Ever come across a recipe and absolutely want to try it but you know it is going to put your baking skills to the absolute test so you file it away until you are “ready”? That is exactly what I did after watching Anna Olson make her danishes on the show Sugar years ago. Yeast? All that dough folding?! Yikes! But they look so good…
I had done enough waiting. I decided to get baking instead. FYI, if you are going to make these, they take FOREVER! Either give an entire day to it or break up into two days which is what I did.
Making the Dough
Combine 2 1/2 cups flour with 1 tsp fine salt.
Cut in 1 cup of unsalted cubed pieces of chilled butter into the flour and salt mixture.
Large bits of butter are good. You want to be able to see it. Do not over mix!
Mix together 2 1/2 tsp instant dried yeast, 2/3 cup 2% milk, 1/4 cup warmish water, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 room temperature egg.
Pour yeast mixture into dough until it just comes together. I had quite a bit leftover so do not just dump it all in there OK?
Place dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Making the Filling
I decided to go ahead and make the cream cheese filling on the first day. Cream together 1/2 cup room temp cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. Then add 2 tbsp sour cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla. BTW, this makes the best cream cheese filling I have ever had. Delicious! I used high fat products just to be safe.
Rolling out the Dough
On a lightly floured surface roll dough out into a long rectangle. Brush off excess flour and fold into 3.
Turn dough 90 degrees and roll out into a long rectangle.
Bring short ends together and fold again.
I think I screwed this part up. I was supposed to turn 90 degrees again but I folded it again.
Then I rolled it out and then folded it into 3.
Hopefully it had the same kind of effect. I find these kind of instructions very hard to visualize!
Chill dough for at least 2 hours.
Roll dough until 1/2″ thick. I was supposed to “Cut squares with a pastry wheel about 4 –inches across and place 1-inch apart on a parchment-lined baking tray.”
Um… What?! OK, first, this is supposed to make 18 servings. If I did what she said, I would only have 4 Danishes. Something was not right.
I waited until Reg came home and he confirmed the math was ridiculous. So I rolled the dough thinner so I could cut out 6 squares.
And wow, were they ever thick! After all that work, I was flippin’ nervous.
Putting the Danishes Together
I spooned a tbsp of the cream cheese into the center of each Danish. I topped with some of my favourite preserves instead of fruit. I used Black Label Fig Cabernet Wine Jelly, Black Label Ontario Montmorency Sour Cherry Fruit Spread and Double Fruit Blueberry Jam.
Now I was supposed to cut a 1/2″ slit from the corner of each edge to the center and bring 1 point from each other and pinch them together. I was exhausted at this point and missed that. Instead, I brought all four points together. Oh well!
I put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brushed on an egg wash. I baked them in a preheated 350F oven for 25 minutes.
They did get golden brown but they were so thick, they were not baked completely all the way through. I have no idea if these are even kind of what they are supposed to look like!
All I do know is the Fig Cabernet Wine Jelly was our favourite. It tasted the most sophisticated and special of all the Danishes.
This is not to say the rest were not fantastic. They were. They are huge though! Reg and I had to split them and they were still so filling.
The cherry was the most classic and I swear, that cream cheese filling…!!! Normally I hate that part, it always tastes fake or something. Not this time. It was heaven.
So I did my best. Some recipes are really hard to understand when written on a piece of paper and do not always translate well. I feel like something really got missed and more accurate measurements and numbers (like how many Danishes I should end up with) would have been very helpful.
This experience inspired me to make my own puff pastry from scratch for my next Cooking School for Delinquents’ class! I know, you would think I would want to run in the other direction but I am more determined than ever to figure these types of recipes out so I can share the technique with you.
In the end, these were delicious and that is really all that mattered. Thank you Anna! Wish I had done you more proud but I did my best!