Prep 1 hr 30 mins
Cook 4 hrs 30 mins
In a wild and crazy moment, I decided my life wasn't complete if I didn't attempt making danish pastry from scratch. The results were great, but I have a new appreciation for the time and effort that goes into producing a breakfast pastry! This recipe originated in a cookbook by Nick Malgieri. I received the recipe via chef chocolat, who made some modifications; and then I made my own changes. Never having seen the original recipe, I'm not sure how much it has changed. You can make a plain cheese version, but it's a tad boring in my opinion. If you're going to invest the time to make this recipe, add a spoonful of marmalade or other jam/preserves or a sprinkling of chocolate chips to the filling.
Quick Danish Pastry Dough
- 3 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1⁄4 cup warm water
- 1⁄4 cup skim milk, scalded and cooled
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces cold unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 16 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
- 1⁄2 cup orange marmalade (or other fruit of your choice) or 1⁄2 cup chocolate chips (about 10-15 chips per danish)
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch salt
- 1⁄2-1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 1⁄2 cups powdered sugar (sifted after measuring)
- 2 tablespoons skim milk (I prefer milk because it makes a creamier icing) or 2 tablespoons water (I prefer milk because it makes a creamier icing)
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- Make the pastry dough: Whisk yeast into warm water. Wait 1-2 minutes, then whisk again. Whisk in milk.
- Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to mix.
- Cut 4 tablespoons butter into thin slices and add to processor. Pulse to a fine texture -- not too much where it becomes pasty.
- Cut remaining butter into 1/2 inch cubes and add to processor. Pule twice, 1-2 seconds each time. Remove dough and place in mixing bowl.
- Whisk eggs into yeast mixture and add to dough. Using a rubber spatula, hold blade horizontally. Press/dig spatula down into dough, repeating until dough comes together, turning the bowl while you work. The dough will be soft and sticky.
- Leave dough in bowl, covering dough surface tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1-2 hours.
- Place the chilled dough on a floured surface and sprinkle flour on top. Press dough into a rectangle (twice as long as it is wide).
- Starting at narrow edge farthest away from you, firmly press with a rolling pin in short parallel strokes. Seal any sticky areas with a bit of flour, and don't allow dough pieces to stick to rolling pin. Repeat, then press once across width of dough. You should have a 1/2 inch thick rectangle.
- Sprinkle flour above and below dough.
- Rolling Directions: Create a rectangle 18 x 8: Starting on the edge nearest you, roll once away from you in length and once in width. Do NOT roll over the end/edge of the dough.
- Folding Directions: Fold the two narrow ends in toward the middle, leaving a 1 inch gap in the center. Fold the top to bottom to form 4 layers. Turn dough so folded edge is on the left.
- Repeat rolling and folding directions. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but no more than 12 hours.
- Filling: Add filling ingredients (except marmalade and chocolate chips) to a medium-size bowl. Beat together with a spatula (I use my KitchenAid mixer).
- Place HALF of the chilled dough on floured surface and sprinkle with flour.
- Using a rolling pin, press the dough in firm, parallel strokes to soften it. Flour surface and dough again if needed. Roll dough out into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Slide dough onto first cookie sheet and refrigerate 10 minutes (until firm).
- Repeat the above process with the second half of the pastry dough and place on second cookie sheet and chill 10 minutes until firm.
- Remove dough from refrigerator, leave dough in place on parchment paper. Cut each sheet of dough into 12 4-inch squares, keeping them in place on the parchment paper.
- Drop a heaping teaspoon of filling onto the center of each square. Top with a heaping teaspoon of marmalade or chocolate chips.
- Fold the dough corners into the middle, overlapping the filling by about 1/4 inch. Cover and let rise 20-30 minutes until they begin to puff. I did not notice much puffing.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Prepare the egg wash and brush to top of each pastry. Sprinkle with almonds or additional chocolate chips.
- Bake 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is set. My pastries were done at 15 minutes, so start checking after 10 minutes.
- Cool on wire rack.
- Combine icing ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over very low heat until lukewarm. Drizzle icing over slightly cooled pastry and allow to set.