Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon Sugar

Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon Sugar 

  Spring has always been a favorite season of mine.  It gives me a great amount of inspiration to see things sprout from the loneliness of winter and flourish into something beautiful and vibrant.  It’s like painting with an entirely new set of colors.  “What will I paint this month?”, is a metaphorical question I ask myself at the beginning of each month, as each new month brings its own palette of colors in various form. In the baking and photography sense, these forms are the vegetables, fruit, and flora that each month has to offer.   

  Now, here we are, stepping into the month of April. To be completely honest, it never felt as if I was in March all this time. It was so warm most of the month, with a few cold days here and there, even a bit of snow.  Many flowering trees that normally bloom in April have lost most their petals and have begun the next step unfurling their green leaves.  The crabapple trees are on the verge of blossoming, this I’m particularly excited about as they’re breathtaking in full bloom. I often enjoy this view in mid-April, but I’ll be seeing it a little earlier this year. 

Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon Sugar

  I’m excited to start combining the different flavors and scenes April has to offer. Much of my recipes these past couple weeks have focused mainly on citrus with some sort of herb or spice to accompany it. The last thing I baked was this Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze, and this week I bring to you these soft and feather-light Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon sugar. 

  Beignets are rather easy to make, especially if you are familiar with homemade doughnuts.  Both are processed in a similar manner, though, beignet dough is left to rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight, giving the end product a pleasant yeast flavor. Once they’ve been taken out of hot oil, they are rolled around in sugar which is given a subtle lemon flavor by rubbing the sugar granules in lemon zest. Lastly, they’re filled with a luscious pastry cream flavored using fresh lemon zest and rosemary leaves. They are, in a sense, an adieu to the citrus season for me.  A delicious one at that.

Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon Sugar  Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon SugarRosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon SugarRosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon SugarRosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon Sugar

ROSEMARY LEMON CREAM FILLED BEIGNETS WITH LEMON SUGAR


 beignets:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (110°F)

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

2 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup warm water

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed + softened

oil (canola, vegetable, etc), for frying

 

 rosemary lemon cream:

1 cup whole milk

1 rosemary sprig, slightly mashed

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/4 cup whole milk 

2 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon cake flour

1 tablespoon corn starch

1/4 cup sugar

lemon sugar:

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 cup granulated sugar

 

 method:

 for the beignets

  1. In the bowl of an electric standing mixer, add the yeast and warm water and slightly stir to combine.  Sprinkle in the flour and let it sit until it’s dry looking about 10-15 minutes.  Add the sugar, egg yolks, flour, sea salt, and water.  Mix the ingredients on medium speed with the dough hook attached; the dough should come together quickly, but if it looks dry within the first minute of mixing, add extra water until it comes together(you don’t want it clumpy).  Continue mixing the dough for 5 minutes, then stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a spatula and sprinkle with a bit of flour. Mix for another 5 minutes.   Afterward, it should be smooth, soft, and elastic with a slight stickiness to it. Once again, scrape down the bowl.  Add the softened butter and mix on medium-high until it all comes together.  This may take a few minutes and it will look separated at first, but it will soon come together forming a shiny, smooth, and elastic dough.  Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a large bowl lightly greased and floured.  Cover with a thin towel and let the dough rise in a warm, dry place for 1 hour to an 1 and 2o minutes.  Once doubled in size, release the gasses by gently punching down the dough.  wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.  After two hours have passed, release the gasses one last time, then cover again(tightly) and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Lightly flour a large, flat surface and turn the dough out onto it.  Set aside a large baking sheet covered with a thin cloth and then dusted with flour.  Cut golf ball sized pieces of dough out.  To shape, simply cup your hands and roll a dough piece in between your palms, until it’s a smooth ball.  Gently flatten the ball between your palms until you have a sphere shaped piece of dough.  Place it on the prepared baking sheet and repeat the process until all the dough has been shaped.  Space each piece about 3 inches apart.  Prepared another baking sheet if needed.  Cover with a thin towel and let them rise again in a warm, dry place for 1 hour to an 1 and 15 minutes.  On the last 20 minutes of rising, fill a medium sized pot with a couple inches of oil and heat to 340°F(you want to keep it around this temperature to evenly cook the beignets through).
  3. Meanwhile, set aside a large plate and add the sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon zest.  Rub the zest and the sugar between your fingers until all the sugar has a coating of lemon flavor to it.  
  4. Once the beignets have finished rising and the oil preheating, gently scrape one beignet from the baking sheet and slide into the hot oil, quickly flip the beignet once in the oil.  Cook 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and just slightly dry the oil from the surface of the beignet, then roll around in the lemon sugar until coated.  Set on a wire rack to cool completely before filling.  Continue this process until each beignet has been fried and sugar coated.

