I haven't been able to eat cow's dairy for some time now because my little one is very sensitive to it and he is still nursing. I have found other options for most of my best loved dairy foods, but I have been looking VERY longingly at some cheese danish lately. Danish dough itself is packed with butter, and then of course the cheese filling is well, cheese. I decided I would make my own lactose free cheese danish as birthday present for myself. With the heat I do less baking in the summer, but this danish is the perfect summer baked good. I started it on Thursday and it was ready to pop in the oven Sunday morning. That might sound like a lot of time and work, but really it's mostly time spent waiting, not working. It's about 5 minutes of work the first two days, and then the day before you're going to eat it it's more like 10-15 minutes of work. These only need to bake for 15 minutes, so you can preheat the oven as soon as you get up, the oven will be off long before the day heats up. I do think this project is best on a morning you're not in a rush though, because the danish is much better once it has had some time to cool. This was seriously delicious, so scroll down, drool over the photos, and then I'll show you how I made it.
1/4 cup warm water, 105F-115F degrees
2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 standard package)
1/2 cup coconut drinking milk, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
10 Tablespoons Earth Balance, cold
4 Tablespoons coconut oil, cold
Filling (you won't need this until day 3, and this is only enough filling for one danish, but the dough is enough for two. You could really fill these with any number of things, so maybe try something different for your second danish!)
4oz chevre goat cheese, at room temperature or even melted slightly
2 tablespoons honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg white
1/8 cup coconut drinking milk
Optional: 1/4 cup fruit preserves of your choice, I used strawberry.
Day I: Mix warm water and yeast together and set aside. Chop up/spoon out Earth Balance and coconut oil into your blender or food processor. Add flour and process until combined but chunky. Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the yeast mixture, then fold in the flour and butter to that. Wrap up tightly and refrigerate overnight. Pictures below for texture reference.
Day 2: Take dough out of fridge. it will have increased in size significantly, and should have a relatively spongy texture. Generously flour the surface you will be rolling the dough out on, as well as your hands and the rolling pin: this dough is sticky! Roll the dough out to about 1/2" thick, then fold into thirds, like a letter going into an envelope, then roll again; repeat this process five times. Wrap up the dough and let chill overnight again.
Day 3: Unwrap dough, you should be able to see the layers that are going to turn into your beautiful flaky danish pastry! Divide your dough in two, since you've made enough for two whole danishes! Wrap up the dough you aren't working with right away and put it back in the fridge. Roll dough out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and greased. (I used aluminum foil because that's what I had in the house, but I wouldn't reccomend it.) Don't roll it out on the counter because it will be too floppy and difficult to move once the danish is assembled. Mix up your filling ingredients by simply whisking them together. Spread filling across the middle 3" of the dough, leaving room at the end to fold up around the filling. If you are using preserves as well, you can spread them down the middle of the cheese filling. Using a pizza cutter or very very sharp knife, cut diagonal slashes in the side of the exposed dough, Fold the ends of the pastry over, then alternating side, fold the strips of dough over the top to form a braid. At this point you can make your second danish, or you can save the other half of the dough for another time for up to a week in the fridge. Beat together the egg white and coconut milk, then brush gently over the whole pastry with a pastry brush. Cover your danish and chill overnight.
Day 4: Preheat your oven to 400°F . Bake danish for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes, but honestly this gets better the longer it can cool off. You did it, the perfect summer baking project!
Let me know if you try this recipe or any variations! I want to try making a fully vegan one sometime and sub a flax egg for the egg in the dough, and try tofu cream cheese to make the cream cheese filling. Enjoy!