Tasty Tuesday — Cherry and Cheese Danish

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!

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.

This Weekend — Taste of Tribeca

Have an appetite for amazing food? Come and join us on Greenwich Street (by Harrison Street) and work up that appetite this weekend at Taste of Tribeca, where we’ll have lots of fun activities for you and your family.

Taste of Tribeca 
This Saturday, May 16th from 11:30am to 3:00pm
MY Sports Zone! 
Manhattan Youth has been a leader in sports and fitness programming in lower Manhattan since 1986. So this Saturday at Taste of Tribeca, we’re bringing out MY Sports Zone!
Show us your best Eli Manning impression at the football toss, where accuracy is key. Throw the football through our target tire and win a prize! Or channel your inner Rickie Fowler on our carnival style mini golf course!
We’d love for all of our members to stop by.

Come Play With Clay
Manhattan Youth will also have a clay table. Bring the kids over and watch them have tons of fun working with air-dry clay. They can make anything from animals to small bowls, and you can take your projects home as soon as they’re done!

And we haven’t even mentioned the delicious food from over 70 great neighborhood restaurants! 
This outdoor culinary festival benefits arts and enrichment programs at local public schools, PS 150 and PS 234.
(Some inside info: Get there early!)

Don’t forget to follow us Instagram: @manhattanyouth

And here’s the full Center schedule.

Student Films — Puppet Movies!

These films were made during our Spring Break Holiday Camp. With help from our instructor Justin, students created the puppets and completed these movies in just a few days! They’re a lot of fun–check ‘em out!
Pigzilla: The Giant Pig from space


The Queen Bee


The Bremen Town Musicians

The Bremen Town Musicians from Manhattan Youth on Vimeo.

For more info on our film intensive’s, visit manhattanyouth.org/after-school


Tasty Tuesday — Spring Vegetables au Gratin

By now your are all “little chefs,” and  it is time to learn some basic recipes. The sauce used to make these vegetables delicious is called Béchamel sauce. It was likely invented by Chef François de la Varenne. He was working for King Louis XIV during the same time the Marquis Louis de Béchamel was at court and  he named this sauce after him. Eaten with a green salad, this classic French dish called gratin can be a whole meal in the summer. It is called gratin because of all the yummy cheese that forms a crust  on top when baked. Enjoy!

Recipe by Isabelle Lapin

Preparation: 1 hour
Cooking: 30 min
6-8 adult portions

800g. (1Lb.12oz.) broccoli, cauliflower, zucchinis, asparagus, yellow squash, mushrooms, peppers
Shredded cheese for topping (can be Swiss, Parmesan or cheddar)
Tarragon or any other fresh herbs
Salt and pepper
Huile d’olive

Sauce béchamel:
30g. (1.05oz.) butter
30g. (1.05oz.) all-purpose flour
30g. (1.05oz.) milk
Salt and pepper
IMG_7828 v02
Pre-heat the oven at 350F.  Peel, cut and wash the vegetables. Boil it, steam or sauté it in a little oil. Drain them. Put them in a buttered gratin dish like an oven proof glass dish.
To make the béchamel sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and mix (it is called a “roux”).  Add the milk slowly while mixing to avoid lumps. Adjust the consistency of the sauce by adding milk if it is too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the béchamel over the vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake until the cheese is golden brown.

