Cream Cheese Danish
Braiding the dough creates a beautiful presentation.
MAKES: 2 BRAIDED DANISHES
TOTAL TIME: 2 HOURS ACTIVE PLUS OVERNIGHT
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the rolling board
14 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/4-inch pieces
CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup of fresh blueberries or raspberries
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk, divided
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Make pastry dough first:
1. Combine water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar; mix well. Let sit 5 minutes or until foamy. Add remaining sugar, milk, egg and salt; mix well.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and butter; pulse until butter is crumbled into pea-sized bits. You can also use a pastry cutter, but do not use an electric mixer.
3. Pour flour mixture into wet yeast mixture; fold together until just moistened.
4. Turn dough out (it will be sticky) onto a large piece of plastic wrap; gather into a shallow pile. Wrap dough tightly; chill overnight.
5. Sprinkle work surface generously with flour; place dough on top (it will be sticky and slightly puffy). Gently flatten into a small rectangle; roll out into a 15- × 8-inch rectangle. Fold dough into thirds as if you were folding a letter. Turn clockwise; roll out into a 15- x 8-inch rectangle again. Repeat the process two more times for a total of three folds.
6. Wrap dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Mix the filling:
In a large bowl fitted with a hand mixer, mix all ingredients (except the berries) together until smooth.
Assemble and fill:
1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Take dough out of the refrigerator; cut in half. Leave one half in the fridge while working with the other half.
3. On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12- x 8-inch rectangle.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut off two corners of dough (on one short side) and then two small triangles 3 inches apart from each other on the other end (the other short side).
5. Cut 1-inch slanted strips along the long edge of the pastry leaving a 3-inch space in the center.
6. Spread about 1/3 cup of filling down center of the strip; top with fresh berries.
7. Fold strips over filling, alternating each side to resemble a twist or a braid. Fold bottom end up to seal the filling inside.
8. Repeat with second half of dough and rest of the filling, if desired. Dough can also keep in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
9. Mix egg and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl; brush over surface of each Danish. Top with almonds, if desired.
10. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.
11. Remove Danish from oven; cool at least 5 minutes.
12. Mix powdered sugar and remaining milk together for a quick icing; drizzle over cooled Danish.
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