 for the cream filling:

  1. In medium sized saucepan, add the milk lemon zest and rosemary sprig.  Bring to a boil over medium heat then remove from heat.  Let it sit for 10 minutes, then remove the zest and rosemary.  Bring the milk back to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and a pinch of sea salt.  Add the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of milk and whisk until smooth. Pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking constantly.  Then using a strainer, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan of milk.  Turn the heat to medium and continue to whisk the mixture constantly until it becomes thick.  Stop stirring for a few seconds to see if the mixture is boiling, if so, continue whisking for 1 minute, then remove from heat and pour into the prepared pan and evenly spread around. Place another piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream to ensure a skin doesn’t form.  Place in the freezer until fully cooled(about 15 minutes).  
  3. Stir the pastry cream and spoon into a pastry bag with a large, round piping tip attached.  Poke a hole into the side of each beignet and pipe in the pastry cream until all the beignets are filled.  Enjoy.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

  Monkey bread has long been a favorite recipe of mine, with its warm, gooey, cinnamon goodness.  It’s one of those foods you savor in your childhood and long crave into your adulthood and the rest of your life, but never find yourself enjoying it as often as you would like.  As a child, it was a rare treat; my mom didn’t really bake many things outside of muffins, cookies, or birthday cake.  Cinnamon rolls almost always came from a can and homemade doughnuts weren’t a thing until I began to bake for fun.  Although this pull-apart cinnamon grapefruit bread with earl grey lavender glaze isn’t monkey bread, it closely resembles it (sans the gooeyness) in way of the process.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

  I recently realized there aren’t any recipes on my site with grapefruit as an ingredient.  I thought it best I post at least one including grapefruit before the season runs out, which is when I decided on this pull-apart cinnamon grapefruit bread with earl grey lavender glaze.  When it comes to grapefruit Florida ruby red is the best(in my opinion) and it’s what I used for this recipe.  Though it’s only the zest you need for the bread, still, I’ve found that that variety is what holds the flavor in the peel the best.

  I wish this bread had lasted longer than it did.  It was taken rather well by my family, my mom especially.  Which is surprising because she doesn’t like lavender and this had dried lavender sprinkled all over the top to add more flavor.  In any case you don’t have lavender on hand, just make a trip to your local garden center.  Most stores where plants are sold have small pots of lavender growing as of now and you can find them rather cheap as I did.  Once you have one, pluck as many buds off as you can and set them out to dry, then use.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze


PULL-APART CINNAMON GRAPEFRUIT BREAD WITH EARL GREY LAVENDER GLAZE

 bread

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

3/4 cups whole milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

zest from 1 grapefruit

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

 sugar, cinnamon, and butter coating

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

 earl grey + lavender glaze

tea:

1 cup water

2 earl grey tea bags

1 sprig of fresh lavender

glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons of the tea you made

dried lavender buds (optional)

 method:

 for the dough

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and heavy cream until warm.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the yeast and pour in 1/2 cup of the warm milk, stir slightly and let it sit until the yeast dissolves and is foamy(5-7 minutes).  Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl, set aside.  Once the yeast has dissolved, add the egg yolk, sugar, and remaining milk and whisk until just combined.  Sprinkle in 1 cup of flour, the grapefruit zest, and the soften cubed butter; mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook attached and slowly pour in the remaining flour.  Continue to mix until the dough begins to wipe the sides of the mixing bowl clean.  It should be very soft, but not sticky.  Remove from mixing bowl and place in a lightly buttered bowl.  Cover with a thin towel and let it rise in warm, dry place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  2. 10 minutes before the dough has finished its rising process, preheat the oven to 350°F / 177°C.  Butter well the sides and bottom of an 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper, lightly buttering this as well.  Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl and set aside.  On a plate, combine the sugar and cinnamon.  
  3. Once the dough has finished rising, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands for 1 minute.  Begin to tear various sized pieces (medium to small sizes) of dough in your hands and roll into a ball.  Dip the dough ball into the melted butter and cover with the sugar mixture, lastly place the dough ball in the pan.  Continue this process until all the dough is used and is evenly distributed in the loaf pan.  Place the pan on the lowest rack in the oven and bake for 55 minutes to an hour, until nicely browned.  Cool 10 minutes in the pan.  Using a sharp knife, carefully loosen the bread from around the edges of the pan.  Invert onto a plate and drizzle generously with the glaze.  Top with dried lavender and enjoy warm!