Tips and Info:
You can also add flavor the béchamel by adding cheese, some lemon juice, or grated nutmeg or fresh garlic. For a gluten-free sauce, replace the flour by corn or potatoes starch. You can add some heavy cream and/or and egg yolk beaten at the end of the preparation to add richness to the sauce. You can add fresh fish filets (sole, tilapia, red snapper…) on top of the vegetables before pouring the sauce.
The word sauce is a French word that means a relish to make our food more appetizing. Sauces are devised to make the food they are served with look, smell, and taste better. Before refrigeration was invented sauces and gravies were used to mask the flavor of tainted foods.IMG_8088 v02
Béchamel sauce is one of the four basic sauces called “mères” or “mother sauces” from which all other sauces are derived. It is also known as “sauce blanche,” white sauce. It is made from a roux, made with butter, flour and milk or cream. Historically, there are four theories on the origin of béchamel sauce. One theory is that this sauce was created in the 14th century and was introduced by the Italian chefs of Catherine de Medici, Queen of France. Another theory is that Duke Philippe De Mornay, Governor of Saumur in the 1600s, invented the Béchamel sauce.  He is also credited with being the creator of sauce Mornay that is derived from the Béchamel sauce. Marquis Louis de béchamel, 17th century financier is also said to have invented this sauce when trying to find a new way to eat dried codfish.
It is more likely Chef François de la Varenne who created the Béchamel sauce. He was a court chef during King Louis XIV’s reign, during the same time Béchamel was there.
Gratin is a culinary technique in which ingredients are topped with a browned crust, often-using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, and butter. It is usually served in its shallow baking dish. The most famous is the gratin Dauphinois that is made with potatoes and heavy cream and can be topped with grated cheese. Gratin comes from the verb “gratter” which means to scrape as of the ‘scrapings’ of bread or cheese.

This Mother’s Day Weekend at the Center

On behalf of everyone at Manhattan Youth, we’d like to wish every Mom a wonderful and happy Mother’s Day. We have some fun Mother’s Day activities planned, so come and join us celebrate the wonderful women in our lives!

Fun, Fun, Fun!
Let mom sleep in, or bring her to the Center for some Mother’s Day fun! We’ve got swimming Sunday morning at the Center, and FREE Mother’s Day Mini Golf at Pier 25. (Though, to be honest, Mini Golf is free for members everyday before noon.) Here’s the full schedule for this weekend at the Center.

Make a gift for mom!
We will have Mother’s Day themed projects in Art All Day on Saturday. Come by between 11am and 3pm to make an extra gift for mom. There’s nothing like a personalized, hand-made gift!

We love our moms!
Any mom who comes to the Center on Mother’s Day will receive a gift from all of us at Manhattan Youth.

And! Did you know, Manhattan Youth is now on Instagram. Follow us: @manhattanyouth

Tasty Tuesday — Strawberry-Lavender Scones with Honey-Lemon Butter

Strawberries are in season somewhere in the U.S.  Wait until the end of May to go pick your own in New York state.  Native Americans ate strawberries long before the European settlers arrived.  As spring’s first fruit, they were a treat, eaten freshly picked or baked into cornbread. I chose to bake them into this little quick bread that Scottish people call scones. Enjoy this sweet treat as your afternoon snack, with our homemade butter or like English people do with your tea at 4 o’clock sharp!

Recipe by Isabelle Lapin

Preparation: 20 min
Cooking: 15 to 18 min
Make 8 portions

1-cup fresh diced strawberries
2 cups (250g.) all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. fresh chopped lavender flowers (or rosemary,sage)
6 Tbsp. cold butter (85g.) cut in pieces
½ cup to 1-cup heavy cream or buttermilk
Heavy cream and sugar in the raw for the top


Preheat the oven at 425F.  Place the cut up strawberries on paper towel to absorb their juice.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and rosemary.  With your finger tips or two knives cut the butter until it coats the flour and resemble coarse meal.  Make a well and pour the buttermilk.  Gently stir the mixture until it forms dough.  Turn it onto a floured surface.  Knead gently and pat dough down into a 9” round and cut into 8 wedges.  Brush with cream and bake until top is just golden brown.

1-quart heavy cream
Zest of 2 lemons (can be 1 orange)
½ cup honey (can be maple syrup)
Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients into the chilled bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the whisk attachment whip on low speed until it thickens.  Then whisk on high until it separates (these are the buttermilk and the butter solids).  Stop whipping.  Strain out the butter and squeeze dry.  Work the butter a couple of times to bring it together to form a nice ball.  Refrigerate.  It will make a little less than a cup.

