Two friends of mine got married, which was lovely. They had a potluck brunch for their wedding reception. The groom is particularly big in the swing dance scene. It was probably the most impressive wedding I've been to. When the dancing started the dance floor was immediately full of people who clearly knew what they were doing. Girls were being thrown in the air. Basically it looked like a movie in a wedding. It was pretty fantastic.

So I though this would be the perfect opportunity to make an untried, complicated recipe. You know, when there is no pressure. And it turned out great but there was a little tension right at the end as I had to load the danishes right out of the oven into trays to take to the wedding. Amazing how I never learn to leave myself some buffer. But we made it and the danishes were great.
I was really pleased with my danishes, and quite proud of myself for pulling them off. But fair warning, this recipe is a bit more intense than my usual fare. It has to be started several days before hand and although you may not be able to tell from the pictures due to aggressive cropping, it is not exactly a tidy undertaking.
The butter is rolled into a giant rectangle and folded into the dough. The dough is rolled out, folded into thirds and rolled out again. This is repeated until you have many layers of dough and butter: striated deliciousness.
The dough is the hard part. Once the dough is done you can do any number of miraculous things with it quite easily.

Cheese Danish and Raspberry Streusel Pinwheels

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
5 tsps (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling and pounding the butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp coarse salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1. In a small saucepan, heat the water and milk to 110 degrees F (use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature). Pour over the yeast in a medium bowl and let proof for about 5 minutes.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift the flour. Add the sugar, salt, cardamom, and the 6 tablespoons butter and beat on low speed until the butter breaks down and dissolves completely in the dry ingredients, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the whole eggs and the yolks to the bowl with the yeast. Add the wet ingredients to the mixer bowl, and beat on the lowest speed just until the batter is completely blended and tack, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead very lightly for about 30 seconds, adding a little flour as needed, until the dough comes together and can be formed into a ball. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next day, on a lightly floured work surface, lightly flour the remaining 3 sticks butter and pound with a rolling pin to flatten into a mass. Fold the mass of butter in half and continue pounding and rolling, sprinkling often with flour as needed to keep the butter from sticking to the pin and work surface, until the butter is malleable enough (but not melted) that you can roll it like pasty. Shape into a 9 by 9-inch square; set aside.
5. Roll the dough into an 18 by 10-inch rectangle, with one of the short sides facing you.Brush off excess flour with a pastry brush. Place the butter square on the bottom half of the dough. Fold over the unbuttered half so that it covers the butter. Press the edges together and pinch to seal.
Technique Tip: If the dough contracts and you have to fight with it to roll it, transfer it to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow the dough to relax.
6. Roll the douch out again into an 18 by 10-inch rectangle; the butter should roll easily with the dough. Brush off excess flour. Fold the bottom third up so that it covers half of the remaining dough, as if you were folding a letter. Brush off the flour. Fold the top third down to cover. (This is called a "turn".) Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Mark the dough by pressing a finger into it, to designate one turn.
7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Place on the work surface with the seam on your left, and roll and fold as above to give it is second turn. Mark with two fingers to designate the second turn. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
8. Repeat to give the dough a third turn. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Technique tip: The easiest way to cut the dough evenly and with clean edges is with a pastry cutter or pizza wheel.

Streusel Topping
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 recipe Danish Dough
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Milk Icing
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 to 3 tsps milk
1. For the streusel: In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the butter, and using your fingertips, quickly work it into the dry ingredients until pea-size crumbs form; set aside in the refrigerator.
2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mats; set aside.
3. For the pastry: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 17 by 13-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Using a ruler and a pizza wheel or pastry cutter, trim the edges of the dough to form a 16 by 12-inch rectangle. Then cut the dough into twelve 4-inch squares.
4. Use the pizza wheel to make diagonal cuts in each square, three-quarters of the way toward the center, leaving a 1-inch square in the middle. (Each piece should have eight points, two at each corner.) Fold every other point toward the center, pressing down to seal. Place on the prepared baking sheets.
5. Dot each pastry in the center with about 2 tsps jam. Sprinkle with streusel to cover. Cover the pastries with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place ( at least 70 degrees F) until the dough is doubled in bulk, puffy, and very soft, about 30 minutes.
6. Set the rack in the middle position. Preheat the over to 375 degrees F.
7. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating it two-thirds of athe way through the baking time, until the pastries are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
8. For the icing: In a small bowl, stir the confectioners' sugar with enough milk to make a thin white glaze. Drizzle the icing over the pastries. Let cool completely on the rack.

Cheese Filling
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperatue
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsps all-purpose flour
1/2 recipe Danish Dough
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
Sliced almonds
1 cup apricot jam
1. For the filling: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese with the sugar, vanilla, and salt on medium-high speed until smooth. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour.
2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mats; set aside.
3. For the pastry: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 17 by 13-in rectangle. Using a ruler and a pizza wheel or pastry cutter, trim the edges of the dough to form a 16 by 12-inch rectangle. Then cut the dough into twelve 4-inch squares.
4. Using a tablespoon or a pastry bag, pipe 1 1/2 to 2 tbsps cheese filling onto the center of each square. Fold the upper right corner over the filling, about 2/3 of the way toward the opposite corner; press down firmly to seal. Bring the lower left corner up and over the first fold, pressing down to adhere. Repeat with the remaining corners to make a square. Place the pastries on the prepared baking sheets, folded sides up. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place until the dough has increased by 1 1/2 times and is very soft when you touch it, about 30 minutes.
5. Set the over rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
6. Brush the pastries with the egg wash and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating the baking sheet about two-thirds of the way through baking, until evenly browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
7. While the pastries are still warm, in a small saucepan, warm the apricot jam over low heat until liquid. Strain through a fine strainer. Brush the top and sides of the pastries with the strained jam. Let cool completely and serve.

From The Sono Baking Company Cookbook

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  1. Wow! You have outdone yourself. Will you make these next time I visit?

  2. I'll visit at the same time so you'll only have to make them once.

  3. If you guys visit I will make them for you. I realized I forgot to make you Boston Cream Pie for your birthday. Boston Cream Pie danishes?