Lovelies! I hope your fall is absolutely wonderful! So far, Minnesota is delivering big on the fall charm and beauty we come to expect living here. Which is only fair being that 6 months out of the year is FREAKING COLD! Stands to reason we should get a couple weeks of gorgeous to make it through the big freeze! Anyways, there was a rainy day last week where I spent the afternoon indoors making these tasty danish pastries. And then, the next morning, ate them on the front porch with coffee, falling leaves, and a cozy cardigan. I tell ya... life is good.
Most people I talk to have never attempted to make a pastry dough. Frankly, most don't even attempt dough of any kind. Scares the crap out of them.
I get it. Yeast. Yeast is a beast. haha... see what I did there? I'm a rhyming fool. Any dough requiring yeasts scares off the majority of the newbie and beginning bakers.
Stop being scared. Look that yeast in the eye and tell it what's up. Yeast is simply misunderstood. It needs a specific set of steps to work properly and then it will do fantastic things for you!
To speed up the process of yeast doing its thing "bloom" the yeast for about ten minutes by sprinkling it over the warm water, milk, and a bit of sugar. It will start it's yeasty thing and get your dough done faster.
Danish Pastry dough isn't right without the generous use of butter. Do NOT use any other form of fat no matter what kind of diet you are on. Eat the butter. Cold butter. Cold butter is the necessary ingredient to make Danish Pastry dough all sorts of flaky goodness.
This dough recipe can be made from start to finish in your food processor if you have a large one. I have a small food processor and need to do the mixing of the butter and dry ingredients in a bowl (I use my hands!).
There is absolutely no right or wrong way to roll out the pastry dough. Every time I make this recipe I roll it out a bit differently. Sometimes I place a ¼ cup between greased wax paper and press each out individually. Other times I roll ½ out into a large rectangle and cut it (shown above). Still other times I use a muffin pan to make little pastry bundles (spray the muffin tin, press your dough in, fill, and then close. Bake like normal.) Whatever way you choose just be sure to roll it out to about ¼ inch thick and flour or grease your surfaces and tools well!
I fill my pastry dough with a cream cheese filling (super easy recipe... 3 ingredients!) and some of my favorite jam.
The jam I choose is Tastefully Simple's Rhubarb Strawberry Fruit Spread. Using a delicious jam speeds up the process, and the sugar content in jam's makes the pastries just the right amount of sweet. Nevermind the fact that rhubarb and strawberry is a great flavor combo! Yeah, nevermind that :). P.S. Tastefully Simple also has a Sweet Pepper Jalapeno Jam that I use with these pastries sometimes... super fun!
When you have your pastries all filled you need to leave them alone to rise and get poofy. A terribly scientific term, I know... poofy. But it's true. They will rise a bit, but the primary change will be to the dough's texture... it get's poofy and squishy. Perfect! I recommend giving the risen dough an egg wash before baking to get that perfect golden brown color.
To speed up the rising in your dough's (this works for most any dough requiring rising), turn your oven on to 150 degrees. When the oven heats to 150 turn the oven off, insert a bowl or pan of warm water on the lowest rack, and put your dough on the top rack. Your dough for these pastries will properly rise in about 1 hour.
If you are serving these to company or making them for something special you can take a few extra moments to sprinkle the warm pastries with sugar, drizzle them with cream cheese filling, or my personal favorite...drizzle them with warmed jam. They will look like a million bucks!
Don't be fooled by my less than perfect looking Danish Pastries... they are utterly delicious! Melt in your mouth, let me have your baby kind of perfect. Buttery, flaky dough with sweet and creamy filling that just yells for a cup of coffee and ten-minute pause to the day.
We all need that. A pause to the day to appreciate homemade goodies and fall... lovely fall.
Wishing all of you lovely readers a few moments of calm and peace in this busy fall to create something wonderful for your life! Perhaps that will be Danish Pastries this week?
(If you do create this recipe be sure to tag @miznelliebellie on Instagram so I can see your creation!)
Fruit & Cheese Danish Pastry
- ¼ cup warm water
- ½ cup room temperature milk
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 room temperature egg beaten lightly
- 2 ¼ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup cold butter cut into cubes.
- 1 package cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- zest from 1 lemon
- fruit jam (I recommend Tastefully Simple Rhubarb Strawberry Fruit Spread
- In medium bowl mix milk, warm water, & the ½ teaspoon of sugar.
- Sprinkle the yeast on top and lets stand for about 10 minutes to foam.
- Add egg into the yeast mixture and stir just a couple of times.
- In food processor place your cold butter and pulse for a couple of times.
- Add the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is in small chunks mixed into the flour mixture.
- Pour the dry ingredients into a large bowl (if using a large food processor you can simply add to the food processor itself and pulse just until mixed.) and with a spatula or wooden spoon stir in the yeast mixture. Do NOT over mix (there will still be bits of butter in the batter)
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight (you can put it in the freezer for 20 minutes at the beginning and then in the fridge for 1 hour to speed this up)
- Roll out your dough and fill your pastries.
- For Cream Cheese Filling: mix well the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon together.
- Place on greased pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 ½ hours (see tip in post for a faster option).
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool and serve.