Tips and info:
You can use fresh apricots with lavender, peaches with mint or thyme.  You can add a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg or ground ginger, allspice, cardamom or clove.  In the winter use pears or apples with cinnamon or nutmeg. For the butter use any herbs you like instead of the zests,omit the honey and add a pinch of salt.Scones2
Scones got their start as a Scottish quick bread.  Some say that the origin of the word “skone” comes from the Dutch word ‘schoonbrot’, which means beautiful bread.  Others argue that scones are related to the ancient Welsh tradition of cooking small round yeast cakes on bakestones, and later on griddles.  Finally some suggests that it comes from the Stone of Destiny, where the Kings of Scotland were crowned. Originally scones were made with oats, shaped into a large round, scored onto four or six wedges and griddle baked over an open fire (later, a stovetop).  Today’s scones are quick bread, similar to American biscuits and they are baked in the oven. The griddle scones are now fried rather than baked.  Thanks to Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788-1861) scones became popular and an essential part of the fashionable ritual of taking tea in England.
Strawberries are in season somewhere in the U.S.  Wait until the end of May to go pick your own in New York state. Every state in the U.S. grows their own.  California grows 80% of it. Technically a berry has its seeds on the inside but strawberries have around 200 seeds on the outside. So they are not true berries like blueberries.  They are member of the rose family. Native Americans ate strawberries long before the European settlers arrived.  As spring’s first fruit, they were a treat, eaten freshly picked or baked into cornbread.

Art Shack at Pier 25

Come to Pier 25, meet Xavier, and paint something amazing!
Art Shack at Pier 25
Every Saturday and Sunday from noon – 5pm during good weather, the Art Shack on Pier 25 is open and FREE for your family! Our outdoor art director, Xavier Rivera will be there to set you up with an easel, a canvas, and some paints. Kids can make their own creations–suitable for framing–or contribute to our banners, which have featured the work of hundreds of community artists over the years.

The Art Shack outdoor art program at Pier 25 dates back to 1996, when artist Xavier approached our founder, Bob Townley, with the idea for a free outdoor art program. Through the years, Xavier has persevered through the demolition and rebuilding of Pier 25 with an art space astride the Hudson River Park bike path, and now our Art Shack once again is a permanent fixture of our Pier 25 programming.

While you’re at the pier, stop by the Sweet Love Snack Bar and play a round of Mini Golf!

World Premiere Student Films, hosted by TriBeca Film Festival

Over the past two weekends, Manhattan Youth presented over 3 hours of world premiere movies at three separate screening events, hosted by the Tribeca Film Festival.

On April 18th, we brought over 200 people to the Regal Cinemas for the World Premier of 11 films created during our Spring Break Filmmaking intensive. Our student filmmakers walked the red carpet and posed for photos right before they grabbed a seat to view their films with their families for the first time on the big screen.

On Sunday, April 19th, Manhattan Youth made up one third of the films chosen to premier at SVA Theater for Tribeca Film Festival’s Downtown Youth Behind the Camera. After the student movies were presented, each group participated in a Q&A session moderated by Peter Downing and Shareen Obaid Chinow.

And this past Saturday, April 25th, we showed two separate hour-long programs to completely sold out houses as part of the Tribeca Family Festival.

We want to send a big thanks to everyone who came out to support our student filmmakers! Here’s a short video from some of our events.

Tasty Tuesday — Vegetarian Sushi

Did you know that, contrary to popular belief, sushi does not mean raw fish at all. Sushi refers to the seasoned rice used to wrap and to preserve the fish. It was created in Southeast Asia a very long time ago. Japanese sushi as we know it now was invented around 1868. It is traditionally eaten with the fingers as a snack. What a delicious healthy snack it is!

Recipe by Isabelle Lapin

Preparation: 30 min
Cooking: 30 min
Makes: 10 full-sized rolls

3 Lb. 8 oz. (1.59 kg) short grain rice
64 fl. oz. (1.92 L) water
6 fl. oz. (180 ml) unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
2-¼ oz. (35 g) fine sea salt
Zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, cucumbers, avocados
Imitation crab stickssushi1
Extra firm tofu cut in sticks
Cold omelet cut lengthwise
Cream cheese (dairy or tofu)
Seaweed leaves

Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs semi-clear. Drain well. Combine rice with water in a deep dish. Steam the rice until almost completely cooked, around 30 minutes. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Combine the salt and vinegar. Warm over low heat to dissolve the salt; do not let the mixture boil. Cool at room temperature. Transfer the rice to 2 plates and drizzle the vinegar mixture. “Cut” and fold the rice over using a wooden rice paddle or flat wooden spatula. Continue until the mixture has cooled. Cut all the desired vegetables into sticks ¼ inch thick. Make the sushi rolls.

