Well i've been trying to challenge myself when it comes to baking lately so I went to the library this weekend and checked out several books. One of them was this one Better Homes and Gardens Old-Fashioned Home Baking. It looked like there were a lot of good recipes in there so I went through it and decided on the Quick-method danish pastry (I might want to challenge myself, but i'm not completely crazy, lol). I figured if the quick method turned out ok then I would eventually try out the classic method when I had a little more time. The directions seemed pretty straight forward and I followed the directions to the T (which is unusual for me). I'm telling you these turned out AWESOME!!! This probably isn't a recipe for a beginning baker, but if you have a little knowledge of baking, i'd say give it a try.
Quick-Method Danish Pastry
Better Homes and Gardens
Old-Fashioned Home Baking
1 1/2 cups cold butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups light cream or milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup all purpose flour
For dough, in a large bowl combine 1 1/2 cups flour and yeast. Heat and stir the cream, sugar, and salt just till warm (120/130F). Add to flour mixture. Add the egg. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chilled flour-butter mixture till the flour is well moistened (butter will remain in large pieces).
Sprinkle a pastry cloth or work surface with a 1/4 cup of flour. Turn dough out onto the floured surface. With floured hands, gently knead dough for 8 strokes only. With a well-floured rolling pin, roll into a 21x 12 inch rectangle. fold crosswise into thirds to form a 12x7 inch rectangle. loosely wrap; chill 1 to 1 1/2 hours in refridgerator or for 20 to 30 minutes in the freezer or till dough is firm but not excessively stiff.
On a well-floured surface, roll dough into a 21 x 12 in rectangle. Fold dough crosswise into thirds; give a quarter turn. Then roll out, fold into rectangle, and turn, twice more. Flouring surface as needed (it's not necessary to chill dough between rollings). Place in plastic bag. Seal bag, leaving room for expansion. Chill 4 to 24 hours. Fill, shape, and bake as directed in recipes.
I decided on the classic danish shape and just a seedless raspberry jam right out of a jar and a cream cheese filling.
For the cream cheese filling:
4oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 an egg yolk (i know kind of tricky, but i halved a recipe and you don't want to add too much or it gets eggy)
1/4 tsp vanilla
combine all ingredients until smooth and set aside until ready for filling.
To shape, on a lightly floured surface, roll chilled pastry dough into a 21 x 12 inch rectangle. Cut dough crosswise into 21-12x1 inch strips. Take a strip, one end in each hand, and twist ends into opposite directions 3 or 4 times. Form into a snail shape and tuck end underneath. Transfer to parchment lined cookie sheet (don't put more than 9 per cookie sheet).
Using your thumbs or 2 fingers, make a 2-inch indentation in the center of each pastry. Spoon 1 rounded Tablespoon of filling into each pastry. i did combination of each raspberry jam, cheese, and raspberry/cheese. Cover and let rise in a warm place (I used my oven with the light on, but remember to take them out before preheating the oven!!) until nearly doubled (45 to 60 minutes).