Friday, February 13, 2015

Cook's Illustrated's Cheese Danishes

letter fold

folding the corners into a square

finished product

So here is my next difficult undertaking of pastries, and it turned out really well.  I think I could do better next time, they didn't rise quite as well as I think they should have, because I didn't let my yeast warm up before using it, but these were still the best danishes I have ever had, and they were so delicious.  Aaron gave them a 9, and the rest of us gave them a perfect 10.  I want to try them again with fruit, I think they will be better for a second go around, and they will taste better for Aaron with a different filling :).  Anyway, although these do take all day, they aren't really that difficult to make. I found these in my new Cook's Illustrated Baking cookbook, and I love how the instructions are so clear as to make everything work.  Each danish was 506 calories, and I have added some extra pictures to make the folding job easier.  Here's what to do:

1/3 c warm whole milk
1 egg
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t instant yeast
3/4 t salt

12 T unsalted butter, cut into 3 equal pieces, chilled
1 T flour

1 1/2 c powdered sugar
5 t milk
1 t lemon juice

1 c powdered sugar
1 T milk

Mix milk and egg together.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 1 1/4 c flour, sugar, yeast and salt on low speed.  Slowly add the milk mixture and mix about 2 minutes more.  Knead the dough about 8 minutes more, checking to see if the dough needs flour after about five minutes, if it is too sticky or doesn't come together.  Grease a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Lay butter pieces side by side on parchment paper.  Sprinkle the 1 T flour over it, then cover with another parchment piece.  Gently pound the butter with a rolling pin until butter is softened and flour is fully incorporated, then roll it into a 5-inch square.  Wrap the square in plastic and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Roll the chilled dough into a nine inch square on a floured surface.  Place chilled butter square diagonally in center of dough.  Fold the corners of dough up over butter square so the corners meet in the middle and seal seams.  Gently tap the dough with your rolling pin, starting from the center and working outward, until the square becomes larger and the butter begins to soften.  Gently roll dough into an 11-inch square.  Fold dough into thirds like a letter (first picture), then fold the rectangle into thirds to form a square (second picture).  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for two hours.  Repeat the rolling and folding another time and refrigerate another two hours before using.  When ready to make your individual danish, choose your filling, we made a cream cheese filling, and make it ahead of time so it cools.  Make the glaze by mixing all ingredients together.  Make the icing by mixing all ingredients together.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll danish into a 15 inch square and cut dough into 9 equal pieces.  Place cooled filling in the center of the dough, then fold the corners together.  Place the danishes on the parchment lined cookie sheet, then let rise in a warm place, covered, for about 30 minutes.  Bake danish about 15-20 minutes, then brush with glaze.  Let the danish cool completely, then drizzle with icing.  Let the icing set about 20 minutes, then serve.

1 comment:

  1. This looks so good. When do you ever find time to cook things like this that take so much time when you are so busy with boys and school? Love mom