The vinegar mixture is optional. You can use plain sushi rice. Wrap your sushi mat in plastic wrap it will be easier to clean. Do not put too much rice and filling on the seaweed leaf otherwise it won’t close. You can create any kind of sushi rolls, using cooked sweet potatoes and butternut squash, even dessert ones with your favorite fruits. Make a fruit or chocolate sauce to dip your dessert sushi.

The sushi originated in Southeast Asia. At the beginning, it was a piece of fermented fish wrapped in sour rice. The seasoned rice was used to preserve the fish. Then it spread in China and ultimately to Japan. The sushi as we know them today were invented by Hanaya Yohei in Japan sometime at the end of the Edo period, 1868. They began as cheap fast food or a quick snack to eat with your hands; only sashimi, which is raw, slices of fish, is eaten with chopsticks. Sushi rolls are called Maki, from the Japanese Makisu, which is the bamboo mat we use to make the rolls. The Japanese people prefer nigiri, which is a piece of fish pressed on top of a strip of rice. Maki can be wrapped in soy paper, cucumber or egg, not only in Nori seaweed. There are 10,000 recognized varieties of seaweed in the world. Many seaweeds look like plants and are categorized by their color: green, brown, or red algae.

This Weekend at the Center — Tribeca Family Festival

This weekend we’re headed outside for the Tribeca Family Festival. This annual neighborhood street fair will play host to many Manhattan Youth happenings, including live performances, a ceramics tent, and two screenings of 25 different films made by Manhattan Youth students. We hope you will join us!

Note: There will be no Family Clay Day this Saturday. Instead, come visit us at our ceramics tent at the Tribeca Family Festival!

PS234 Auction A Success!
This Saturday was the Annual PS234 Auction – And it was a smashing success! While attendees were generously raising money to support one of the fantastic elementary schools in our downtown community, their children were having a ball at the Center! There were games, activities, and whole lot of fun. Congratulations to the faculty, students and families of PS234, and so happy to help them with another successful annual fundraiser!

TriBeCa Family Festival This Saturday!
This Saturday is the TriBeCa Family Festival! We’ve got so many Manhattan Youth happenings at the annual street festival. Be sure to come check out this annual celebration of our downtown community!
–There will be live performances by the After School Glee and Theater Clubs from IS276 & IS289.
–At the Manhattan Youth tent, we will have our ceramics pottery wheels, where kids can come by and take a spin and make a pot!
–Manhattan Youth will also present two separate film lineups of our favorite projects from the past year. We’ve got 25 short student films, and we can’t wait to share them with you.
1:00pm Science Fiction and Fantasy Films
3:00pm Comedy and Drama Films
Tribeca Screening Room – 375 Greenwich Street, NYC

Brahms in TriBeCa
The young Johannes Brahms caused a sensation when he performed his Piano Quartet in G minor to an enthusiastic audience and critical acclaim at his 1862 Vienna debut concert.
Join us at 2 PM on Sunday, April 26th when we recreate that excitement with the accomplished pianist Peter Basquin and our Tribeca Chamber Players in a FREE performance of the Brahms G minor Piano Quartet, Opus 25, in the Great Hall at Manhattan Youth (120 Warren Street, NYC).
In keeping with our up-close and personal music-in-the-round tradition, your intrepid performers will set some tempos and work through some transitions at 2 PM - we last rehearsed a week ago – & you are welcome to hear musical sausage being made. The performance starts at about 2:30 PM.
For more background on Brahms and the quartet, read our blog.

And here is the full weekend schedule for the community center.