Mini Cheese Danish

cream cheese danish | apt 2b baking co
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cream cheese danish | apt 2b baking co
cream cheese danish | apt 2b baking co
cream cheese danish-0418.jpg
cream cheese danish | apt 2b baking co
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I remember hitting up the grocery store pastry case on the way out of town on family road trips and skipping over the chocolate doughnuts to head straight for the danish - cream cheese was always my favorite. Cheese Danish represent the best of all breakfast pastry worlds - crisp buttery pastry, slightly savory filling, and a little bit of sweet glaze. I kind of can't believe I hadn't made them before I found this recipe.

Danishes were always a little intimidating to me because they are made with laminated yeast dough which is time consuming to make and can be a little fussy. I have made croissants a couple of times, but honestly the time and planning it takes to make them is a total turnoff, even if the results are delicious.

But, when I spotted this recipe I knew I had to try it. It comes from Samantha Seneviratne by way of the NY Times and it is SO SMART and a lot less involved than traditional laminated yeast dough. It can also be made way ahead of time, and it's made in the food processor (no knead!) making these perfect for a brunch time treat. 


There are still a few spots available for my food and photography workshop in PARIS this Spring with Olaiya Land. Learn more here


Cheese Danish

makes 9 medium or 16 mini Danish

recipe by Samantha Seneviratne for the NY Times

The Danish dough requires quite a bit of hands-off resting time so make sure to factor that in to your plans. I made these a few times, once with labne instead of cream cheese in the filling which worked great. The filling was a bit softer than the cream cheese version, but the extra tang from the labne was a nice bonus flavor. If you've used labne, you'll need to fill the pastries a bit differently to account for the texture of the filling, instructions are within the recipe. Also, the original recipe calls to make the Danishes a bit bigger, but I loved the idea of little two-bite minis so I went for it.

1 8-ounce package cream cheese (or labne)

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 large egg yolk

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 batch Danish dough (recipe below)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, egg yolk, salt and vanilla until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12 1/2-inch square. Trim 1/4 inch off each edge. Cut the dough into nine 4-inch squares, or 12 2-inch squares for mini danish. Brush the corners of each square with a bit of the beaten egg, then fold each corner into the center and press down gently. Transfer the squares to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.

Pipe the cheese filling onto the center of each dough square. (If you've made the filling with labne, pipe the pastries half full and reserve the rest of the filling in the fridge while they rise.) Loosely cover the pastries with plastic wrap and let stand until slightly puffed, 60-80 minutes. Heat oven to 425ºF.

Remove the plastic and gently brush the top and sides of the dough with the beaten egg. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. (If using the labne filling, pipe the remaining filling over the top of the half baked filling) Continue to bake until pastries are puffed and deep golden brown, another 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and the milk. Let the Danish cool slightly on the sheet then drizzle with the glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Danish Dough

1 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for the work surface and the rolling pin

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

3/4 teaspoonkosher salt

14 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), roughly cubed

1 large egg

1/4 cup cold milk

Combine the flour, granulated sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse to combine. The butter should be the size of small marbles and peas. Transfer this mixture to a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and 2 tablespoons water.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture until it is evenly moistened. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a small rectangle, and wrap well. Chill for at least 3 hours, and up to 2 days.

On a lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to an 8-by-15-inch rectangle. With a short side facing you, fold the dough in thirds like a letter, bringing the top third of the dough down, then folding the bottom third up. Use a bench scraper to help lift and fold the dough if necessary. At this point, the dough will be rough and shaggy with visible butter pieces; as you roll and fold the dough it will come together. Rotate the dough 90 degrees. Repeat the rolling and folding process, then rotate the dough once more and roll and fold again. As you work, dust the work surface, your hands and the rolling pin with flour as necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Repeat the entire rolling and folding process one more time for a grand total of six turns. If the dough starts to fight you and become difficult to roll at any point, just pop it in the fridge for an extra rest. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

 

Spelt Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns

Spelt Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns | Apt. 2B Baking Co.
Spelt Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns | Apt. 2B Baking Co.
Spelt Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns | Apt. 2B Baking Co.

Simply put, Fika is the Swedish word that means "to drink coffee," but the word represents a much warmer tradition. To Fika really means to truly take time for a break in your day to, to breathe and rest, to have a coffee and a little sweet (or savory), maybe catch up with a friend or loved one. It's a such lovely idea that I am trying to work into my life right now as holiday craziness seems to start earlier and earlier every year...

Fika is also the name of the adorable cookbook that my college pal, Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall released earlier this year. Fika is full of traditional and less traditional sweet and savory coffee and tea time treats (and illustrations by Johanna!). It also has a puffy cover, that my cat is cozily napping on as I write this post. 

Now let's talk buns! One of the most well known and loved Fika treats are cinnamon buns. Anna and Johanna's version of this classic recipe are swirled with a mixture of cardamom and cinnamon which is such a lovely and warming combination, perfect for this time of year. They are also totally beautiful and impressive looking! 

And one more thing!

THANK YOU all SO MUCH for your warm reception to my book, Sweeter Off the Vine. I can't wait to share more with you in the coming months. Pre-order links are in the sidebar! Thank you, thank you!

 

Spelt Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns

makes about 30 small buns

adapted from Fika by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall

The original recipe calls for 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, but I couldn't resist adding in some spelt flour instead. I also swapped in brown sugar for the filling and added a bit of salt, because sugar always needs just a bit of salt. There are a lot of ways to form and shape these buns, you can even make loaves, but I loved the swirls and twirls of the of the technique I used. I linked to a post within the recipe so you can see the shaping method for yourself, rather than try to explain it, trust me, it is much easier to see something like this than try to explain it :) 

Dough

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 1/2 cups spelt flour

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup light brown sugar

4 teaspoons cinnamon

3 teaspoons ground cardamom

pinch salt

Topping

1 egg beaten, for egg wash

pearl sugar or sliced almonds

To make the dough: Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the milk and heat until warmed through. In a small bowl combine the yeast with a couple of tablespoons of the warm milk mixture. Let sit until foamy.

In the bowl of a standing mixer combine the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt. Add the yeast mixture and remaining milk. Stir until a dough forms. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, 3-5 minutes. The dough should be tacky and soft, but not super sticky. If the dough is sticky knead in a bit more flour. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Make the filling and assemble: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir the filling ingredients in a small bowl until well combined and smooth.

Divide the dough in half and roll one half of the dough to a rectangle roughly 11x17 inches with the long edge facing you. Spread half of the filling over half of the dough (lengthwise), making sure to spread it all of the way to the edges and fold the dough in half lengthwise. Slice the dough into 15-18 strips. Then check out this post on Pantry Confidential featuring Johanna Kindvall herself to see how she shapes the buns, scroll down towards the end of the post. Trust me, pictures are worth a thousand words here...Repeat with the remaining dough.

Cover the buns with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise for 45 minutes or until puffy. Preheat your oven to 425ºF.

After the buns have risen, brush them with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar or sliced almonds. Bake the buns for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Serve warm or cool the rolls completely, then store them in an airtight container in the freezer. 

Spelt Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns | Apt. 2B Baking Co.