  for the glaze:

  1. Bring the water to a boil with the lavender sprig, then remove from heat and add the two tea bags.  Steep for 10 minutes then remove the lavender sprig and the tea bags.  Cool the tea completely before using.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, sift the confectioner’s sugar.  Add two tablespoons of the cooled tea to the sugar and whisk until smooth, it should drizzle thick and not runny.  If it’s runny, add a 1/4 more of powdered sugar.  if it is to thick, add 1/2 teaspoon more of tea.  Drizzle onto the bread when it’s still warm and top with dried lavender buds.

DOUGHNUTS WITH VANILLA ORANGE CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE

  There’s nothing quite like a fresh, warm doughnut.  With their golden skin and sugar-dusted tops; their daintiness cannot be matched.  Even more so when they’re filled with a scrumptiously smooth crème pâtissière, with its subtle hint of vanilla bean flavor and tangy zest from a plump mandarin orange.  Just writing about it and looking through the photos has me wanting to make a dozen of them again and it’s only been three days since the last one was devoured.  Is it acceptable to fry doughnuts twice in one week?  Considering the gross amount of ingredients I went through to get this recipe working, it’s probably not such a bright idea when I put my cravings aside and face reality.

  Writing recipes and testing their outcome can be quite the beast sometimes.  It’s definitely not easy, but it is fun to learn.  Yes, even when the majority of the tests are failures over success.  I remember when I first began baking, I was afraid to bake something using my own formula.  I  couldn’t see myself baking from scratch and having it turn out edible(low self-esteem much?).  Recipe writing, I thought, was something you had to have a special brain cell for, much like how some can draw a cat but others just draw a stick figure(that’s so not me).  It is silly, I know, but I have my naive, fifteen-year-old self to thank for that.  My current nineteen-year-old self would love to go back to that {extremely} naive fifteen-year-old and explain to her just how you don’t need a special brain to do anything.  You’re fully capable of anything with the brain you have as long as you have the drive and determination to do it.  All it takes is stepping out of the wall you safely sit behind, even when it looks scary.  I still have much to learn on the basis of baking, but I am thankful I’m much more confident in what I do.  There’s so much freedom when you regain your confidence in something.

  I was so relieved when they turned out, it was my third try in one day.  I threw so much dough away as it was unusable; I really wanted to hit myself(I absolutely despise food waste of any kind).  I already have a few doughnut recipes on this blog, but these ones have to be the best I’ve come up with so far.  They rose so beautifully and each doughnut had the “proof line” when I removed them from the hot oil.  I’ve tried many times to get that line around the centers of my doughnuts, it’s taken a year or so of revising my own recipe to do so.  If I seem overly excited about this recipe, this is why.  Call me peculiar, if you may.  Alas, they’re still not as quintessential as your favorite bakery doughnut, but I feel I am getting pretty close to it.


DOUGHNUTS WITH VANILLA ORANGE CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE

makes 12 doughnuts

doughnuts:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup water, hot(110 – 115°F)

2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast

3 tablespoons whole milk, warm

1 whole egg, room temperature

1 egg yolk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

vegetable oil for frying(about 5 cups)

powdered sugar for dusting

 

crème pâtissière:

1 cup whole milk

1/2 of a vanilla bean

1 tablespoon fresh orange zest

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1 tablespoon unbleached cake flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

METHOD:

