Some mornings are just meant to be enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee and a warm Danish pastry. If you’re watching your diet, however, you’ve probably been avoiding all pastries as much as you can.
This lightened up Danish recipe, however, will allow you to indulge in this sweet breakfast treat without completely jeopardizing your health-focused senses.
To make a classic Danish a little bit healthier, we use this recipe to create more of a sweet bread than the flaky pastry you may be accustomed to, which allows us to reduce the amount of butter in the recipe significantly.
Whole grains, reduced sugar, and light sour cream are just a few of the changes we’ve made to be able to enjoy this Danish pastry without totally sacrificing our health. The resulting Danish pastry is about half the calories of a traditional Danish pastry, which makes us that much more likely to splurge on this recipe when the craving hits.
Cook time: 20 minutes
Prep time: 30 minutes
Idle time: 2 hours
- For the Sponge:
- 6 tbsp very warm 1% low-fat milk 120° to 130°
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 package quick-rise yeast about 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- For the Dough:
- 7.9 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour divided (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 2.25 ounces whole wheat pastry flour about 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light sour cream
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- cooking spray
- For the Filling:
- 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- dash of salt
- 1/4 cup raspberry jam
- Remaining ingredients:
- 1 tsp water
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp 1% low-fat milk
- 2 tbsp sliced almonds toasted
- fresh raspberries to garnish
- Mix the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk until well-combined. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes.
- Scoop about 75 ounces (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour and the pastry flour into a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar, sour cream, butter, salt, vanilla, egg, and sponge in a large bowl; beat with a mixer until well combined. Add the flours and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms.
- Turn out the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands, adding the remaining 15 ounces all-purpose flour (1/4 cup) gradually to help you need the dough into a smooth, non-sticky dough.
- Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm draft-free place for an hour and a half, or until doubled in size.
- Combine cream cheese, ricotta cheese, honey, lemon juice, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth and combined.
- Roll the dough out into a 12 x 15-inch rectangle on a sheet of parchment paper that's lightly floured. Spread the cream cheese mixture down the center of the dough, leaving a 5-inch border clear on each side and a 1-inch border at the top and bottom of the dough rectangle. Drizzle the raspberry jam over the cream cheese filling.
- Make 5-inch long cuts about 1 inch apart on both sides of the dough to meet the cream cheese filling. You can use a knife or kitchen scissors. Remove and discard the 4 outer corner strips of dough. Fold the top and bottom portions of dough over filling, then begin crossing the strips of dough over the filling by alternating strips (you're essentially braiding the dough). Press the ends of the dough to seal the pastry shut.
- Lift the parchment paper with the pastry braid over to a baking sheet and loosely cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, whisk the 1 teaspoon of water and egg together to create an egg wash. Brush this mixture over your pastry braid.
- Bake the pastry for 20 minutes or until golden. Cook on a wire cooling rack for about 10 minutes.
- Once cool, whisk the powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons of milk in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle this glaze over the braid then sprinkle the sliced almonds on top and fresh raspberries.
Recipe adapted from myrecipes.com