Yummy cheese danishes with a twist. Perfect for my second Fiesta Friday and my first FF Challenge!
After attending Fiesta Friday last week and having a blast, I knew I would be back! I met so many great bloggers and found so many lovely recipes, it feels great to be a part of it. For my second week I’m bringing along some lovely cheese danishes filled with peaches and basil, I approached these very cautiously but they came out so much better than I ever could have imagined. The anise flavour in the basil compliments the juicy peach so perfectly, it’s a combination I’ll definitely be using more in the future! The danish pastry is so flaky and buttery, I had to give myself a pat on the back for making it so well on my first attempt! I am very happy to be entering these into the first FF challenge and I can’t wait to see what everybody else has made for it!
I have never made Danish pastry from scratch before, in fact I very rarely make any kind of pastry from scratch. My only excuse for that is that I’m lazy and the pre-made stuff turns out just fine. So approaching this bake was a bit of a nerve wracking one, I was sure something would go horribly wrong. However, one the required ingredients for the challenge is yeast so I knew I had to make this from scratch! I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the process is, I mean sure it’s labour intensive and it takes a long time but it certainly isn’t complicated. And despite it’s simpleness, successfully making it from scratch on my first attempt sure does make me feel accomplished. I want to make myself a little medal that says “made danish pastry from scratch and it was yummy” and wear it all the time! So if, like me, you’ve never done this before and you’re a bit unsure I say go for it! It’s easier than you think and the bragging rights are totally worth it!
At the bottom of this post I have included step-by-step instructions, with photos, on how I made it to help you along. I read a lot (A LOT) of blogs and recipes for danish pastry dough before making this and while most of them follow a similar vein, the one I found most helpful was by Joe Pastry, for the most part I used his recipe (with just a few tweaks) and his instructions on how to laminate the pastry (i.e. fold it to create layers) were super easy to follow. There’s a lot of great tips on his site so I definitely recommend checking it out. Most resources will tell you to use Danish butter to get an authentic Danish pastry taste, and while the Danish butter may be higher in fat and have a slightly tangier taste I personally don’t think it’s necessary if you don’t have easy and cheap access to it, a high quality butter will work fine I am sure. I, however, did use Danish butter because I live in the UK and it’s readily and cheaply available to us here.
The other required ingredient for the challenge was a herb. I knew I wanted to make something sweet because that’s what I do best (I’ve yet to post a savoury recipe to this blog!) and basil was the first thing that came to mind. Basil is a staple in Italian cooking but due to it’s sweet anise like flavour, it can be a great addition to a sweet dish. I’ve never actually had basil with peaches before, but the idea of the sweet, juicy peaches combined with the fragrant basil really struck me as great. And I wasn’t disappointed. This is a flavour combination you just have to try to understand how yummy it is.
I used canned peaches in this recipe for two reasons. The first being that my local supermarket didn’t have any fresh peaches and the second being that I have a bad history with trying to peel peaches – Leah (the BFF) and I made peach cobbler once and while the results were scrummy, it took us a very long time to peel the peaches. The quickest way to apparently peel a peach is to drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds and then immediately transfer them to ice cold water, the skins are supposed to slip right off. It didn’t work out that way for us and we had a very frustrating hour removing all the skins! So I decided not to risk that fiasco again and went for the can! Fresh peaches may have produced a fresher result and please feel free to use them instead, but the canned ones worked out great and it left me with lots of peach juice to use in the glaze!
There then is, of course, the cream cheese filling. I’m a huge fan of cream cheese in any dessert and there’s no better dessert to pair it with than a Danish! The beautiful pastry is oozing with the sweet cheese filling, it also has a peach and cream cheese glaze to top it off and create my new favourite Danish pastry! Honestly, these are so yummy I’m having to force myself not to eat them all up! My mum is also pretty mad at me because she’s just started a new diet so she can’t have any!
I will be bringing plenty along to FF16 so I hope you guys enjoy them as much as I did! I can’t wait to try what everybody else brought along. And of course a big thank you to Angie for hosting this and Catherine for co-hosting the challenge! You should definitely check out their blogs if you haven’t already, so many wonderful things you’ll be there for days! Thank you to Stacey and Elaine for co-hosting this week’s Fiesta Friday with Angie, I have only been introduced to their blogs today but already I can see they are wonderful, please do check them out if you haven’t already – I’ll be delving deeper once I’ve finished with this post!
And now for the recipe! A step-by-step photo guide for the pastry will follow the initial recipe.
