This little pinwheel cherry explosion may not look like much, but looks can be deceiving. Before I knew what I was doing, I made my first batch of croissant dough yesterday. Buckwheat croissant dough, at that.
I had planned to make scones, those dense, sweet biscuits that take all but a minute to whip up. I had a monster of a long run planned that was going to keep me away from home for hours. Scones would both feed my family and make me feel productive at the same time. But then – a torrential downpour combined with a 20-degree drop in temperature made me reconsider. What was supposed to be a short, no nonsense pre-dawn stint before heading out for an 18-miler turned into a long, languorous morning/afternoon in the kitchen.
If the thought of making croissants sounds intimidating, just make them any shape other than a crescent, and voilà! – you have yourself a danish. Same dough, easier to pronounce name. Even better than the name is Kim Boyce’s technique for getting butter into the dough. I see a lot of not-croissants in my future.
Buckwheat cherry danish
Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup white spelt flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 ounces unsalted vegan butter, frozen
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon almond or soy milk, warmed to 100 F / 38 C
1/4 – 1/2 cup filling
Use less for preserves, more for a fruit butter or paste
Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Using the large holes of a box grater, quickly grate the frozen butter into the dry mixture. Briefly toss with your hands to stir the butter into the mix, then place in the refrigerator to chill while you continue with the recipe.
Combine the warm milk and yeast in a small bowl and allow to bloom, anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. Scrape the yeast mixture into the dry and stir just until the flour is moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours. This dough can be chilled overnight.
Once the dough has chilled for at least 2 hours, transfer it from the bowl to a well-floured surface. Flour the top of the dough and use your hands to press it into a rough square. The dough will have a rough texture at first, but comes together quickly. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a long rectangle (9-by-15-inches or so), and position the longer side parallel to your body. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. You’ll need to use a bench scraper when making the folds. Turn the dough to the right, so that the seam is a the top and the longer side is once again parallel to your body. This is your first turn. Flour the top of the dough, roll out into a large rectangle, and repeat two more times (for a total of three turns). As you do the turns, the dough will become more cohesive and streaks of butter will begin to show throughout. The dough will also soften as the butter warms and the yeast begins to react. After your third turn, shape the dough into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Place the dough back into the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so to chill briefly.
After the dough has chilled, spread the filling out over the entire rectangle. With the shorter edge parallel to your body, roll up the dough into a tight spiral. Cut into 6 even slices and arrange them, spiral side up, on a parchment-lined or buttered baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and leave in a warm area to proof for two hours. The spirals will swell somewhat, but will not double in size.
Preheat the oven to 425 F / 218 C. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. The pastries are finished when their tops are golden brown. Best eaten the same day they are made.
Yield: six pastries