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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Danish Pastries You'll Want to Eat

My experience with Danish…of the pastry sort…has been bleak. I blame it on icky motels' “complimentary breakfasts” where the boxed Danish (usually resembling a coffeecake) is a standard feature…neighboring stale white bread, a broken toaster and jelly in plastic containers.

Inside the feeble pastry box, with a plastic “window” (try not to look in!), is a slab of soggy-sweet Danish dough. It’s usually filled with some sort of fruity/tar-like goop and high-fructose corn syrup is mandatory. This Danishy thing is disgusting just to look at, let alone eat.

But it’s simply not fair, right or reasonable to judge all Danish against this sucrose abomination. And so, let’s figure out the real deal with Danish. Is it actually edible?

If you tend to enjoy warm, yeasty breakfast pastries (given they are made by a competent baker), then you’ll make room in your heart and tummy for the Danish. It’s sweet, crisp and soft at the same time, sticky in a nice way, and can host a variety of fillings from cream cheese to fruit to nuts to whatever else…in fact, if you have any interesting Danish filling ideas, let me know!

Making Danish follows almost exactly the same process as making Croissants (for reference, see my 7/24/09 post on Croissants). The main difference is that Danish dough contains more eggs, which makes it a bit softer and more tender. It is formed into a variety of traditional shapes and is usually brushed with some sort of fruit jam/glaze immediately after it emerges from the oven. I especially like the way a Danish wreath looks, and it’s actually a simple shape to make.

You start by rolling the dough into a rectangle, and then you fill the middle (I used a lemon cream cheese filling topped with blueberries). Be sure to leave a bit of an edge on so you can seal it without the filling gushing out.

Then, you roll it up, shape in into a circle and make slits along the sides (mine were about 2 inches deep and 2 inches apart). You then turn the dough in between the slits to face up (so you can see the filling).

Then you bake it, glaze it…and eat it.


Heather said...

This all looks soooooo good!! I need to come to SF and visit you!

Becky Vayo said...

Haha...I will bake you whatever you want if you visit me!!

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