We owe this delicious pastry to a strike! As the story goes, in 1850 bakery workers in Denmark went on strike. It forced the owners to hire workers from abroad, among them several Austrian bakers, who brought along new baking traditions and pastry recipes. So it is really an Austrian pastry called Wienerbrod, or “Vienna Bread.” The Danish bakers adjusted these recipes to their own liking, and it became what we now know as Danish pastry. In the United States, a Danish immigrant, Lauritz Klitteng popularized this pastry around 1915-1920.
I chose to add cherries to our danish because cherry season is beginning, and they are sweet and juicy. Cherries are the same family as roses and began to be farmed in the 1850′s in Washington State. Bing cherries are the most popular sweet cherries and were named after Chinese cherry farm workers. Cheese and cherry filling is a wonderful combination that compliments this buttery yeast dough perfectly. Enjoy!
CHERRY AND CHEESE FILLED DANISH
Recipe by Isabelle Lapin
Preparation: 30 min
Cooking: 40 min
Proofing till dough double
Makes 8 portions
Ingredients: (12 oz. dough for 1 ring)
¾ oz. (1Tbsp.+1 tsp.; 12g. dry yeast) fresh yeast
½ cup warm milk
3 cups (390g.) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (50g.) sugar
1 tsp. (5g.) salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
8 oz. (226g.; 2 sticks) cold butter cut in pieces
2 large eggs (100g.)
Cherry and Cream cheese filling:
6 oz. (12 Tbsp.) pitted fresh cherries
8 oz. soften cream cheese
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
Combine the yeast and the warm milk and pinch of sugar. It should become frothy and bubbly. If it does not make bubbles your yeast is dead and you must change it. Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix, then add the butter and process until it resembles coarse meal. You can do that with two knives or your fingertips. Add the eggs and yeast mixture. Mix until it makes a soft ball–not sticky. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place. Allow to double in size (about 2 hours). Press down gently to release the gasses and weigh 12 ounces. Roll it into a rectangle 12″ by 8″. Spread the filling and roll the dough jellyroll style. Make 3 cuts around the outside and gather the ends by pinching them together. Put on baking sheet cover with parchment paper and let stand for 1 hour. Brush with egg wash (1 large egg+1 yolk+ pinch salt).
Filling: Preheat the oven at 360F. Cream the cheese. Add the sugar and the vanilla and then the yolk. Add the pitted cherries.
Tips and info: You can use pie filling instead of fresh cherries or cherries in jar. Spread the cream cheese filling first then spread the pie filling against the cheese filling and roll the dough. You can use any flavored filling you like. You can also use fresh seasonal fruits.
We call a certain kind of pastry, filled with cheese or fruit, “Danish pastry.” Is it really from Denmark? Well, Danish pastry may have come to the United States from Denmark. But its name in Denmark suggests that it did not originate there. The Danes call this pastry Wienerbrod, or “Vienna Bread”, and Vienna is a city in Austria. What happened is that in 1850 bakery workers in Denmark went on strike. It forced the owners to hire workers from abroad, among them several Austrian bakers, who brought along new baking traditions and pastry recipes. The Danish bakers adjusted these recipes to their own liking and it became what we know now as Danish pastry.
Danish immigrants brought Danish pastry to the U.S.. Lauritz Klitteng popularized this pastry around 1915-1920. According to Mr. Klitteng, he made Danish pastry for the wedding of President Wilson in December 1915. In 1962, Mr. Gertner befriended the Danish baker who convinced him that Danish pastry might be well received in New York. Mr. Gertner began serving the pastry in his restaurant and it immediately was a success.
It is not known where cherries originated from, but they have been a popular fruit in Europe for centuries. They made their way to the U.S. by European settlers in the 1860’s. Later French settlers planted cherry pits they had brought from Normandie throughout the Great Lake region. But cherry farming really started in the late 1850’s. The most common sweet cherry variety is the Bing cherry. This cherry originated in Oregon (60% with Washington State of the sweet cherries production) and received its name from the Chinese workers on the cherry farm. The Montmorency cherry is the most popular tart variety. Most of the tart cherries are from Michigan (75% of the production of tart cherries) and Wisconsin.