Have you ever craved the smell of something? I know this might sound extremely weird, but sometimes I just want to smell a certain thing. usually its the smell of a sweet yeast dough cooking. Something about the smell makes me feel loved and comforted. everyone knows this smell. It’s what draws people to the cinnabun and pretzel stands at malls. It’s what makes waking up on Sunday mornings as a kid memorable. It’s one of the few things I remember my mom making when I was a kid.
The past week I’ve struggled with work and life and all of these adult things that now fill my life. I went and saw a movie only to cry for a solid 2 hours (note to all – The Descendants is not what I expected out of a film with Mr. Clooney existing in Hawaii). I knew only one thing could shake the mood I was in, baking.
I felt better as soon as I started to smell the yeast blooming in the milk. Any remaining tension disappeared while kneading the dough. How could the problems of my life really be so bad if I still have everything I need to bake?
I didn’t really know where I was going when I made the dough. Maybe a cake? Maybe sweet rolls? Maybe something different. As the dough proofed I investigated the pantry and made the best discovery: sour cherry jam! from there I just went with what ever came to mind, and I have to say…. the end product surprised and impressed me.
It might have been a restless 5:30 this morning when my cherry creation went into the oven, but it was worth it. There’s no better smell coming out of a kitchen in the morning than one of these!
Recipe all my own
1 Cup milk
1 Package instant yeast
1/2 Cup sugar
3 Cups flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 8.5oz container of sour cherry jam
1 cup frozen cherries
1/4 cup flour
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cream
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey, or as needed
- Warm milk to about 100 degrees, add a pinch of a sugar and the package of yeast. Let bloom
- In a large bowl mix flour, almond meal, sugar and salt
- Once the yeast is activated add the milk mixture and the melted butter to the dry ingredients. mix to combine
- transfer the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth
- place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour
- while the dough is rising make the filling. Place the jam and frozen cherries in a bowl and microwave until the jam is loose. add the lemon juice and the flour mix and set aside.
- get out your largest kitchen towel and cover generously with flour.
- place the risen dough on the towel and begin rolling until the dough is about the size of the cloth.
- spread the filling out over the entire surface of the dough
- gently roll the dough up into a log
- to shape the dough make the log into a U-shape and the twist
- place the dough on a lined sheet pan cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least an hour, preferably over night. It will double to triple in size
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400° and mix the egg and cream together. Brush the egg mixture over the entire dough.
- sprinkle the almonds over the pastry and place small cubes of the butter throughout the topping.
- last, drizzle about a tablespoon of honey over the almonds
- place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes rotating half way through, if the dough looks dry, drizzle more honey over the danish
- let cool before slicing
Check out other awesome pastries over at Yeastspotting!