This past Father’s Day I thought it would be nice to bring my father some danish to enjoy before his golf match. Who can resist flaky pastry filled with creamy cheese filling and a touch of raspberry? This recipe is a very similar dough to my apricot danish recipe, but slightly tweaked. You can make this into individual pastries or into two large mock braids. Since danish is best served the day it is baked I will usually bake one and freeze the second one. To freeze, first roll your dough out and then fill it. I then place it on a sheet pan and freeze it until solid. Once it is fully frozen I remove it from the sheet pan and double wrap it in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer bag. It will keep in the freezer for two months.
Ingredients for Pastry:
- 2 tsp. instant yeast (7 g)
- 1/2 cup room temperature water (4 oz, 114 g)
- 1/4 cup sugar (2 oz, 58 g)
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups (22 1/2- 25 oz, 340 g)
- 1 tsp. salt (6 g)
- 2 TB melted unsalted butter
Ingredients for Butter Package:
- 3/4 cup (6 oz, 170 g)
- 2 TB all-purpose flour
Ingredients for Filling:
- 8 oz softened cream cheese (1 package)
- 1/2 cup sugar (4 oz, 115 g)
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 TB all-purpose flour
- 1/2 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup good quality raspberry preserves
Ingredients for Apricot Glaze:
- 1/4 cup Apricot preserves
- 3 TB water
- Prepare sweet dough by combining all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix until just combined. Then, lightly pat the dough into a rectangle and place on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, prepare the butter package. Using a rolling pin or the heel of your hand, beat or knead the butter on a work surface to flatten it and warm it to about 60 degrees. Sprinkle the butter with the flour and gently beat the butter to incorporate the flour into the butter. Shape the butter into an 8×7 inch rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm but still pliable.
- On a lightly floured work surface roll out the chilled dough into a 10-by-6 inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, place the butter on the lower half, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Fold over the upper half to cover the butter and press the edges together to seal. Then, with the folded side to your left, roll out the dough into a 12-by-20-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. This completes the first turn. Return to the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Return the chilled dough to the lightly floured work surface with the folded side to your left and repeat the process to make 3 more turns, rolling, folding, and chilling the dough each time, for a total of 4 turns. After the final turn, refrigerate the dough for at least 1 ½ hours or up to overnight before shaping.
- To shape the pastries divide the dough in half and roll each half into a rectangle about a ¼ inch thick. Spread the cheese filling down the center third of the rectangle. Then spread the raspberry preserves over the cheese filling. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal strips 1 inch wide down the outside of the pastry on both sides of the filling, cutting almost through to the filling. Cut off the first and last strip on both sides so that a flap is formed at the top and bottom.
- Fold the flaps over onto the filling. Starting at the top, fold the strips over the filling alternately from each side at an angle. When you get to the end, tuck the overhang of the last few strips underneath the braid to form a seal. Using a wide spatula, carefully transfer the pastry to the prepared pan. Place in a warm spot covered with plastic wrap and let the braid rise until doubled in size, about 30-40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Prepare the apricot glaze by combining the apricot preserves and water in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Heat until the preserves melt. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Lightly brush the braid with egg wash. Bake the pastry for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and puffy. As soon as you remove the pastry from the oven brush it with apricot glaze and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack.