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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cherry Cream Cheese Danish

Cherry Cream Cheese Danish
I may have mentioned once or twice or fifteen times that I adore cherries. That may have something to do with the fact that I grew up in Michigan, where cherry trees are a-plenty! I've told stories of teetering human towers that were made in pursuit of reaching those orbs dangling from high branches. I've regaled you with tales of hands stained red for days and the sweet juice dribbling down the chins of young and old alike on the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan.

Cherry pies, cherry cobblers, cherry jam. Red cherries, black cherries, yellow-marbled cherries, and those fleeting tart cherries that horde like I've got issues when they are ready for picking in mid-July.

Yes, I love me some cherries.

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to find out that the #TwelveLoaves theme for this month was...have you guessed yet...CHERRIES! Which means that I just so happen to have two cherrylicious recipes coming your way in less than a week's time. It sort of all started with a craving for a cherry pie. More on that this Sunday, so stay tuned.
Cherry Cream Cheese Danish
Now, it's not July yet. That means there's no Montmorency cherries ready for pickin' yet around here. Montmorency are the small, tart red cherries that make the best pie filling. Fortunately, I was able to buy 6 pounds of frozen, pitted cherries from King Orchards in Michigan and have them delivered. So, I made my pie, and had a small amount of filling left over. Right then and there I knew that I was making either Danish or Coffee Cake for Twelve Loaves.

In the end, I decided on Danish. Because it's been ages since I've had a good Danish. The storebought variety are usually too sweet for me, and I don't know of a bakery around me that makes them. So, I used my "all purpose Danish and Coffee Cake" dough as the base, and added a sweetened cream cheese to go along with my cherries. And if you look closely at the filling in the photos, you'll see that the cherries are accented with vanilla beans. What you won't see is that they're also accented with Pinot Noir. Really. I did that. I'll add the link to the filling itself on Sunday.

Cherry Cream Cheese Danish
Rich Danish Pastries filled with sweetened cream cheese and cherry pinot noir filling.
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Cherry Cream Cheese Danish
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 30 minutes active + 12 hours inactive
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake bread breakfast vegetarian soy-free nut-free cherries cream cheese flour pastry

Ingredients (8 large pastries)
    • 2 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 ounce / 7 grams) active dry yeast
    • 1/4 cup lukewarm water (110°-115° F)
    • 325 grams (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour + more as needed
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
    • 1/2 cup lukewarm whole milk (110°-115° F)
    • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
    cream cheese filling:
    • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 egg yolk (approximately)
    • finely grated zest of 1/4 of a lemon
    cherry filling:
    • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
    • 1 tablespoon whole milk
    Sprinkle yeast over water in a small bowl and allow it to bloom; this will take about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and cut in, as you would for a pie crust, until crumbly. Add the yeast mixture, milk, and egg yolks and stir to combine. Stir in a tiny bit of extra flour to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Using floured hands, quickly form dough into a ball and place in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    Just before you're ready to proceed with your dough, combine all of the ingredients for the cream cheese filling and stir together until smooth. Also have your cherry filling ready.

    Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. It'll be stiff, but give it a little punch anyway. Divide dough into 8 (fairly) even pieces. Keep the dough covered with plastic while you're working with a piece.

    Working with one eighth at a time, divide it in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each of those halves into a long snake (about 18"-20"). Twist the two snakes together, then coil the rope around itself. Tuck in the end. Set on parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover loosely with a sheet or two of plastic wrap, and allow to rise at room temperature until puffed up to almost double in size, ~1 hour.
    shaping the dough - Cherry Cream Cheese Danish
    Preheat oven to 350° F during last 15 minutes of rise time.

    Using your thumb or the back of a rounded spoon (a rounded one talbespoon measuring spoon works well) dipped lightly in flour, press down the center of the dough to make a deep indentation. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the cream cheese filling into the indentation, then top with 1/2 tablespoon of the cherry filling.
    adding the filling - Cherry Cream Cheese Danish
    Slide the tray into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden.

    Whisk together all of the ingredients for the glaze. Drizzle most of it over the Danish while they are still slightly warm.

    Best eaten the same day that it is made, but it can be stored, covered, for a day or two extra, if you wish.

    This makes 8 large Danish. You could make 12 smaller ones by dividing the initial dough into 12 portions instead of 8, and then proceeding as directed (adjust filling, as needed). You'll probably need two baking sheets, and watch your baking time as it may be a bit shorter.
    Cherry Cream Cheese Danish

    #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Savoring Italy. #TwelveLoaves runs smoothly with the help of our friends.

    #TwelveLoaves June: Cherries