for the doughnuts 

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.  Add the whole egg and egg yolk together and slightly whisk with a fork, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric standing mixer/KitchenAid with a dough hook attached, add the hot water and sprinkle in the yeast, slightly whisk the two together then add the whisked egg yolks and turn the mixer on low to mix until just combined.  Add the flour and 3 tablespoons of warm milk and turn the mixer on low.  Mix the ingredients together until a firm but moist dough forms, this will only take a few minutes.  It’s done when the dough wipes clean the sides and bottom of the bowl.  If the dough happens to be too dry, add a tablespoon(or more) of warm water until it comes together.  Turn the mixer on medium speed and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time.  Before adding each new tablespoon, be sure the previous tablespoon has been fully incorporated.  Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if needed.  The dough should be smooth, shiny, and elastic with a slight stickiness to the touch.  Lightly butter a large bowl and place the dough inside.  Let the dough rise, covered with a thin cloth, in a warm, dry place until doubled in size; 50 minutes to an hour.  Once risen, punch down with your fist.  
  3. Lightly flour a large, flat surface and divide the dough into two halves.  Roll the first half out to 1/2-inch thickness and cut out rounds with a glass cup or a large cookie cutter.  Cut out as many rounds as possible and place them two inches apart on a large baking sheet covered with a thin, non-terry cloth towel, just lightly dusted with flour.  Cover the doughnuts with a thin cloth and let them rise in a warm, dry place for 35-50 minutes.  While the doughnuts are rising, you can begin making the custard.
  4. Once the doughnuts have risen, uncover and let them “dry out” until the oil is ready.  Place the oil in a large pot/fryer until it is a few inches deep, the oil should be heated to 375°F.  Once heated, add two doughnuts at a time and fry 50-60 seconds on each side, until they are a medium golden color.  Place them on cooling racks with towels underneath to catch the grease drippings.  Repeat this process until all the doughnuts have been fried.  Cool them completely before filling with custard.
  5. When the doughnuts have cooled completely, poke a hole through the side of the doughnuts and pipe in the custard until they’re filled.  Dust with powdered sugar.

crème pâtissière:

  1. Line a rectangular pan(that has edges)with plastic wrap and set aside.  
  2. Cut a vanilla bean in half and split it open; scrape out the seeds and set them both aside(the pod and seeds).  Reserve three tablespoons of the milk in a bowl and add the remaining milk to a medium-sized saucepan along with the butter, 2 tablespoon sugar, orange zest, and vanilla bean pod with the seeds.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from heat to steep for five minutes.  Remove the vanilla bean pod(and zest, if wanted).  Bring the milk back to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and remaining sugar in a small bowl.  Place the egg yolks in a large bowl, add the flour mixture and the three tablespoons of milk and whisk until combined.  Remove the simmering milk from the heat and stream half of it into the egg mixture while whisking.  Pour this egg mixture back into the remaining milk and continue to whisk over medium heat.  Once you start to feel the mixture begin to thicken, remove from heat and whisk constantly until you have a thick, smooth custard.  Return custard to medium heat and whisk continuously until the mixture begins to boil and cook for one minute(this is to cook the starch flavor out).  Immediately pour the custard into the prepared pan and evenly spread around.  Cover with another layer of plastic, making sure that it sticks to the custard(this is so it will not form a skin).  Place in the freezer until completely cool, this may take 15-20 minutes.

PUMPKIN CAKE WITH GINGER STREUSEL AND CRÈME ANGLAISE

  Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,
Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,
Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,
Ceaseless, insistent.

  The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples,
The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence
Under a moon waning and worn, broken,
Tired with summer.

  Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.

  Over my soul murmur your mute benediction,
While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest,
As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to,
Lest they forget them.

  • Sara Teasdale, “September Midnight”

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  I was waiting until it was ‘officially’ fall to start baking with pumpkin; no matter how fall-ish it felt near the end of summer, I couldn’t get myself to use pumpkin just yet.  My supermarket just started selling local pumpkins this past week and that’s when I decided it was time to use them.  So, I welcomed the new season with a simple pumpkin cake, garnished with a nutty streusel that uses fresh, minced ginger root for flavor.  And of course, you can’t have a cake without some pourable, sugary topping, so I opted with delicious crème anglaise.  It went exceptionally well with the cake!

  When baking, I almost always make my own added ingredients when possible, instead of buying pre-made or canned ingredients.  So I used fresh pumpkin purée when I made this recipe.  You don’t have to use it fresh, though, canned pumpkin purée will work fine.  If you want the full flavor, I highly reccomend using fresh pumpkin purée.  It’s very simple to make.

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  On another note, this was my first actual styled shoot.  Most the time when I’m baking and it comes time to photograph the thing(s) which I just baked, I find myself rushing the entire process when I shouldn’t be; so I end up throwing things together onto a table with the subject and don’t pay close enough attention to the light I’m in.  I decided ahead of time that I wasn’t going to do that with this shoot.  So, I planned it all out instead of doing it on a whim like I usually find myself doing.  I was quite pleased with how the photos turned out and I didn’t spend nearly as many hours editing them, per usual.  