Danish Pastry Dough
- 2/3 cup milk, room temperature
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 7g package instant active yeast
- 2.5 cups plain/AP flour + 2 tbsp (plus more for flouring the surface)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 250g butter, room temperature
- Combine the milk, sugar, yeast, 2.5 cups flour, salt and egg using a dough hook in a stand mixer. Mix for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth, it will be pretty sticky still. Place the dough in a bowl and cover, leave to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then place in fridge for at least 1 hour.
- When you’re ready to start folding and layering your dough, you need to make your butter slab. Lay out a double layer of plastic wrap and place the butter on top, cover with the 2tbsp flour. Place another double layer of plastic wrap over the top. Using a large rolling pin beat the butter until it is mostly flat. Pull up the plastic wrap and roughly cut the slab into a square, placing the cuttings back on top. Repeat the beating process! You’re done when the butter is a play-doh like consistency, and not greasy looking at all. Once you have this, use the rolling pin to push it into a rough square and set aside.
- Remove your dough from the fridge and on a floured surface roll it into a rough square, slightly bigger than your butter slab. Place the butter slab on top and fold the dough around it like an enevelope. Seal all the seams.
- Now you want to grab your rolling pin and lightly beat the edges of the dough/butter packet to encourage the butter to come to the edge. Then roll out it into a rectangle.
- Fold the dough like a letter – bring one side in the centre and then fold the other side over that. Place back in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then roll out into a rectangle and fold again. You’ll want to repeat this process until you’ve folded it four times.
- Place the dough back into the fridge for at least 30 minutes (up to 3 days) or until ready to use. You could also freeze some of the dough to use at a later stage if you wish.
For the peach and basil filling:
- 1 can of peaches, drained and juice reserved (or 2 cups of fresh peaches). Chopped into large chunks
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- 3 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup honey
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 egg
For the cream cheese filling:
- 115g full fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper
- Toss the chopped peaches in the cornflour and put in a small saucepan. Add the basil, honey, lemon juice, zest and cinnamon. Bring to the boil and heat on high for 2 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to cool
- Mix together all the cream cheese filling ingredients using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or beaters until fully combined.
- Remove the pastry dough and cut in half. Replace one half in the fridge until ready to use. Roll the over half out into a long rectangle. Cover half the rectangle in half of the cream cheese filling and fold the non cream cheesed half of the dough over it.
- Using a pizza cutter (or pastry cutter if you’re fancy), cut into strips about 1inch thick. Stretch the strips out and then twist them into a spiral. Then coil it around itself to make a spiral/pinwheel. Repeat with all the strips and place them onto a lined baking tray. Create a well in the centre of each pastry. Mix the remaining egg with a splash of water and brush the pastries with them
- Fill with about a tbsp of the peach and basil mix.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes (mine took 30 as I have a cold oven) until the pastry is golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack
- Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Peach and Cream Cheese Glaze
- 3 tbsp cream cheese
- 2 tbsp peach juice (reserved from draining canned peaches)
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- Mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag and snip off the tip. Pipe the glaze over the cooled pastries, using as much as personally desired
How to fold the dough and create the pinwheels (apologies for the poor quality of these photos)
Place your butter on a double layer of plastic wrap. Sprinkle flour on top and and place another double layer of plastic wrap over the top. Beat with a rolling pin until flat. Cut into rough square and place cuttings on top, beat again and shape into a rough square
Roll your dough out into a rough square that is slightly larger than the butter slab
Place the butter slab on top like so…
Fold the corners of the dough around the butter slab and seal the edges
Lightly beat the edges of the package with the rolling pin, turning as you do. Do each edge about 5 times, to encourage the butter to the edge of the dough. Then roll out into a long rectangle
Then fold like a letter, like so
Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes, roll out again and fold like a letter again. Repeat this so you’ve folded it 4 times. Then wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
Don’t panic when you open the fridge and it’s ballooned up, I was surprised when this happened but it’s normal. The following was after 24 hours in the fridge
Once you’re ready to start shaping your pastries, remove the dough from the fridge and cut in half. Replace one half into the fridge for later (or freeze it if you want to save it – the full dough makes about 12 pastries)
Look at all those lovely layers
Roll out into a long rectangle. Cover the lower half of the rectangle in half of the cream cheese filling and fold the other half of the dough over. Cut into 1inch thick strips and stretch out each strip
Twist the strips into a spiral
Coil into a pinwheel. Place on the lined baking tray and make a well in the centre. Brush with egg wash.
Fill with the peach and basil mix and bake!
I hope these photos helped explain my process better! Let me know if you have any questions. Do check out Joe Pastry’s “How to Laminate” post for more tips and photos!
Have a great Friday everybody!