $@%!