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Danish

To say that this was a project would be something of an understatement. And, I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure I would do it again… at least not like the way I did this time. See, my kids finished at school this past June and they are moving on to a new school in the fall. After six years with these wonderful teachers and administrators it was an emotional goodbye. (So much so that it’s taken me 6 weeks to muster the fortitude to write this post!)  I wanted to do something special for the women who work there and rebelled against the standard end of the year gifts like picture frames, coffee mugs, and chocolate. So, I decided I was going to cook them all breakfast. Here’s where the danish comes in.

I decided that this breakfast was going to be homemade, of course; no bag of bagels from this food blogger! I also wanted it to be varied with sweet and savory, protein and starch, and some fruit thrown in there too. I quickly settled on making quiche (1 Spinach and Feta and 1 Lorraine) and a large homemade fruit salad with mango, pineapple, watermelon, grapes, apples, cantaloupe, strawberries, and blueberries. Pretty straight forward stuff. But the “starch” and “sweet” is where I got to play.

I had decided on a coffee cake, because, who doesn’t love coffee cake? I went with the Crumb Cake of my dreams and felt pretty satisfied with my plan. Except, I like symmetry. Two quiches and one coffee cake felt unbalanced to me. So I started musing on what else to bring… Blueberry Lemon Crumble? Nah, I’d brought them a batch of those not a month before… Banana Bread? Nah, not enough pizzazz for what I was trying to do. Really what I wanted was something hard. Not because I wanted to impress them, but because I wanted to communicate how much they matter to us by really making an effort.

So, while pondering what to make I found myself staring into the fruit bowl on my counter. Turns out there was a bag of dates there staring right back at me. Somehow, my brain jumped to danish. Turns out danish breads are yeast breads and I’ve been pestering myself for a while that I need to start playing around with yeast breads. I surfed a bit on the “inter-webs” and finally found a recipe I liked from Sass and Veracity that seemed doable. It’s just that it required two days in order to do it.

I’m not going to bore you with the gory details of danish making because I’m not even going to try to pretend that I have a firm understanding of the process. I just followed directions. For the dough recipe, you’ll have to go to Sass and Veracity’s Danish Braid Post. Do what she tells you to do and you’ll be fine. Her best advice there is to read the recipe through at least once (I’d say 3 times) before starting.

What I have to add to the party here are the fillings. They were darn good. Sweet cream cheese mixed with lemon and blueberry in one and then mixed with pureed dates and orange in another… Sweet lemony and orangey sugar glazes on top… it was hard not to steal pieces before taking it to the staff at school. Ok, I confess, I did steal one piece from each danish for Adam, the kids, and me to eat at home. We had to taste them if I was going to blog this after all! And it was smart too because when I went to pick up the plates at the end of the day both danishes were gone.

In short, I’ll definitely be doing this again, but on a day without also making 2 quiches, 1 coffee cake, and a giant fruit salad.

 

Braided Danish Dough

Prepare the dough according to Sass and Veracity’s instructions.

Fill one dough with 1/2 of the cheese filling (recipe below) and then top with the blueberry filling (recipe below) and then braid and bake according to Sass and Veracity’s instructions.

Fill the other dough with the date paste (recipe below) and then top with the other 1/2 of the cheese filling (recipe below) and then braid and bake according to Sass and Veracity’s instructions.

Top with the glaze (recipe below) once the danish is completely cooled.

 

Sweet Cheese Danish Filling

Makes enough for two danish braids

Ingredients 

  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
  • ½ cup evaporated cane juice
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp AP flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
Instructions 

  • In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and the sugar until smooth.
  • Add in the egg and beat until smooth.
  • Add in the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

Blueberry Danish Filling
Ingredients 

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • ¼ cup evaporated cane juice
  • 1/8 cup AP flour
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
Instructions 

  • Clean and pick through the blueberries and discard any stems.
  • In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients until combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the blueberries and stir to evenly coat.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Date Paste Danish Filling
Ingredients 

  • 15 dates, pitted
  • ¼ cup very very hot (almost boiling) water
  • 1 tsp orange extract
Instructions 

  • Pitt the dates and add them to the work bowl of a food processor.
  • Turn on the food processor and while pureeing very carefully pour in the hot water and orange extract.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Danish Glaze
Ingredients
For the Blueberry Danish: 

  • Confectioner’s Sugar
  • Lemon Juice

For the Date Danish:

  • Confectioner’s Sugar
  • Orange Juice
Instructions 

  • Whisk in just enough juice to 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar to make the mixture smooth and drippy. Start with 1 tbsp of juice and go in small increments until you have the consistency you want.
  • Drizzle it over the danish and spread it evenly with a knife.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)