Danish Delight by Chefshell

Chefshell posted 02-10-99

Chefshell's Delicious Delightful Danish (Streudel)

1 cup milk
5 tsp. (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (or to taste)
4 Tbsp. cold butter (unsalted)
3 eggs

Butter Layer:
1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
14 oz. (3 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter

This makes 3 lbs. pastry dough. Similar to both brioche and croissant doughs, it's actually a combo of the two.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, heat the milk until it feels warm, about 110 degrees. Pour into a small bowl and whisk in the yeast. Set aside.

Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or by hand and combine. If using processor, pulse until smooth. By hand, mix with hands until combined. Add the 4 tbsp. of butter and pulse until butter is absorbed and the mixture looks powdery.(By hand, same thing, more work). Add the eggs and set aside yeast mixture and continue to mix until the dough forms a ball(if the dough refuses to form a ball, add up to 3 tbsp. of flour, a tbsp. at a time until it yields to yout every whim.

Put dough into an oiled bowl. Cover bowl withplastic wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a floured surface (may need a scraper here), and fold dough over on itself 6 to 8 times. Sprinkle dough with flour (up to 3 tbsp.) if dough is very soft. Wrap dough and refrigerate from 1 to 8 hrs.

To prepare butter layer: scatter flour on the work surface. Remove butter from the fridge, unwrap it, and roll butter in the flour to coat. Pound the butter with a polling pin, gently at first, (turning it often to keep it coated with flour). It will become soft and malleable, but not begin to melt. Press occasionally with fingertips to be sure that the consistency is correct ( cool and pliable). Flouring hands with flour from board, quickly knead butter into a solid mass and set aside. (If warm, refrigerate butter.)

Scrape any butter bits stuck to work surface and flour lightly. Remove dough from refrigerator and turn the dough out in one piece onto surface using rubber spatula.(Make sure it does not roll over on itself, it will be too elastic to roll). Lightly flour top of dough and, using the palm of one hand, press and pull it into a 6"X12" (inch) rectangle.

Divide the softened butter into 8 fairly equal sized pieces and press each quickly between palms if hands to flatten. Distribute flattened pieces of butter in a 6"X 9" rectangle over the bottom 2/3 of dough.

Fold the top (unbuttered) 1/3 of dough down over the middle (buttered) 1/3. Then fold the bottom 1/3 (buttered) 1/3 up over the other layers, making it a 5-layered package of dough and butter.

Position dough on board so fold is on the left. Lightly flour work surface and dough, and with a rolling pin, press a seris of horizontal lines in the dough to flatten it gently. No butter squeezing out the sides or dough becoming thinner at edges. When dough is approx. 1/2 inch thick, roll it, without rolling over edges to make a 12"X24" rectangle. Fold the 2 narrow ends of the dough to within 1/4 inch of the middle leaving a 1/2 inch space between their ends. Fold over again at the space to make 4 layers.

Repeat step 8. Loosely wrap dough in plastic wrap. Slide into large plastic bag to allow room to expand.

3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (to taste)
1 cup (about 4 oz.) walnut pieces
1 cup raisins or currants

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Yield= 12 3 to 4 inch round pastries.

Lightly flour work surface and dough using a rolling pin to press the dough (with gentle horizontal strokes) into a 6"X12" inch rectangle. Keep a fine dusting of flour on both work surface and dough to prevent dough from sticking. Add more flour if necessary. Use back and forth strokes (without pressing too hard) or rolling over edges so no butter squeezes out, to roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Slide onto cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate while preparing filling.

Combine butter, sugar, and cinnamon (for filling) in a bowl and mix until smooth. Add the walnuts until finely chopped(but not ground). Scrape into bowl and add raisins or currants.

Remove dough from refrigerator and spread evenly with filling (using offsrt spatula). Beginning at the end closest to you, roll dough around the filling. Seal the roll by pinching the long against the cylinder. Cut dough into 12 slices and arrange them, cut side down, on the prepared pans. Flatten each pastry slightly with the palm of your hand. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until they begin to puff slightly, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, set racks in top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until pastries are well risen and deep golden brown and feel light for their size when lifted from pan. Remove to racks to cool.

Make icing by combining all ingredients in a small pan. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Place over low heat, stirring constantly, until the icing is warm, about 110 degreees. Drizzle or brush icing on cool pastries.

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