DANISH PASTRY WITH CHEESE FILLING

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     You’ve all tasted Danish pastry.  It’s good, right?  You bet.  However, have you ever tasted warm pastry straight from the oven?  It is unbelievably delicious.  Making homemade is a little time consuming, but it is very easy.  Really.  And the difference between store-bought and fresh homemade is a world of difference.  Imagine a slightly crispy, buttery exterior, and layer upon layer of flaky pastry.  No special equipment is necessary.  If you have a food processor, it’s quicker, but it can all be done by hand with a pastry blender. 

     The fillings and shapes are endless.  They do not have to look perfect, mine certainly don’t.  Did they taste knock-your-socks-off spectacular?  You bet!

INGREDIENTS:  Yields 8 large pastries

1 ½ cups bread flour + extra for work surface and rolling pin

2 TBSP sugar

2 tsp active dry yeast

¾ tsp salt

1 ¾ sticks cold butter, chopped

2 large eggs

¼ cup milk

2 TBSP water

Cheese filling, Recipe below

Jam or fresh berries

 

PREPARATION:

In your food processor, add flour, sugar, yeast and salt.  Chop the butter into small chunks and add that as well.  Pulse until mixture is small and crumbly.  You should see little round bits of butter throughout.

In a large bowl, whisk together only 1 egg, milk, and water.  In three batches, add the dough mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until everything is mixed and evenly moistened.

Lay a long piece of plastic wrap out, and place the dough on one end.  Flatten out to approximately 12” or so, wrap well and chill for at least 2 hours.  (I left it over night in the fridge).

Lightly flour your work area and roll the dough with a floured rolling pin to approximately 8” by 15”.  It doesn’t need to be perfect at this stage. With the short end facing you, lift up the dough and pretend you’re folding a business letter.  You will need a bench scraper or spatula to lift it cleanly.  You’ll make one flap, and then go to the other short end and lift that over the first flap.  You should see three distinct layers.  Lightly flour your work surface with each turn.  This will get easier as you go. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll again.  Turn again, 90 degrees and roll again to 8 x 15.  (You have done this 3 times now, and what you’re doing is incorporating the butter evenly throughout the dough mixture.  This is what will give you the desired flakiness).

Wrap it in the plastic wrap again and refrigerate for another 2 hour minimum.

Repeat the rolling and folding process 3 more times.  You have now rotated and folded a total of 6 times.  Chill the dough again.  The dough must remain cold.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12”- 12 ½”square. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 equal squares. Transfer the squares to a stoneware baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours.

Prepare the cheese filling and let it sit out.  You don’t want to mix a super cold mixture onto dough that you want to rise.

CHEESE FILLING INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces cream cheese

Optional: 1 TBSP cottage cheese

2 TBSP confectioner’s sugar

1 egg yolk

1 egg white

Dash of salt

½ tsp vanilla

Jam or Fresh Fruit

In mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, cottage cheese if using, sugar, egg yolk, salt and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Let this sit out at room temperature while dough is rising.  Place approximately 1/8th of the mixture onto each risen pastry, then top with a little fruit or jam.

There are all sorts of fancy ways to shape your pastries, but the easiest ways are to make a ball out of one of the squares, then press it down with your finger tips or a spoon to make an indentation in the center and a ridge around the edges.  Fill with cheese and fruit.  Another way is to fill a square and then pull all the corners up to meet in the center.  Pinch together to seal.

Preheat oven to 425° F

Beat the egg white with a fork and brush the tops and sides of the pastries. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the baking sheet and continue to bake until pastries are beautifully puffed and golden brown.

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

¾ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 TBSP milk

Dash of salt

¼ tsp vanilla

In a small bowl, whisk 1 cup confectioner’s sugar with milk, salt and vanilla until of drizzling consistency. If too stiff, add ½ tsp milk.  Taste it.  If you need a bit more vanilla, add it.  If you’d like to add a few drops of almond extract, add it.

With a large spoon, drizzle mixture over warm pastries.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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