Photograph by David Abrahams Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Apricot Danish

Desserts from Issue 7 – Summer 2015 – Spectrum

In the annals of morning pastry history, the Danish has icon status— our take coils its buttery edges around cream cheese and apricot.

makes 10

  • ½ cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 (¼ oz, about 2¼ tsp) packet active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ¾ sticks (14 Tbsp) very cold unsalted butter, cut into ½" pieces

  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ lemon, finely grated and juiced
  • 5 apricots, halved and pitted or 10 apricot halves from a can
  • 2 Tbsp apricot preserves

  • 1

    Heat buttermilk until lukewarm (105-110°F); don’t worry if it looks broken. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and stir in yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let stand until mixture bubbles slightly and becomes creamy looking, about 5 minutes.

  • 2

    Beat in ½ cup flour until combined. Then, beat in egg, sugar, and ½ tsp salt until smooth. At low speed, beat in remaining 1½ cups flour, ½ cup at a time until combined. Beat in butter until bits are evenly distributed but still visible and distinct. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 6 hours or overnight.

  • 3

    On a lightly floured surface, pat dough into a rectangle. Roll dough out to ½-inch thick then fold in thirds like a letter. Roll the dough again into a ½-inch thick rectangle. Fold and roll two more times ending with a fold. Cut the dough in half crosswise and chill, wrapped, 30 minutes.

  • 4

    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Working with one piece of dough a time, roll into a long rectangle about 6-by-20-inches. Trim the long edges so you have clean lines. Cut lengthwise into 5 strips. Twist each strip into a rope, then coil it around to form a round. Tuck the end beneath the round and press to seal through the middle. Transfer to baking sheet. Form 10 pastries. Rest pastries at room temp, loosely covered with a clean towel, 30 minutes. (If you like, once formed, pastries can be chilled overnight. Let stand as described at room temp 1 hour before proceeding.)

  • 5

    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Mix cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Press a thumbprint into the center of each round. Spoon about 2 tsp of filling into each round and then top with an apricot half. Thin preserves with a little water, and then brush over pastries. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.