When I hear the word “Danish” my mind drifts back to the Cow Palace…when you could choose between a delicious danish or a bagel w/cream cheese. I think I would take both because I was (ahem) am greedy. So when the opportunity arose to learn how to make danishes, well naturally I jumped at it. Who wouldn’t want to eat a warm danish at home, on the couch, while watching TV?! I joined my brother in a culinary class in SF and learned a lot about the whole process of Danish making. Follow the Cooking Guide to start yourself into the process!
Delicious Rating: A lot of work and baking skills go into this. This isn’t one of my easy recipes but it is good! Overworking the dough, temperatures not right, or too much flour can alter the end result for the worse. While they did turn out good, I wouldn’t bother baking them again. The cooking process called for hours of prep and a lot of clean-up only to yield 9 pastries that…sorry to admit…don’t nearly rival any store bought danish. It just wasn’t worth time and effort put into it. Fun experience though and glad I did cook them!
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I like to gather all my ingredients together before I start any recipe. I also read the recipe through to make sure I have everything and know what I am doing!
The base dough is pretty simple to make
Turn dough out onto counter and knead for 5 minutes, only adding small amounts of flour, if necessary. Be gentle with it, not pushing it down but rather away from you so it doesn’t stick as much to the surface or your hands. Dough should be fairly soft and somewhat sticky. Wrap the ball of dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Work the tablespoon of flour into the butter by hand or mix on the lowest speed of an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Do not aerate. Transfer to parchment paper and using the paper as a tool, shape the butter into a 5-inch square. Wrap and chill for 10-30 minutes. Butter should be cool but quite pliable. I love butter.
Take dough out and on a lightly floured surface roll it out into a 9-inch square. Place the chilled butter square diagonally on the dough and bring up the corners of the dough so they meet in the middle. Pinch the dough firmly along the seams to seal in the butter completely.
Using your rolling pin, start tapping the dough down, starting at the center and working your way toward the left and then the right to lengthen the square and soften the butter. Start rolling gently until you make an 11-inch square, checking often to make sure the dough is not sticking to the counter and adding more flour if necessary. Next fold the dough into thirds like a letter. Then fold into thirds again forming a square shape. This is your first ‘double turn’. Tap it down gently in-between folds with your hands. Wrap it in saran wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Repeat the last steps and re-roll dough out into an 11-inch square. Fold into thirds like a letter and then again into a square. This is your second ‘double turn’. You now have 36 layers of butter! Wrap the dough up again in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Roll dough to a 13-inch square. Chill 20 minutes to relax dough. Using a pizza wheel or knife, trim to an even 12 inch square then cut into 9 4-inch squares. (I did 8 but 9 works better) Cut a 1-inch slit at each corner or each square. Then fold up each corner to the middle to form a pinwheel, pressing down firmly in the center.
Now the fun part of shaping and adding jam
I created some other shapes to mix it up. The ones in the bottom row went flat in the baking process so that didn’t really work out!
Spoon a small amount, a small amount no matter how much you think you want because it will spread everywhere in the backing process, of jam into the center of each pinwheel. Besides jam I made a simple cream cheese cream…Softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a bit of vanilla. I thinly chopped a green apple and paired it with the cream cheese. I paired it too with the strawberry jam.
Brush with milk. Bake for 15 minutes or until a rich golden color covers the entire pastry.
While Baking prepare the Clear Glaze
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup corn syrup
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then cool. Brush over warm, not hot, Danish pastries.
While the Danishes are cooling prepare the Danish Icing
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp water (more if needed)
1 tsp corn syrup
Combine all in a bowl and mix until smooth. Add more water by teaspoons to form an icing that can be drizzled over the pastries.
Try not to eat all the icing. When cool drizzle with Danish icing and serve. Okay, so over half of the Danishes I made I ate before they were even cool, just dipped them right into the icing…yes, I am sad. But man, they were very good. I did add waayyy too much jam to some so it ended up looking like a delicious hot mess. Those are the ones I ate! It was about a full day’s work to reap a couple of pastries I finished in less than 30 minutes…lol, but seriously worth it!