Friday, November 26, 2010

Pumpkin, Brown Butter & Créme Fraîche Danish Cake

Project Food Blog's Challenge #8, create a sweet or savory baked good 
using the ingredient, Pumpkin. This means....I made the cut! 

I still can't believe I made it this far. Being a newbie to cooking and baking still has its challenges and this competition has definitely pushed me to do things that I normally wouldn't do. Like hosting a Luxury Dinner Party, making a pizza with a Kimchi/Tomato sauce, and even starring in my own cooking video with my adorable sous chef. Throughout this contest, I especially enjoyed reading your comments, your encouraging words and most of all your support. A big thanks to all of you for allowing me to advance.

For this challenge, I decided to make a danish cake. With a créme fraîche, brown butter and pumpkin filling. I've made puff pastry and danish pastry dough in the past and I absolutely love the texture and butteriness. For this recipe I chose a danish pastry dough but instead of three folds, I believe I did 4 or 5 folds, closer to a puff pastry folding technique which calls for six folds.

The filling was reminiscent of a pumpkin cheesecake but with more pumpkin and spice than créme fraîche. Oh and brown butter. Who could forget the brown butter. My latest obsession.

It wasn't overly sweet and some said that it reminded them of a cinnabon or a danish coffee cake. I just thought it was tasty.

Printable Recipe
Danish Pastry Dough Croissant-Style
7 oz Water
1.25 oz Fresh Yeast
5 oz Bread Flour
2.5 oz Sugar
0.75 oz Salt
12 oz Milk
1.5 oz Water
2lbs Bread Flour
1lbs 4 oz Butter at room temperature

Egg Wash
1 Egg
2 tbsp Milk or Water

1. Measure the water and yeast mixture and pour water over the yeast. Mix well until yeast is dissolved. Sprinkle 5 oz of bread on top and allow to sit for 15 minutes. In another bowl mix together the sugar, salt, milk, and water until the solids have dissolved. Sift the flour and add it to the yeast mixture. Add the liquid mixture and begin mixing until it forms a dough. Using your hands mix the dough, avoid over mixing. Finish kneading by hand on the counter top dusted with flour. Cover and allow to ferment for about 40 minutes at room temperature then punch down the dough and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.

The dough after rising in the refrigerator

2.  Roll the dough out into a rectangle. Smear the room temperature butter over two thirds of the dough. leaving a margin around the edges. Fold the unbuttered third of the dough over the center.

3. Fold the remaining third on top. Turn 90º and roll out the dough into a rectangle, this was your first turn.
Repeat the process until you have reached 4 to 5 turns.

Refrigerate the dough for about 10-15 minutes if the butter is oozing out and then finish the folds. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes before baking.

5. In the meantime, prepare the pumpkin filling. Wash and dry your pumpkin and cut in half. De seed the pumpkin.

6. A) Place pumpkins in about an inch and a half of water. B) Bake at 350º for about an hour. Use a fork to pierce the skin to see if it is done. C) Scoop out the pumpkin. D) Allow to cool. I put mine in the freezer and occasionally gave it a stir until cooled.

8 oz Créme Fraîche
4 Egg Yolks
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Pumpkin Spice
4 tbsp Brown Butter
2-1/2 Cups Fresh Pumpkin Puree

1. Preheat your oven to 300º. Make your brown butter. Place your butter preferably in a stainless steel pan on low heat and allow the butter to brown, stirring. Take off heat and allow to cool. The brown butter should resemble the photo below. Combine the butter and pumpkin and puree in your food processor.

Combine the créme fraîche and sugar and beat well. Add the egg and vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin spice and beat well. Puree together with the brown butter pumpkin mixture. Set aside.

2. A) Take the dough out of the refrigerator and measure about 17 oz (or whatever size you prefer) of dough and roll out into a circle. Place on parchment paper.

B) Cut about an inch to an inch and a half strips leaving the center uncut (as seen in the photo below). Scoop about a cup of filling in the middle. Be sure to leave enough of the center part uncut. Then take opposite ends and pull toward one another, overlapping until the pumpkin filling is completely sealed. Its ok if the pumpkin filling oozes out a bit, you can easily clean it up. Lift the parchment paper and danish cake up and place in a oven proof baking dish of your choice. Keep in mind that the dough will form into the shape of the baking dish.

3. Apply an egg wash and bake for 15 minutes on 300º. Then turn up the heat to 400º and bake for an additional 10 minutes or a bit more until golden.

I wasn't sure how it would turn out. And I was a bit worried because the way the dough appeared before baking was well, not so pretty. In fact, I was sure I had to start all over again. But I was nicely surprised with the results. I think I could of used a bit more of the pumpkin filling. Overall it was flaky and buttery with a delicious pumpkin filled goodness. Eat this right out of the oven for best results.

Oh, and then I thought I would try out another way of baking the leftover dough and filling (just in case the original plan had failed) and came up with the photos you see below.

Yes, silly me thought the dough would retain the shape I gave it before baking it and it came out looking like a huge danish. Thinking back I should have placed it in a baking dish to retain a better shape.