  I also went more with neatness.  I tend to be very messy when it comes to the props in my photographs, which are almost always flowers, dried or alive.  You see, I don’t have that big of a prop closet, but what I do have is an abundance of flowers and greenery as I’m a hoarder with those things and love drying them for later use or for decoration.  My prop closet is pretty much a small cardboard box filled with tinkerings I’ve found here and there while rummaging through antique stores(I rarely ever purchase brand new props, I like them old).  It’s a never ending learning process photography is, and the main key is patience.  Something I lack more often than not, but am learning to work on.  

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PUMPKIN CAKE WITH GINGER STREUSEL AND CRÈME ANGLAISE


pumpkin cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temp.

1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin purée

1/4 applesauce 

ginger streusel

2 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cubed

2 ounces granulated sugar

3 ounces all-purpose flour

3 ounces chopped pecans

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 ginger root, minced

crème anglaise

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 large egg yolks

2 vanilla bean pods

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and line (with parchment paper) two loaf pans and set aside. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices; whisk till combined and set aside.
  3. In another (large) mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar.  Using am electric hand mixer or standing mixer with whisks attached, beat the butter and sugar till fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Add the pumpkin purée, applesauce, and half of the flour.  Mix on medium speed till just combined, then add the remaining flour.  Again, mix till just combined. 
  4.  Divide the batter equally amongst the two loaf pans and spread around evenly in the pan(s).  Sprinkle with the streusel mixture.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.  Check for doneness with a toothpick at 40 minutes; if it is clean it’s done, if not, bake for 3-5 more minutes.
  5.  Once the cake is done, let them sit in the pans for 10 minutes.  Use a sharp knife to loosen the cake from around the edges of the pan then gently invert onto wire racks to cool.  You can eat it cool or warmed.  Once it reaches the desired temperature, cut into slices, then drizzle on the crème anglaise with a spoon onto the individual slices. 

streusel:

  1.  Wash, peel, and mince the ginger root and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cut in the cold butter cubes using a pastry blender or pulse in a food processor.  The pieces should be large and crumbly.  Add the nuts and freshly grated ginger and stir with a spoon till combined.  Sprinkle on top the cake before baking.

crème anglaise:

  1. Fill a large pot with ice and water a few inches deep.  Place a thin mixing bowl in the center of it with strainer resting on top.  Set next to your stove for later use.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, add the milk.  Split open the two vanilla bean pods and scrape out the seeds and put them into the milk along with the pods.  On medium-low heat, bring the milk to a simmer.  Meanwhile, combine the sugar and yolks, whisk till well blended.  Once the milk has come to a simmer, remove from heat also removing the vanilla bean pods.  
  3. While whisking the yolks, slowly stream in half of the hot milk into the yolks.  Once they’re combined, gently add the yolk mixture back into the remaining milk, continuing to whisk.  Return the mixture to medium heat and continue whisking until thickened.  Be sure the mixture does not boil, or the yolks will curdle.  It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  To test the thickness, run your finger along the back of the said spoon after dipping it in the creme, if the streak remains without the creme running back into it, it is done.  Turn off the heat and pour the creme into the strainer that is resting on top the mixing bowl in the ice water.  Once strained, continue to whisk the mixture till it’s cool to touch.  Cover and place in the refrigerator till ready to use.   Serve with the cake.

Braided Apricot-Peach Jam Danish with Cream Cheese

  One of my (many) favorite things about June is all the delicious, colorful fruits and berries she produces.  I plan on using a lot of them in the coming weeks!  This week it’s peach and apricot jam wrapped up in a pretty, braided danish, then drizzled with not-so-sweet cream cheese glaze.

  Like many other delicious things, this recipe takes up a lot of your time.  It’s best to do it all the night before, so when morning comes you can just assemble it all and have it ready to eat for brunch(or lunch if you’re anything like me).  The jam you can make the day of if you’re up to it.   I prefer to do it a day before so it can sit and collect all it’s flavors.  

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Speaking of jams, I absolutely love how this jam I concocted turned out for me!  Every time I make strawberry jam or anything else, it never turns out.  It’s usually more like a strawberry sauce with chunks in it.. yeah.  This peach-apricot jam, though.. it’s SO good.  Like, eat it off the spoon by itself, kinda good.  I put more lemon juice than a small amount of jam like this would usually use, but it gave it some tang(and I love tang)!

