The 2020 Holidays Recipe Collection
How you doin’? The thing I love about doing basic baking research in the test kitchen is sometimes you end up with something totally different and much better than you thought you would. I started out to make the world’s best Mexican cheesecake and wound up with a beautiful Cheese Danish. Sometimes stuff just happens—wonderful stuff!
A little bit about Danish pastry… Danish pastry, sometimes shortened to just Danish (as in “Yo Marge, gimme a Cheese Danish”), is a multi-layered, laminated sweet pastry in the Viennoiserie tradition. The word Viennoiserie–is French for all things from Vienna–and describes a whole wonderful category of pastries that includes croissants, pain au chocolat and brioche. These bakery goods, traditionally associated with France, tend to bridge the gap between boulangerie (breads) and patisserie (pastry), at least that’s what they told us in baking school. Like other Viennoiserie pastries, such as croissants, it is a variant of puff pastry made of laminated dough that creates a layered texture (at least 68 buttery layers to be technically correct).
The concept of Danish Pastry, as noted, was not originally Danish but rather Austrian (probably from Vienna). The recipes were brought to Denmark in 1850 by Austrian strike-breaker bakers. You see, all the bakers went on strike and left Copenhageners swinging in the breeze without their morning pastries. Let me tell you from experience, you shouldn’t leave good Danes without their morning coffee and pastry. Viennoiserie-style Danish has since developed into a Danish specialty.
Danish pastries were brought to the United States by immigrants, where they were and often still are made with a fruit or cream cheese filling. In fact, you can take my recipe below and add a 1/2 cup of fruit pie filling and get a twofer—fruit & cheese. Danish pastry is now popular around the world. Some of the best I’ve ever tasted were in old Saigon and Hong Kong.
Cheese Danish Pastry Slab is the perfect morning starter or evening dessert during normal times and especially great during these rather difficult times. It is quick and easy to make, smells amazing while baking and tastes wonderful! It will last, covered at room temperature, for about 4 days... unless you finish it first.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45 to 55 minutes
Cool time: 2 hours
Yield: 1 9 x 13-inch slab cheesecake, 12 servings
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 sheets (1 package) frozen puff pastry dough, defrosted (I prefer Pepperidge Farms)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup honey, warmed
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: “I was just reminiscing the other day; I was on the floor trying to fix a pesky old washing machine and asked my gal to bring me a screwdriver. She asked, flat head, Philips or vodka? That’s when I knew for sure she was the one.”
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Here is wishing you the very best for the upcoming holidays. To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind welcoming in the holiday season. If you have a little extra in your pockets to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America. Thanks for reading.
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©Perspectives/The Consulting Group, Inc., 2020
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