That's because I used a Barnes and Noble gift certificate to buy How to Be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella's baking book. Like every other Nigella book, it's an out and out great read. I've been salivating to make something from the book and I decided to go all out and making something really complicated - Danish. This would be a complicated recipe what with all of the butter and the rollng, but while there were many steps involving many hours of rising, no one step was all too complicated. It turned out wonderfully - buttery, flaky, and absolutely delicious. There isn't too much sugar in the dough itself so you could just as easily put in a savory filling like ham and cheese or spinach and feta. I used two types of fillings - cranberry jam (from the same book) and raspberries and blackberries. I found the berries were too wet and a bit too tart. The danish needed something more sugary.
Here's the recipe:
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
1 large egg at room temperature
2 1/4 cups of all purpose or bread flour
1 package of yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup of butter cold, and cut into thin slices.
Pur the water and milk into a measuring cup and add the egg, beating with a fork to mix. Put to one side in a warm place. Put the flour yeast, salt, and sugar in the processor, and give one quick whizz to mix. Add the cold slices of butter and process briefly until the butter is cut up to visible chunks around 1/2 to 1/4 of an inch. Empty the contents of of the food processor into a large bowl and quickly add the contents of the cup of liquid. Use your hands or a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together, but don't overdo it: expect to have a gooey mess with some butter lumps pebbling it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator at least overnight or up to 4 days.
After having it sit overnight, take the dough out of the fridge and let it got to room temperature and roll out to a 20 inch square. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter, turning it afterward so that the closed fold is on your left, like the spine of a book. Roll out again to a 20 inch square and releat the steps above 3 times. Cut the dough in half and fold up each half to a manageable size and wrap both pieces in plastic wrap. Let sit in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes and up to 4 days. To make the Danish, cut each dough into eight squares.
To make specialized danishes, Nigella offers two recipes, one with a homemade almond paste and a cheese one with ricotta. I decided to use the cranberry jam and the mixed fruit. Jam or a thick fruit compote is ideal. There are two ways to put together the danish. One is to put the filling in the middle diagonally and then fold two edges towards the middle. The other way is to plop a heaping spoonful of the filling directly into the middle of the square and fold all the corners towards the middle to keep the square shape. Either way, let the Danishes rise in a warm place for an hour and a half. Brush with an egg wash made from a beaten egg and 2 tablespoons of milk. Then bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes until golden. Let cool and drizzle a glaze made with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of warm water.
One final thing. Is anyone watching Battle of the Choirs? It's twelve kinds of awesome. And the superstar of the show is Nick Lachey and his choir. As someone who sang in a choir for eight years, I love that he actually wants the choir to sing as a choir and not just a singer with some backup singers. But boo Blake Shelton whose choir kind of blows.