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  Now about this danish.  It’s equally amazing as the jam is.  The crust is flaky and the insides oh so buttery!  Not to mention it’s rather pretty to look at, I almost didn’t want to cut it up.  It’s only been a couple three hours since I pulled it out of the oven and there’s practically nothing left.  Needless to say, it was a big hit with the siblings. 

peach-apricot-danish (12 of 24) peach-apricot-danish (10 of 24)

Braided Apricot-Peach Jam Danish with Cream Cheese
Yields 15
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Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
28 min
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
28 min
DOUGH
  1. 3 1/2 - 4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/4 tablespoons instant yeast
  3. 1/3 cup sugar
  4. 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 tablespoons water, lukewarm
  6. 1 cup milk, lukewarm
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 1 cup unsalted butter, cold
JAM
  1. 4 medium sized peaches, ripe
  2. 4 apricots, ripe
  3. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
CREAM CHEESE GLAZE
  1. 8 ounces cream cheese
  2. 1 cup confectioners sugar
  3. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  4. milk, for thinness
METHOD
DOUGH
  1. In an electric standing mixer with dough hook attached, add 3 cups of flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix on low till combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, heat the milk and 2 tablespoons of water till lukewarm. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir with a fork till eggs are slightly beaten.
  3. Add liquids to the flour. Mix on medium speed till the dough comes together. If the dough is still very liquid-y after adding the liquids, add the 1/2 cup flour. Add more flour in 1/4 cup increments, if necessary, till the dough comes together. It should be elastic, soft, and somewhat sticky when touched.
  4. Remove dough from mixer and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a rectangle using your fingers and let it rest there for 15 minutes.
  5. While waiting for the dough to rest, take the two sticks of butter and with a knife, slit them down the center(long ways) till you have a total of 4 strips of butter. Place them side-by-side on a large piece of parchment paper and then sprinkle with some flour. Cover them with another piece of parchment then gently beat the butter with a rolling pin till flat and about 4" wide and 8" long. Place them in the fridge till ready to use.
  6. Once the dough is done resting, roll it into a large rectangle till it's (roughly) 12" wide and 20" long. It's OK if it's not a perfect rectangle. Dust with flour.
  7. Take 2 of the butter strips and place them next to each other in the center of the rectangle. Fold one side of the dough till it is on top of the butter; then place the other 2 strips of butter on top of the first fold and fold the other half of the dough over the butter. Pinch the ends shut. You should have a rectangular looking pack. Now, gently roll the packet of dough into a 12" x 20" inch rectangle, again. Fold in both ends so they meet in the center, then fold over one last time(like you're closing a book). Lightly rub the dough with some flour, then wrap loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  8. DAY 2: Lightly flour a large piece of parchment paper and turn the dough out(keep the dough on this paper for easy transport to and from the pan). Roll dough into a large rectangle that is 15" long and 8" wide. Try to make it as close to the rectangle shape as possible. Using a pizza cutter, cut the four corners off the rectangle and cut 1-inch wide strips down both sides of the rectangle(you should have a total of 15 strips each side); the strips should be 2 inches long. There should be 4 inches left between both sides of the slits for the jam to go onto. Spread all but 1/8 cup of the jam onto the center.
  9. TO BRAID: Take the strip on your top left and fold it till it's on top the jam, then take the strip on the right and lay it on the other strip. Repeat this process; alternating from one side to the other all the way down to the bottom. Pinch the ends together. Carefully lift the parchment, with the braid on top, onto a large, rimmed baking sheet. Cover with a thin towel and let it rise 30 minutes to an hour till slightly puffy.
  10. In the meantime, preheat oven to 375°F. Once the dough is somewhat puffy, brush with egg wash(1 egg beaten). Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Once done, remove from oven and brush with left-over jam. Drizzle with cream cheese glaze and let it cool before eating.
JAM
  1. Remove peel and pits from fruit and dice into small chunks. Put fruit into a medium sized pot and add the lemon juice, then stir. Add the sugar and bring it all to a simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn. Do this till the mixture has thickened(about 20-25 minutes). To be sure it is thick enough, take a cold knife and dip it in the jam if it drips off very slowly( or sticks ), it's done. Pour jam into a clean 32-ounce glass jar and cover with a lid. Place in fridge overnight.
CREAM CHEESE GLAZE
  1. Using a hand mixer(or a standing mixer)with beaters attached, cream the cream cheese till smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla, and 1/4 cup milk. The glaze should be thin enough to drizzle over the danish. If it's not thin enough after adding the 1/4 cup milk, keep adding more milk 1 tablespoon at a time till it reaches the right consistency.
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