Dang Good Danish

June 5th marks the day in Denmark in which former and current constitutions were signed. The original one signed in 1866 effectively abolished absolute monarchy ushering in greater citizen rights throughout the Kingdom. The current (and fourth) one, permitted for females to inherit the throne.

To say this Constitution Day is important to the Danish people would be an understatement. They have no real national holiday other than this one. In effect this one is like a national holiday in that banks and governmental businesses are closed for business in honor of the day. The day is usually celebrated locally with political meetings and rallies.

In honor of such an auspicious occasion, I whipped out my Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary Edition for a more intensive and more authentic recipe. Not to know the usual favorites, but if you’re looking for something with a little more nuance than your average “home cook” recipe, reach for Joy (the “next level” home cook cookbook).

I made, you guessed it, Danishes! And not just any Danishes at that. Cream Cheese Danish Spirals stood out to me as delicious and whimsical. My SIL loves cheese Danishes. I remember this from a time before she was married to my brother, so I knew I’d have to take some to her (and that also means we wouldn’t be eating them all)! I typically use gluten free flour when I bake (for personal preference), but GF doughs have not really ever given me a good rise that glutinous flours have. Therefore, in this instance I decided to use Bob’s Red Mill Pastry Flour for the first time.

Danishes interestingly enough do not hold their origins in Denmark, but closer to Austria. There was a bakery workers strike in Denmark in the late 1800s causing baking to be outsourced by bakery owners primarily from Austrian workers. One of the techniques these Austrian bakery workers brought with them was the process of dough lamination, completely revolutionizing Danish pastries from then on.

The pastry flour helped produced a nice light, delicate pastry. For the first time in my career as a home baker, I used the technique of laminating dough to create the soft, flaky layers within the pastry (like you see in a croissant). If you’re unfamiliar with laminating, that’s ok. Its the process of folding butter into pastry dough, rotating it, and rolling it out; folding it again and rotating again before rolling it out again. It’s chilled (this recipe specified 30min) and the whole process is repeated — 4 times! I’ve seen a great deal of this on The Great British Baking Show

Y’all, this was a process, but oh so rewarding in the end in having conquered a new and daunting technique! For more in-depth information about this process, TheKitchn has a great article here. What are some recipes or techniques you’re wanting to conquer?

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