I don’t bake danishes often, I would say I do it quite infrequently. Every time I have the motivation to make laminated croissant dough from scratch, I go for making croissants. This time around I had a good selection of fresh fruit and berries in the kitchen, and I could not resist the temptation to use them with my croissant dough. To hold the berries on top of danishes I made a simple cream cheese filling using a slightly modified recipe for red velvet cupcake frosting.
I forgot to take my sourdough starter out of the fridge and feed it in time for making leaven, so I only used poolish, which can be prepared rather quickly. Other than that, I used Chad Roberston’s recipe for croissant dough, cut in half. You can find his croissant dough recipe and detailed instructions here.
The difference between the croissant dough that uses leaven and the one that doesn’t is subtle, but noticeable for a discerning palate. Leaven makes the dough more flavorful, adding a slight hint of buttermilk. I find that breads and pastries that use natural leavening last longer, too, and don’t go stale as quickly. Still, these danishes that used only poolish turned out spectacular and could hold their own quite easily.
I made blackberry, blueberry, strawberry and peach cream cheese danishes. Each one was fantastic in its own way, but blueberry and blackberry danishes were definite favorites due to adding tartness and nicely balancing out the sweetness of the cream cheese filling.
For softer, more buttery danishes, bake them for 25 minutes. If you are looking for crispier crust and more eye-catching colors, leave them in the oven for 30 minutes. They will still be soft and flaky inside, but the outside will be more crispy, with deeper golden brown colors.
Berry and Cheese Danish Recipe From Scratch
- 7.5 oz / 225 g milk whole or 2%
- 6 1/2 oz / 300 g poolish
- 1 1/16 lbs / 500 g bread flour
- 2 1/2 tsp / 14 g salt
- 3 Tbsp / 42.5 g sugar
- 1 tsp / 5 g active dry yeast
- For lamination
- 7 oz / 1.75 sticks / 200 g cold unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- For egg wash
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp heavy cream or milk
- For Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 oz / 240 g cream cheese at room temperature
- 8 Tbsp / 62 g powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp milk whole or 2%
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Have your poolish ready beforehand. Bring milk to room temperature or microwave for about 40 seconds. In a large bowl, stir poolish and milk together. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Cover with saran wrap and let sit at room temperature for about half an hour.
Knead the dough in the bowl for 20 seconds, cover and let ferment at room temperature for 1.5 hours, doing stretch and folds every half an hour. Stretch and fold technique is where you take a corner of dough, stretch it and then fold onto itself. Repeat once for each of the four corners.
Lightly dust the dough with flour, transfer into a plastic bag, flatten into a rectangle, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Mold the butter and 1/4 cup of flour into a 6 x 10 inch rectangle. Do it quickly to avoid letting the butter warm up. I use a pre-shaped envelope made from parchment paper for this task. I cut butter into small cubes, mix with flour, and place into the parchment paper envelope. Then, using a rolling pin, I pound, press and roll it to mold it into a rectangle. Put in the fridge
Take out the dough from the fridge and roll out into a 8 x 12 inch rectangle.
Take out the block of butter from the fridge and lay it horizontally on the dough. It should cover about ⅔ of the length of the dough.
Fold the left and the right side of the dough as you would fold a letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out into a rectangle measuring about 8 x 12 inches. Do the fold again, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Take the dough out of the fridge, roll out to a 8 x 12 inch rectangle and fold. This is the second turn.
Refrigerate for 1 hour and do a third turn. If you want to use the dough later, place it into a freezer proof bag and freeze for up to three days. The night before using the dough, transfer it into refrigerator.
After the third turn, if using immediately, let the dough relax in the fridge for half an hour, then take out and roll out to about 10 x 18 inch rectangle. The dough should be about ½ inch thick.
Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 12 equal size squares. Transfer the squares onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Prepare cream cheese filling. Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract into a medium size bowl. Using a hand mixer mix all the ingredients until the filling is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Put about a tablespoon of cream cheese filling on top of each square and spread a little into a circle about half size the square. Put berries on top and gently press to set them into filling. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 1.5 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Prepare egg wash by whisking briskly egg yolks and cream or milk. Brush the tops of croissant with the egg wash.
Bake for about 20-30 minutes , until the danishes are deep golden brown, crisp and flaky.
150 g all-purpose flour
150 g water (warm room temperature)
3 g active dry yeast
Mix flour, water and yeast in a bowl, cover and let st and for 3-4 hours at room temperature or in a fridge overnight.
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