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Daring Bakers do Danish!

June 29, 2008

You may recall that I had to skip the May Daring Baker’s challenge, but I was back in the saddle for this June round — and what a delightful one it was! Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cookin’? picked danish!! Which was a fun coincidence — right before I found out what the challenge was going to be, I said to B “you know, it would be fun to do a yeast bread for one of the DB challenges.” Not that the other ones haven’t been fun, but I was a little buttercreamed out, and was eager to try a different category of baked good. AND, the day before that, I had said to B “you know, I think I’m going to try making my own laminated dough this summer” — laminated dough being the kind you layer with butter, then fold over itself again and again to create layers of flaky, buttery pastries…puff pastry is one kind of laminated dough, as is dough for danishes, croissants, etc. So, all this is to say, I did a celebration dance when I read the challenge would be danish!

look at all those lovely, buttery layers

This challenge was also fun for me because “danish” is synonymous with memories of spending time at my grandparent’s house, just me alone as the oldest granddaughter, as a child. I used to visit them for a week at a time each summer, and among other fun activities (my grandma taught me how to fish, how to shuffle a deck of cards, how to play Spite and Malice — yes, she was a real firecracker!) at the end of the week, she used to take me out to breakfast at a diner nearby, where I would always, always order their apple danish. It’s such a strong memory for me; anytime I see danish now I always think of her and how special I used to feel spending time with her and my grandfather.

So, the challenge was to make the dough and to make at least one braid, and use the remaining dough for whatever other shapes we wished. Fillings were also completely up to us. Fun!

I made my braid and filled it with some homemade strawberry jam (so predictable, right? Pretty much everything else I’ve been making lately has had strawberries prominently featured!) The dough was a dream to work with — it rolled out easily, tasted delicious, and how can you argue with a result as pretty as this braid? I loved the flavoring of vanilla bean, orange zest and cardamom.

For my first attempt at small pastries, I tried pinwheels, filling them with vanilla pastry cream and strawberry jam. Let’s just say I was a bit too overzealous in my filling proportions, and to my aggravation, the pinwheels oozed their filling out all over the baking sheet (and popped open while baking – so they turned into Maltese crosses, or First Aid signs, rather than pinwheels.)

pretty pinwheels, but way too much filling

Well, no matter, I thought; I loved this recipe so much that I figured I’d just try again. This time, I spread some vanilla pastry cream down a strip of dough, topped it with the same homemade strawberry jam, and folded the top over the filling.

After I cut, filled and formed these individual danishes, I was somewhat horrified to realize that they look awfully similar to McDonald’s apple pies. Yikes. Not my intention. And, notice how much they puffed up! Next time I’ll roll the dough a bit thinner. But, oh well, they served the purpose of being an easy-to-eat shape; you can tuck one of these easily into your hand and munch on it single-handedly. I should know; I tested this out before sending the rest of the batch off to B’s coworkers!

This is recipe I’ll make over and over — the braid, particularly, is so pretty when it comes out of the oven, and was really quite easy to make. If you plan ahead a bit, it would make a delicious treat for a weekend brunch (which is, actually, exactly what I’m doing this weekend as my parents are visiting!)

Thanks to Kelly and Ben for choosing such a great challenge this month! Be sure to check out what the other Daring Bakers did over on the Daring Baker’s Blogroll!

Previous Daring Bakers Challenges:
Perfect Party Cake
Cheesecake Pops

Recipes
The Danish dough recipe can be found on Kelly’s web site. I used the basic pastry cream recipe in Baking: From My Home to Yours, and made this jam using strawberries.

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2008 6:51 am

    Your pastry is just gorgeous– wonderful lamination!

  2. June 29, 2008 6:52 am

    Your braid looks fantastic as do you pinwheels, the flavours of the dough were gorgeous weren’t they

  3. June 29, 2008 7:31 am

    I thought McD’s pies too, but oh so much better. I like the pocket ones a lot and would try that if I did them again. Great job!

  4. June 29, 2008 7:38 am

    I think we all jumped for joy at this challenge. I’m so impressed with the outcome of your braid – it looks just delicious.

  5. June 29, 2008 10:05 am

    Yum, that jam looks SO GOOD! I love the alternate shapes you made!

  6. June 29, 2008 12:53 pm

    Awesome job and homemade strawberry jam to boot!

  7. June 29, 2008 2:11 pm

    Wow, this is seriously impressive. I’ve never thought about making danish before, but you’ve tempted me. The jam looks beautiful, too.

  8. June 29, 2008 6:58 pm

    Amy, your Braid looks so beautiful! You went really creative with the dough. So many yummy creations:) Great job!

  9. June 29, 2008 7:07 pm

    Your pastry is beautiful! I love all the layers in the dough, it looks great.

  10. June 29, 2008 8:02 pm

    your braid is so pretty!

  11. June 29, 2008 9:27 pm

    Hey Amy! Wow, you went all out – I love the designs you made with your dough!

  12. June 29, 2008 10:50 pm

    You know, I had that same thought the first time I saw those rectangular shaped pastries, but I KNOW they were in a completely different league (although I must admit I have a shameful fondness for Micky D’s apple pies). :P I used homemade strawberry jam too – how can you not in the month of June? Fabulous job and beautiful photographs!

  13. June 29, 2008 11:04 pm

    Vanilla pastry cream and strawberry jam are winning flavors. And I love all of the variety of shapes and sizes for your individual danishes. Well done!

  14. June 30, 2008 8:46 am

    No matter how many tries and whether you thought they turned out okay, I would not refuse one if you offered them to me. The oozy ones, are right up my alley. Fabulous job and your photos are lovely as usual.

  15. June 30, 2008 11:56 am

    Beautiful looking pastries! Great job.

  16. June 30, 2008 12:34 pm

    They looks so good. I love the fillings you chose. Nice job.

  17. June 30, 2008 8:30 pm

    Nice filling and wonderful looking braids!

  18. June 30, 2008 9:43 pm

    Dang, I would never think to make my own danish! But yours looks so amazingly beautiful and delicious, I’m gonna have to give it a try.

  19. July 1, 2008 7:10 pm

    Your braids look perfect! Simply lovely.

  20. sleepingbear permalink
    July 1, 2008 9:17 pm

    Now that’s some laminated dough!!!! Beautiful!!!

  21. July 2, 2008 8:23 pm

    Thank you, everyone!! :)

  22. July 3, 2008 4:00 pm

    Looks great! I love the dough picture! Yum!

  23. July 3, 2008 8:33 pm

    Wow, I love the flakiness in the dough and the layers of butter you can see in the raw dough! You did such a lovely job on this challenege. Absolutely gorgeous!

  24. July 4, 2008 7:44 am

    Thanks, Claire!

    Thanks, Jen — I was (pleasantly) surprised to see all those layers, too. It was a fun challenge!

  25. July 4, 2008 9:56 pm

    Excellent job! I loe the pcitures of your tasty creations, they are making me hungry. Thank you for baking with us :)

  26. July 5, 2008 12:50 pm

    Nice job – love the McDonalds ones :)

  27. July 12, 2008 11:02 am

    Good for you for predicting our June DB challenge. Yes, your filled pastries kind of *look* like McDonalds’ Apple Pies, but I can tell from here that they taste LOTS better. Congratulations… great job!

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