Since Nathan got to post his favorite birthday meal last weekend, I got jealous and wanted to post MY favorite birthday breakfast this weekend. When I was growing up we always got to have a special birthday breakfast no matter what day of the week it was. I would always ask for a cheese danish from our local grocery store. It had a light, flaky crust and a creamy cheese filling and, when paired with a scrambled egg, was the perfect way to start an awesome birthday.
We were originally going to make this danish last weekend. However, I had had a particularly intense week at work and Nathan and I decided to wait to attempt this recipe since the amount of rolling and chilling of the pastry dough threatened to put me over the edge. On Saturday we finally decided to get started on the dough and realized that we lost the yeast we had bought for this recipe between the store and our condo and had to go back to buy more. This resulted in the scene that was taking place in our kitchen at 10PM on Saturday evening…namely Nathan and I (with drinks in hand) rolling and chilling danish pastry dough like the hip young urban couple that we are. We discovered that the dough is not as much work as we thought…the recipe is time consuming but for most of the time the dough is resting in the fridge. We also reduced the amount of time the dough spent chilling and we didn’t feel that this change hurt the recipe.
OH…the outcome. This danish was so peachy and delicious…it definitely beat any store bought danish hands down. Flaky, creamy and sweet…it was worth the work. I will admit that it is a bit of a sugar overload but so worth it for
a random Sunday in January a special occasion!
If you attempt this danish recipe with this drink pairing you had better LOVE peaches. Nathan and I do love peaches and we will still be taking a month off from any peach flavors after our peach-alicious brunch this morning. That being said, this mimosa was an awesome twist on the plain jane orange juice mimosa. We used sweet peach nectar that stood up well to the dry effervescence of the Prosecco. When paired with the danish, the flavors of the mimosa literally sang in my mouth!
This beer was MUCH more peachy than I was expecting! If it didn’t have beer on the label I would probably call it a peach cider instead. Upon first pouring the beer into a glass it has a slightly tart and hoppy smell that doesn’t prepare you for the assault on your taste buds. The tart and hoppy flavors remain but a concentrated sweet peach taste comes along for the ride as you take a swig. This beer was great with our peach cheese danishes because it extended and complimented the peach and cheese filling as well as being a sweet, easy drinking breakfast beverage. That being said, I don’t think I could drink the full 750ml bottle in one sitting or I would end up being sick from all the sugar!
Peach Cheese Danishes
For the Danish Pastry:
2 ¼-ounce packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
⅔ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅔ cup milk
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
3 sticks (1 ½ cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
For the Cheese Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Peach preserves, to taste
For the Glaze:
1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the Dough:
1. In a large bowl, proof the yeast with ¼ cup warm water for 5 minutes, or until it is foamy, and stir in the sugar, the salt, the yolks, the vanilla, and the milk.Add 3 ¼ cups of the flour, stirring until the dough is combined well (it will be soft and slightly sticky), and chill the dough, covered, for about 45 minutes.
2. On a cool surface (we used our granite countertop) beat the butter with a rolling pin until it is smooth but still cold, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour, and blend the mixture quickly until it is smooth (we used a combination of working the flour in with the rolling pin and then using our hands.)
3. Working quickly, form the butter mixture into a 6-inch square and chill it in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 15 to 30 minutes, or until it is firmer but still malleable.
4. On a well-floured surface roll the dough into a 12-inch square, lay the butter diagonally in the center of the square, and fold the corners of the dough tightly over the butter like an envelope, enclosing the butter completely. Brush off any excess flour and pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them. With the rolling pin flatten the dough gently with uniform impressions and roll it from the center away from you to within ½ inch of the end. Turn the strip 180° and roll the dough again from the center away from you to within ½ inch of the end. Continue to roll the dough in this manner until it forms an 18-by 8-inch rectangle. (It is important not to roll over the ends in this first rolling to help the later formation of even layers of butter and dough.)
5. Brush off any excess flour from the dough, fold the top quarter of the rectangle down to the center of the strip, and fold the bottom quarter of the rectangle up to the center, leaving about ½ inch between the 2 ends. Fold the top half of the dough over the bottom to close the dough like a book. Turn the dough 90 degrees so the short side faces you, roll it again into an 18- by 8-inch rectangle, and fold it in the same manner. This completes 2 “turns.” Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 1 hour. After the dough has been chilled, make 2 more turns in the same manner, always beginning with a short side facing you. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least 4 hours or overnight.
For the Cheese Filling:
1. In a medium sized bowl beat together the cream cheese, the sugar, the yolk, the vanilla, the salt, the zests, and the flour until the mixture is smooth and chill the filling, covered, for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on a baking mat or parchment paper.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife (or a pizza cutter like we did!), each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the cheese filling down the center of the rectangle. Then spoon as much peach preserves as you would like over the cheese filling. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends. Place the baking mat on a baking sheet. Brush the pastry with egg wash and let it stand for 2 hours. Bake the danish in the middle of a preheated 350°F oven for 40 minutes, or until it is crisp and golden.
Make the glaze while the danish is baking:
In a bowl whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, sifted, and enough of the lemon juice to make a thick but pourable glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the pastry and enjoy!
If you have leftovers it may be cooled to room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil, and frozen for 1 month. Transfer the leftover danish to a baking sheet and bake it in the middle of a preheated 400°F oven for 5 minutes, or until it is heated through.