Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cherry Danishes - Foodie Extravaganza

If this is your first time joining us, the Foodie Extravaganza is a monthly party hosted by bloggers who love food! Each month we incorporate one main ingredient into recipes to share with you and this month that ingredient is a Valentine's Day classic - cherries! Be sure to check out all the dishes below.

 Two years ago, I found a Kitchen Bucket List on Saveur and proceeded to use it to create my own. I had over a 100 items listed and most of them had already been crossed off. Looking back, I know there are several more items that I could add to that list. I can't wait to update it and share my progress soon. There was one item still on that list that I really wanted to make but actively avoided - Danishes.

I knew they weren't particularly difficult. But laminating dough can be hit or miss for me. The first time that I made puff pastry, I had wonderfully flaky layers. Then I tried sourdough croissants. They were buttery and delicious but not particularly flaky. I decided to try Danishes for this month's Foodie Extravaganza because it was the easiest thing on my list of possibilities. Well, it was the second easiest. Easiest was the slow cooker cherry cobbler that's cooking right now. I'm not sure how I came to the conclusion that something with laminated dough was easiest. But I think the simple list of ingredients factored greatly into that calculation. That and the fact that I could break it up over a few days.

Laminated dough recipes look long and intimidating. But they are really just a bunch of short steps that aren't particularly difficult. When I first made puff pastry, I was still avoiding any recipe that called for a rolling pin.* I had some oozing here and there but it still worked out. The big thing to remember is to keep everything cold. Stop and chill everything often. I loved working with this particular dough. After the rest in the fridge, it was wonderfully supple and easy to roll.

*I also avoided separating eggs and making caramel. I now separate eggs without giving much thought to it. But caramel is still a no-no. I actually tried to make some two Sundays ago and ended up with a crystallized mess. That led to a Food Chemistry discussion with friends (the caramel was meant to be a topping for a cheesecake for one's birthday) and now I am convinced that I need a degree in Food Science. I am searching for schools right now. Seriously. I need to be able to troubleshoot from a scientific perspective.

Cherry Danishes 
Adapted from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday

10.5 oz all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
7 tablespoons cold milk
5 tablespoons cool water
1 large egg
1 tablespoon oil

Butter Block
3/4 cup cold butter

Cherry pie filling, homemade or store-bought

Hot Glaze
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Dough: Combine flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add milk, water, egg and oil. Combine with a paddle on low speed for a minute. The dough will be shaggy. Mix on low speed for 30 more seconds then increase speed to medium for 15 seconds. The dough will be sticky and soft. Place in an oiled bowl and immediately refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.

Butter block: Place the butter between two sheets of wax paper. Lightly pound and roll the butter to a 3" x 6" rectangle. Place in the refrigerator.

Laminating. Remove dough from fridge and roll to 6 1/2" x 6 1/4". Roll from center to corners and then from center to sides. This truly makes rolling a rectangle easiest for me. With a longer side facing you, place the butter block 1/4" from the left side of the dough so that there is 1/4" of dough left at the top and bottom. Fold the remaining dough over the butter.

Lift dough and lightly flour underneath. Gently roll out to a 8" x 9" rectangle.
Turn the dough so that a 9" side is facing you. Do a letter fold by folding 3 inches of dough to the right and then the uncovered 3 inches to the left.
Rest dough in the fridge for 15 - 20 minutes.

With the open seam faced away from you, roll the dough out again to 8" x 9". Do a second letter fold.  Rest for 15 minutes.

Repeat for a third letter fold and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Roll out the final dough to 12"-14" x 9" x 1/4".

Pinwheels. Cut 2 1/2" squares. Cut notches leaving 1/2" in the center uncut. Take every other corner and fold over to the center. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan about 1/2 inch apart. Proof 2 to 2/1/2 hours until the dough is noticeably puffed.

Preheat the oven to 450 F 20 minutes before baking.
Use your finger to press an indent into the center of the each pinwheel and fill with about a teaspoon of cherry filling. 

Hot Glaze. Just before baking, make the hot glaze. Place sugar and water in a sauce pan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Lower heat and maintain a gentle simmer while the Danishes bake.

Place the pinwheels in the oven and lower the temperature to 400 F. After 6 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for another 5 - 6 minutes. Brush immediately with hot syrup.

17 Delicious Cherry Recipes

4 Ingredient Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake Balls by Keep it Simple, Sweetie
Chocolate and Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Cookies by Making Miracles
Real Maraschino Cherries by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Fresh Cherry Crisp by Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Chocolate Cherry Brownies by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
Breakfast Yogurt with Cherries Sauce by Brunch with Joy
Cherry Apple Crumble Tart by Food Lust People Love
Cherry Pie Bites by The Freshman Cook
Dark Cherry BBQ Sauce by The Joyful Foodie
Balsamic Cherry Brie Stuffed French Toast by Pantry Friendly Cooking
Cherry Chocolate Coconut Slices by Baking in Pyjamas
Vanilla Ice Cream with Dried Cherries and Dark Chocolate by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie by Mrs. Penguin
Cherry Danishes by Passion Kneaded
Dark Cherry-Cranberry Compote by Rhubarb and Honey
National Cherry Month by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Crock Pot Balsamic Cherry Beef Roast by Rae Gun Ramblings
Cherry Glazed Cherry Muffins by We Like to Learn as We Go


  1. Oh my goodness these look like gooey bites of HEAVEN!! I will definitely have to give this one a try!

  2. ok, danish has always scared me too but yours turned out so gorgeous that I am going to give it a try. After vacation though....when I am nice and relaxed LOL

    1. Enjoy the vacation! Like I said, it's really not that bad. If you can roll out dough, you can laminate it.

  3. Wow, these look great. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I had a danish addiction in college, but now I can't remember the last time I had one! My mouth is watering just looking at these.

    1. I had the addiction in high school. Every day there was a Danish

  5. Cherry danish are one of my favorite kinds! Yum!

  6. Homemade puff pastry is on my bucket list too, Kelly, but I keep finding reasons when the timing is just not right to make it. Perhaps I need to stop keeping the store-bought stuff in my freezer. :) You did a fabulous job and your danishes look absolutely perfect!

    1. One day you're just going to have to go for it! Ice down your counters and start rolling.
      Thanks, Stacy!

  7. Oh my! Your danishes look like something that would be very hard to stop eating. You did such a nice job on them. I have a problem with yeast and making breads rise, but you sure know how to do that! You should just bring me some.

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! You should keep trying with the yeast. Check to see if it's alive before you mix up your dough and you should be fine. Just don't use hot water that will kill the yeast.

  8. I love danishes! I've never made one myself, but I think I need to. We used to buy them at the store as kids and I'm sure it tastes better homemade. :-)

    1. Plus, it's easy to make a wide variety of flavours all at once!

  9. I adore a good cherry danish, but have never tried my hand at them. Yours are so gorgeous though so I'm going to have to give it a go now!

  10. I feel like I need a culinary bucket list and these danishes need to go on them! What a great use of cherries :)

    1. Yes! We should all try laminating at least once.

  11. These look like you bought them at a bakery. So beautiful.

  12. How pretty, they've got such a lovely shape to them!