Love At First Bite: The Cheese Danish

Recipe By Heather Carlucci
    • 2 envelopes (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
    • 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
    • 1 pound, 4 ounces (about 4 1/2 cups) plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
    • 2 large whole eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk; stir until dissolved. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 1 pound, 4 ounces flour, sugar, salt, cardamom, and 4 tablespoons butter; beat on low speed until butter is incorporated and the mixture resembles coarse meal, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the yeast-milk mixture; mix until dough just comes together. Add the eggs and yolk; mix until just combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overmix.

Cheese-DanishTurn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, making sure to include any loose bits left at the bottom of the bowl. Gently knead to form a smooth ball, about 30 seconds. Wrap well with plastic, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Paddle remaining 3 1/2 sticks butter with 2 tablespoons flour. Form flour and butter mixture into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle on a sheet of plastic wrap. Refrigerate 15 minutes or up to 1 day. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to an 18-by-10-inch rectangle, a little over a 1/4 inch thick, keeping the corners as square as possible. Remove any excess flour with a dry pastry brush. Remove butter mixture from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until it reaches the consistency of the dough. With a short side facing you, place butter mixture over 2/3 of the dough. Fold the unbuttered third over as you would a business letter, followed by the remaining third. This seals in the butter.

Roll out dough again to an 18-by-10-inch rectangle, then fold dough into thirds as described above; refrigerate for 1 hour. This is the first of three turns. Repeat rolling and folding two more times, refrigerating for at least 1 hour between turns. To help you remember how many turns have been completed, mark the dough after each one: make one mark for the first turn, two for the second, and three for the third.

Refrigerate dough, tightly wrapped in plastic, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Dough can also be frozen, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks; before using, thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight.

Cheese-Danish-2Ingredients (Cheese Filling)
    • One 8-ounce package farmer’s cheese
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/4 cup golden raisins
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cheese and sugar on low speed until well combined. Add the egg, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add raisins, flour, and zest; mix just to combine. Filling can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Ingredients (To Finish)
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • sugar to sprinkle
  • flour for rolling

When you’re ready to make the Danish preheat the oven to 350.  Roll out dough on lightly floured board to about 1/3” thick.  Cut dough into 3×3 squares.  Place two tablespoons of cheese filling in the center of each square.  Bring together the two opposite corners of the square together.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Bake until deep golden brown, about 16-18 minutes.