When it comes to baking I have a lot of simple favorites, but sometimes I like to challenge my baking skills and laminated doughs are always an interesting challenge.
A laminated dough is a dough where butter is ‘booked’ into the dough in order to create many flaky layers. Croissants and puff pastries are some of the most well known laminated doughs. Making these doughs isn’t necessarily hard, but it does take a lot of time because once you make the base dough you add butter to it, then refrigerate the booked dough. Then more butter and more fridge time. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Raspberry Danishes are another kind of laminated dough and are made in much the same fashion. Create dough. Book in butter. Shape and bake. These are fantastic danishes. They are light and flaky and rich and so very very yummy. We use Ultra Gel in the dough to help maintain a tender quality and increase shelf life, and there’s nothing like Cornaby’s Raspberry jam to top a delicious danish.
How to book butter into a dough
There are a lot of methods for booking butter. The easiest I have found is to prepare the butter ahead of time by taking chilled butter and pounding it out on a piece of waxed paper until it is a thin square of butter then refrigerating it. So you end up with 3-4 sheets of butter.
With your sheets prepared you roll out your dough, place the butter in the middle third and fold over the two outer thirds to cover the butter. Roll it flat. Turn 90 degrees and fold in thirds again. Wrap and into the fridge for 30 minutes. That’s one book. This process can be repeated anywhere from 1-15 times depending on how many layers you want in your finished dough. (And how patient you are). You can also choose to work herbs or other flavors into the butter before you start booking and these flavors will be carried through the dough.
I missed the pictures of the raspberry jam filled ones because they got eaten so fast! The plain ones were pretty good, the jam filled ones were better!
Raspberry Danishes with Ultra Gel and Cornaby’s Raspberry Jam
3 stick chilled unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
Cut butter into small pieces and sprinkle with flour. Work butter and flour together until it is a smooth mixture you can form into three thin 4×2 inch rectangles. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill.
2 1/2 Tablespoons dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel
1 cup lukewarm milk
3 1/2-4 cups flour
Combine yeast, warm water and a pinch of sugar together in a large mixing bowl or bowl of an electric stand mixer. Let stand for 3-5 minutes until foamy. Add the salt, sugar, Ultra Gel, egg and milk and beat until well combined. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add 1 1/2 cups additional flour and mix well. The dough will be very soft at this point. Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. The dough will still be quite soft and a bit sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Bringing the butter and dough together
You will book the dough three times as described above. The butter shouldn’t be rock hard, but will be firm. Always book the dough on a lightly floured surface. If it ever gets too soft or sticky to roll without making a mess cover and chill it until the butter firms up and you can return to rolling.
The first few times you practice booking butter will be messy. That’s okay. If there are fewer books or they aren’t quite even it will just mean fewer layers in the end product. It will still taste fantastic.
Forming and baking
After the last time you work butter into the dough the dough needs to chill again for at least 45 minutes or as long as over night. Don’t go more than 12 hours or the dough won’t hold up as well.
Danishes can be formed in several ways. My two favorites are pretty simple.
In the first type roll the dough out and cut into rectangles. Lightly fill one half of the rectangle with Cornaby’s Raspberry Jam, fold the other half of the rectangle over the jam and seal the edges. Brush with a little egg wash and a sprinkle of sugar and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until well browned. Cool and top with a little powdered sugar glaze or cream cheese icing.
The second shape is a spiral. Roll the dough into a rectangle and then cut it into long strips. spiral the strips around themselves on a baking pan. Press your thumb into the center to form a well and fill with Cornaby’s Raspberry Jam, or a combination of jam and cream cheese. Brush the edges of the dough with an egg wash and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until done through and golden brown. Cool and top with a little powdered sugar glaze or cream cheese icing.