Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daring Bakers: Danish!

I was a bit intimidated when I saw what Kelly of Sass and Veracity and Ben of What's Cooking? chose for us, but that's the whole point of the Daring Bakers. I don't tend to like Danish, but I really think that's because they have all had cream cheese in them and I don't like cream cheese. I was excited to make a Danish that had a flavor I liked.

This Danish recipe called for orange in the dough. I wasn't sure how I would like that with my apple filling, but I went for it since it was in the recipe. Next time, I'll leave out the orange, it had a strong enough flavor that I didn't like it with the sweet fruit. Lee bought some bing cherries instead of maraschino cherries for ice cream, so I decided to use up the bing cherries for a second Danish.

My braids turned out pretty well, although not as nice as some others. I think most of us who tried a cherry filling ended up with a bit of a "cracked rib" look to our Danish, that one seemed to expand and spread apart the braid a lot more than other fillings. Someone mentioned it had to do with the liquid. I also think it may have been my layer of pastry cream that didn't allow the braid to stick together as well.

The trickiest part of this was the rolling. I made this on a day when it was 90°F outside!! I cranked the A/C and went for it. I had some butter popping out (definitely made a crackle sound as it popped out!) After the first turn it was fine and no more butter popped out. It wasn't as difficult to roll it out as I thought it would be.

The best part of this challenge? Discovering my love of real vanilla beans!!! Kelly mentioned seeing a blog where the person stated she bought vanilla beans off e-Bay. They are a lot less expensive than the grocery store and they are better quality too. I bought mine from The Organic Vanilla Bean Company. I ended up buying both Tahitian and Bourbon vanilla beans so I have loads on hand. The scent from the vanilla beans is incredible! It's such a clean, fresh scent.

The other best part of the challenge? The apple filling! This has got to be, hands down, the best apple filling I have ever tasted in my entire life. I could not stop eating it when it had cooked. It's apple crack. They're like Pringles, once you start you can't stop!!

As I said before, I made one apple filling, that was just the one from the recipe and one cherry. I found a cherry pie filling recipe from Recipezaar that I decided to try as well as a pastry cream recipe. The pastry cream used my new favorite ingredient: vanilla bean!

As I was talking about making the cherry filling, I mentioned I would need to buy a cherry pitter so I could pit the cherries. Lee thought I was just looking for an excuse to buy a new toy, but I told him no way was I picking cherry pits out of my mouth as I was eating a Danish. He didn't think they were too big. I beg to differ! The pitter definitely make it much easier to pit about 100 cherries!

The assembly wasn't too bad, I just had a bit of difficulty getting the first Danish onto the baking sheet because I didn't think to put my Silpat under it before assembling. I made sure to do my second one on top of parchment paper so it would be easier to transfer.

The Danish needed to proof for two hours. Lee and I went swimming while it was proofing and came back to find the power went out!! I couldn't cook dinner, and I couldn't cook the Danish. My Danish ended up getting a bit of an extra rise time. The Danish tasted just fine, though.

I'm not sure with all the time this takes if it is really worth making a lot, but maybe as a once in a while treat it would be good. I really like that I can make whatever fillings I want.

Here are some pictures in my first try making a slideshow! I hope it works. :-)


Made by Lena