The number 1 realization I came to while making these Cherry Pistachio Danishes with Vanilla Labneh?I’ve never had a danish. Bizarre, right?! How could I have gone my whole life never eating an entirely ubiquitous pastry? It’s not like I’ve actively avoided them. They always seemed perfectly delicious. I mean fruit, cream cheese, pastry? Who could argue with that? I think my problem stems from an extreme love of too many pastries. I’m sure there have been many moments when I was confronted with the monumental decision of choosing between a Danish and fritter. To this day, I would still choose fritter. There just always seems to be something more exciting than a Danish in most of the pastry boxes I’ve peeked in.
Now that I’ve revealed my lack of danish-related experience, allow me to provide you with a recipe for a Danish. I realize I’m not building the best case for these Cherry Pistachio Danishes but I can attest to their deliciousness. What I cannot attest to is their authenticity, having never had a proper Danish…or any at all. Maybe these are a Danish abomination. Who knows? All I can say is I got a little help from the Internets with the pastry. Particularly this blogger lady. Her recipe was very easy to follow. The entire process kind of reminded me of making croissants, which is exactly what I intend to do with the other half of the double batch I made. So, look out for that.
Cherries are taking over the grocery stores here and I am loving every minute of it. I can eat an entire bag to myself without thinking. And I love cherries at almost every stage. I like when their a touch under-ripe and have more of a bite to their texture and, of course, I love them when they are at their peak. But I love them most of all when they are dark and overripe. They are so sweet! Granted their texture suffers a little, but the flavor!
This coveted overripe stage was the state I found these cherries in when I earmarked them for danishes. I thought their abundance of sugar would further encourage caramelization in the oven. Boy, was I right! The flavor was outstanding and the cherries were only sweetened with a bit of sugar and a drizzle of honey. The only draw back is the dark cherries did not photograph so well. Personally, I think they look a little too black olive-ish. The trials we endure for deliciousness, amirite?
Now, you may be wondering where the cream cheese is. Well, remember when I said I was over cream cheese and totally on the labneh train? Apparently, I’m a woman of my word. After using labneh in a savory application, I began to wonder about sweetening it. I love vanilla yogurt, so it seemed only logical to stir in some vanilla caviar. And because I’m no dummy, I included the vanilla pod in the yogurt as well and left it to hang out overnight while the yogurt was slowly drained of its whey. After the labneh was drained, I simply sweetened it with a little honey and, oh my gosh, it’s my new favorite thing. I might experiment with a labneh buttercream next. Again, stay tuned for that.
I hope you’ll forgive this shorter entry. I am currently enjoying a little R&R in my home province of Nova Scotia. Things will be a little quiet on the blog for the next week or so. But don’t worry, I’ll be back with a delicious vengeance later this summer. Dude, you would not believe the ideas I have for August. But until then, enjoy these Cherry Pistachio Danishes with Vanilla Labneh.
- 1 batch Vanilla Labneh (see below)
- 1 batch Danish Pastry (see below)
- 1 cup sweet cherries, washed & pitted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1 (750g or 26.5 oz.) tub Balkan yogurt
- 1 vanilla bean
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Labneh:
- Pour the yogurt into a small mixing bowl and set aside.
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and, using the back of your knife, scrap out the caviar. Add the caviar to yogurt and give it a good stir.
- Line a bowl with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth. Place the vanilla pod in the center and pour the yogurt mixture over top. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth to form a bundle.
- Tie the bundle to the facet of your sink and let drip for 8 hours or overnight.
- For the Pastry:
- Place the butter and 1/3 cup of the flour in a stand-mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the flour into the butter until fluffy.
- Place the butter in the center of a sheet of wax paper. Using a rubber spatula, coax the butter into a 6x12-inch rectangle. Cover with additional wax paper and refrigerate until solid. About 40 minutes.
- Place 1 1/2 cups flour and yeast in a stand-mixer fitted with a dough hook. Run mixer on low to combine.
- In a small saucepan heat milk, sugar, and salt to 100-115F. With the mixer running, add the milk mixture to the flour mixture followed by the egg and vanilla extract.
- Add the remaining flour in 1/2 cup increments until a silky, slightly tacky dough forms. Don't worry if you don't use all the flour.
- Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes by hand.
- Grease a bowl with a small amount of grape seed or sunflower oil and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size. About an hour and a half.
- Punch the dough down and, using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 12x20-inch rectangle.
- Place the chilled butter plate over half of the rectangle and fold the other half over top, pinching the edges to seal.
- Roll the dough out once again to a 12x20-inch rectangle. Fold the dough like a letter and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Once the 30 minutes has past, roll the dough out to another 12x20-inch rectangle and once again fold the dough three times, like a letter. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes and repeat these steps another two times.
- Chill the finished dough for at least 30 minutes prior to forming and baking.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place cherries and sugar in a medium-sized bowl and toss to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Roll the chilled Danish dough out to a 12x20-inch rectangle. With the shortest edge facing you, roll the dough like a cinnamon bun. Cut into rolls roughly 2-inches thick. Place the rolls, cut-side-up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, make an indent in the center of each roll. Add a tablespoon of the vanilla labneh to each indent and 4-5 cherry halves.
- Bake the Danishes for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and drizzle with honey. Cover with pistachios and place them back in the oven. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let cool slightly, then serve warm. Store in a sealed container.