The greatest Dane of them all.Gather Journal Apricot Danish
In the annals of morning pastry history, the Danish has icon status— our take coils its buttery edges around cream cheese and apricot.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.