Here is my family’s traditional Christmas morning Danish Pastry! I always felt daunted by it as it’s a huge part of our Christmas experience and who wants to be the idiot that makes a bad danish? But I finally seized some courage and made it. It’s not extremely difficult. The shaping/braiding is the hardest part. But there are a lot of steps and elements so just follow the steps and you truly won’t go wrong!
There are several parts to this recipe. First the filling, then the actual bread recipe, then the egg wash, crumble, and glaze frosting and cherries to go on top. The fillings can be made in advance even a few days! The bread is best fresh (heaven) but you can get away with a day in advance I think!
Heat in a saucepan:
1 cup of milk
In a separate bowl beat
1 egg y0lk
1/3 c sugar
1/4 t. salt
THEN add 3 T. flour
When milk is boiling beat the egg mixture into it and add:
1 t. vanilla. — STIR CONSTANTLY and then take off the heat as the mixture thickens. It will have a jelly yogurt filling type consistency. Set aside.
1/4 lb butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 t. almond extract
Mix all and set aside.
1/2 lb butter
2 c. skim milk, warmed (I used 1% it was fine)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
Place butter and sugar in 4qt bowl. Pour heated milk over that to melt butter. Let stand while you mix:
2 packets of yeast
1/2 c. warm water (120 degrees F)
1 T. sugar
Stir, let stand 5 minutes for yeast to develop. Add to cooled butter mixture with 3 eggs.
1 t. salt
6 c. sifted flour
Combine well, no kneading required.
Cover with cloth (I used a glass bowl flipped over like a dome so you can see progress and it won’t stick to anything.) Let rise to double in size for 1.5 hrs. I put it on a heating pad on low. While this is going clean off your counter space. Stir or punch down and then let it rise for 45 more minutes. Split dough into three equal parts and let them rest for 10 minutes. Flour your workspace.
Roll each ball out to a 14×18 inch rectangle. Take 1/3 of cream filling down the center third of the dough. Then do the same with the almond filling.
SHAPING + BRAIDING
This is not my photo and not the what the recipe will look like but it illustrates how to cut and braid the bread! My mom usually shapes it like a candycane, I have seen wreath shapes, straight works great, too! Via
After the pastries are all formed and braided place them (two spatulas and sort of squish the ends together and then stretch back out) on a greased cookie sheet and let them rise for 30 minutes or just before it doubles in size.
CRUMBLE TOPPING + EGG WASH
When they’re ready for the oven, beat an egg white til frothy and brush it on the bread, top and sides. While its rising for 30 minutes make the crumble:
1/2 stick of butter, room temperature
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c pecans (or walnuts) chopped finely
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375 F and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. To avoid browning too much, place foil over the top during the last half of baking time.
3 c. powdered sugar
HAPPY CHRISTMAS DANISH!