Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Yes, this post is overdue. Can anyone say they were really on the edge of their seat? I thought not. 

Easter, to me, is all about breakfast. Sure, I like Easter dinner; when I was a child it always included ham and green bean casserole, and this year we were hosted by some wonderful neighbors who fed us delicious grilled salmon. But the breakfast...Easter breakfast should always include something sweet, to my mind, and so it is an excellent day for making cinnamon buns or french toast. This year, I set my mind on having homemade danish to accompany our shirred eggs, home-smoked bacon, oven-roasted onion potatoes, and Bellinis. I've made the danish recipe once before; it's by pro pastry chef Sherry Yard and was a feature for The Daring Bakers, which is how I heard about it. It's a nice dough, subtly scented with orange and cardamom, smooth and silky to the touch. It's fairly easy to work with, provided you allot yourself enough time: from start to finish, flour to baked good, this takes 11 hours. Unfortunately for both Mom and me, my oven stopped working two days before Easter, and so I hauled lots of groceries to her house to get things done. I called her at 9:30pm the night before Easter, asked her to preheat her oven, and said I'd be there in a bit. I showed up around 10, popped the danish in the oven, and we stuffed glassine bags with Easter cookies and drank wine until the danish were golden brown and puffed. I wasn't too sad that my oven had stopped working. 
The danish recipe makes enough dough for two braids, but I like to do one braid and one set of individual danish. The individuals were shaped into 'spandau', or envelopes, and filled with sweetened cream cheese and a rhubarb-vanilla compote. 

The big braid was filled using Sherry Yard's recipe for spiced apples, as well as my personal addition of frangipane. Hubband loves the almond flavor, and I think it compliments the apples perfectly. 
We brought dessert over to our neighbors, as they were providing dinner. With Hubband's invaluable help I settled on making my good old carrot cake recipe, as it's simple, delicious, and fitting for the season. (Rabbits like carrots.) The cake was baked, just like the danish, the night before at 10pm in Mom's oven, then blanketed in cream cheese icing on Sunday afternoon. I had leftover fondant at home from a project that never got off the ground, and decided to try my hand at a little cake decorating. Some grass, flowers, a rabbit, and a bee were all I could muster in the time I had. Each got attached to the cake and brushed with a little luster dust, and off we went!
The carrot cake didn't fail me. As always, it was soft and super-moist, and I was pretty pleased with the decorations considering they were only my second time playing with fondant. 

1 comment:

Jude said...

So much fun to shape pastries like that. I first learned how to do it from Sherry Yard's dessert book.