I do love a good danish!
Truly, there is nothing I have enjoyed that I have not wanted to try and make for myself - make from scratch. The flaky and yet yeasty dough surrounding a lemon danish has intimidated me. I know that flaky layers are not easy to achieve. It takes time and effort to get them right.
So what prompted me to dive head first into danish pastries this weekend? Well, I have to thank Sid from Sid's Sea Palm Cooking for giving me the recipe and nudge to make these beauties!
Yes, that would be my lead into this month's Secret Recipe Club selection. Each month I am assigned a food blog and I have the pleasure of choosing the recipe that speaks to me. Then I get to come back here and tell you all about it. This really has been a pleasure the past few years. I have tried so many new and delicious recipes. I have tried things I never heard of before, and I have tried new ways of tackling the 'same old' flavors. Be sure to check out all the recipes from my group at the bottom of this post.
Getting assigned to Sid's blog was a real treat. Of course, that also made it really hard for me to choose just one recipe.
I would really like to try her Huevos Rancheros - there just isn't a good local fix for me right now and that Chile Verde recipe is calling for me to try! She also has a great selection of Danish recipes. I haven't tried many of those, but the Brunede Kartofler looks yummy! I just might always be on the lookout for new potato dishes...
And if I have to be honest, I didn't actually make the final selection. I listed off some possible dishes to my husband. As I went through my list I got the usual, "Uh-huh" or "Hmm". Food just doesn't excite him like it does me. But I did get his attention when I mentioned danishes. He immediately suggested I try that recipe from her blog and he brought me a jar of seedless Boysenberry jam to use.
I will chalk that up to excitement.
So, about those pastries...
This recipe is easy to follow. I have never made this pastry dough before, but I have worked with similar styles of recipes that fold the dough to create layers. It is very important to keep the butter chunks intact and the dough cold. That being said, I have a lot of room for improvement. While my dough wasn't buttery/flaky, it also didn't resemble a hockey puck. I consider that a win.
It all starts with a simple dough...
I made my dough in the food processor a couple days ahead of time. Then it went to chill in the fridge till I was ready.
The day before baking I pulled out my bowl of sticky dough and rolled it out on a lightly floured surface. I even chilled my rolling pin before rolling. Then I rolled out a big square and folded it in thirds, like a letter.
Then I rolled it out again into a rectangle about 10" by 24". Then again, folded it in thirds, turned the whole dough sheet and repeated the process. My kitchen was pretty warm, so I chilled the dough again before each roll out. This made it easy to fit around other household chores.
The folding may seem like a silly step, but it is very important for creating layers in the dough.
The morning I planned to bake these bad boys, I got up an hour earlier to soften the cream cheese and start shaping my pastries.
I rolled out the dough again and cut it into roughly 4" by 4" squares.Then I put on a little lemon cream cheese and a dollop of boysenberry jam. It was seedless and probably more than an actual dollop.
The I gave the tops a little egg wash and voila!
One tip, for the second batch I put in the fridge after shaping. The first batch was already baking. Chilling the dough before baking helped them keep their shape. The first batch came out as squares... the pinched edges were lost when the butter melted.
Ready to get baking?
Lemon Boysenberry Danishes (Spandauer)
recipe from Sid's Sea Palm Cooking
For the dough you will need:
- 1/4 c. luke-warm water
- 2 1/2 tsp. yeast
- 1/2 c. milk at room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks (8 oz) cold unsalted butter, cubed
Proof the yeast by sprinkling it over the water. It should become foamy in a few minutes if still active. If not, get new yeast and start over.
Whisk in the milk, egg, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a food processor add the flour and cubed butter and pulse until you have 1/2 inch bits. Don't over process. Fold into the wet ingredients, cover and refrigerate overnight. Or a day or two.
To doll out: On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the dough into a roughly 16" x 16" square. It doesn't have to be exact. Work quickly so you don't heat the dough. I suggest chilling your rolling pin, if possible. Then fold the dough in thirds like a letter. Return to chill for another hour or longer (overnight is fine).
On baking day, roll out again to a 10" x 24" rectangle. Again, it doesn't have to be exact. Fold in thirds and turn the dough. Repeat this folding. Then roll it out into a 20" square. Cut into 4" squares to be filled.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
For the filling you will need:
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 3 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
- 1 egg yolk
Blend ingredients together till smooth. Set aside
Also you will need:
- also 1 egg yolk + tsp. water whisked for an egg wash
- Boysenberry seedless jam.
For the icing you will need:
- 1 c. confectioners sugar
- 4-5 tsp. milk, or just enough to create a thick, but pourable drizzle
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Whisk together till smooth. Set aside while the pastries bake.
With your pastry squares, roll in the edges a little to form a cup for the filling. Put a little cream cheese in the middle and a teaspoon or so of jam.
Brush with egg wash and bake for 21 minutes, or until golden brown.