Well, once the rush of holiday knitting ended, the holiday baking began. I try never to bake as I eat too much, but with two sons in the house, one must cave at least at the holidays. My family has several somewhat traditional cookie recipes, but I decided to go another way this year.
I have always wanted to try to bake Danish pastry. I located a recipe in my favorite baking book, which by the way is Prairie Home Breads by Judith Fertig.
As a warmup, however, I made stollen for Christmas morning. I use my Grandmother's recipe, which she got from a friend in Vermont long ago. I made three, one for me and the boys, one for my folks, one for my sister and her family. I like using a baking pan so that the slices are not too long and narrow.
Next, some Lucia Buns for Christmas dinner. Not the traditional date for these buns, however my sons asked for them. Sometimes they show up at Thanksgiving dinner as well; they are pictured here from last year. I cheat; I don't do individual shapes, I just roll them into a rough ball and put in the baker a la monkey bread. This recipe is also from Prairie Home Breads.
OK, then on to the Danish. I learned from Ms. Fertig's book that Danish pastries can be made in to all different shapes. This would be my cookie dough. I can be a bit sloppy at times, so I tried hard to follow the recipe to the letter. Prepared dough (used the Kitchenaid)
and chilled and rolled out butter. Layered dough and butter, refridgerating a few minutes in between folding and rolling out. Really, not terribly difficult. I did not get perfect layers, but the end result did not seem to suffer.
Then, once all folds done, refridgerate overnight. Now, here was my learning aha moment...I thought that yeast did not actively work when dough was cold. WRONG! Here we are out of the fridge the next morning (compare above and below):
Next, the fun begins. Divide the dough and refridgerate parts not being worked with. I made a filling, an almond paste from the book. Roll dough out flat, spread filling, rolly jelly roll style
Slice, allow a little rising time and bake:
For the next batch, I went with something easier but a little Scandinavian, some Swedish Lingonberry jam
These pictured below are before baking. The jam was slippery and I used my new trick to refridgerate the roll before slicing.
Their final appearance was not perfect, but quite delicious.
Next year, I will bother to hand-form the Lucia Bun S shape, but I will use the refriderator trick to work the dough more easily!
So, New Year's celebration is easier: make olive tapenade hors d'oeuvres with pre made pizza dough, take to sister's and eat steamed oysters.
Happy New Year!