But sometimes mistakes are blessings in disguise because this style had more crispy flaky layers which was different from the danish cake and it was mighty good. This could go under as one of the largest danishes around, just kidding.

Voting begins November 29th at 9AM EST and ends December 2nd at 9PM EST. When the contestant widget below changes from My Profile to VOTE FOR ME, please send a vote my way. I'll be sure to post a reminder as well. Thanks!

And, I hope all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. What did you do? Food coma never tasted so good. I had my first fried Turkey this year. We were invited to a friends house this time around and it was sort of a potluck type deal and what a great idea to lessen the load of Holiday cooking. Last year we had a feast at my cousins with my entire family and extended family. I'm planning on hosting next year's festivities. 

Below are some photos I took of the Turkey Day spread. I brought a broccoli side and the pumpkin danish cake. When I told the guests how much butter I used, they just about fainted. 

Apple Onion Relish for Pumpkin Soup, Sweet Potato & Squash Casseroles,
Artichoke Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole topped with Marshmallow

Fried Turkey ya'll
The lovely table setting
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49 Reactions to this post

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  1. Dionne Baldwin said... November 26, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    Well you definitely have what it takes in my opinion! I just love your blog and I really appreciate your photos. When I feel intimidated about baking or cooking something, step by step photos really help increase my confidence and I can visualize the instructions better. Something like this would normally scare me away but your photos show me how it should look every step of the way. I really want to try this! I think you are doing an awesome job and I really think that you should be the winner. You are sincere and you have a passion for food and your family. You deserve to win. (No offense to all of the others working so hard on this challenge as well!)

  2. Trish said... November 26, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    That gorgeous, flaky crust is making my mouth water right now. Wow, this Danish cake looks incredible. I am bookmarking this because I'm a dummy when it comes to most anything that involves baking and this recipe is special. Good luck in this PFB round. You know I got your back ;)

  3. SparkleMemo said... November 26, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Flaky bites!

    Absolutely sweet and flaky temptation ! Good Luck

  4. cooperl788 said... November 26, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    The danish looks amazing; I want to reach into the picture and take a bite!
    Your Thanksgiving looks delicious - I loved deep fried turkeys, though this year we roasted ours. Hope your day was wonderful!

  5. jose manuel said... November 26, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Que buena receta, se ve deliciosa.


  6. Sommer J said... November 26, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Looks amazing as usual!!! You're a a budding pastry queen!

    Love the thanksgving spread!!! I can not wait to try deep fried turkey.

  7. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said... November 26, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    I'll take the huge one please! I love danish, so hard to find good ones anymore. I loved your photo tutorial, you make it seem easy. Going to have to try my hand at some danishes. Good Luck!

  8. Newyorkerbyheart said... November 26, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    Wow, this looks amazing :-) There's nothing like pastry/Danish made this way....

    Have a nice weekend

    My best
    Birthe from Denmark

  9. blackbookkitchendiaries said... November 26, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    i really love how amaizing your post is... and your pictures are really stunning. thanks for sharing this and enjoy your thanksgiving weekend.

  10. Green Girl @ A little bit of everything said... November 26, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    No matter what recipe you are posting you make it sound so easy to make. i have so many bad memories when it comes to puff pastry, but I have to agree I sure do love danishes and yours look so delicious.
    An award is waiting for you on my blog.
    Hope you'll have a wonderful weekend

  11. Chef Dennis said... November 26, 2010 at 9:34 PM

    hi Lisa impressed am I!! You really out did yourself with your creation. I agree with you, your pastry dough came out sooo good, and the pumpkin filling was the perfect choice!
    You know you always have my vote!
    it looks like you had quite a feast, thanks so much for sharing it with us!

  12. Kay Heritage said... November 26, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    Great recipe, Lisa! And so proud you,girl! Keep it up and I am rooting for you!

  13. I'm a full-time mummy said... November 27, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    Oh yipee! Congrats on making it this far! You have my continuous support and vote all the way! Great recipe post btw!

  14. aipi said... November 27, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    Congratulations are definitely in order..I am really happy n excited for you!
    The recipe above is brilliant!

    US Masala

  15. Fun and Fearless in Beantown said... November 27, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Your Danish cake looks fabulous! You know you have my vote!

  16. Pretend Chef said... November 27, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    Oh no! I'm having a food emergency right now... I ran out of butter! I must make this now! That looks so incredibly delicious! Thanksgiving dinner looked amazing as well. I love me some fried turkey. I'll be sure to vote for you when it opens up for us!

  17. Evan @swEEts said... November 27, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    This looks incredibly complicated and incredibly delicious! I'm so happy for you, making it all this way in the challenge and rightfully so :) Another job well done!

  18. Federica said... November 27, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    wow Lisa ma sei bravissima!!complimenti!!!!!

  19. Jennifurla said... November 27, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    This is quite a show piece , I love it. COngrats on making it to this round and good luck lady!

  20. Monet said... November 27, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    It is no surpise to me that you have made it this far...your creativity and talent is inspiring! I would have never thought to pull these different desserts together, and I'm excited about trying this in the next few weeks. You did a beautiful job, my dear, and you have my full support! Thank you for sharing. I hope you are having a lovely Saturday afternoon!

  21. Torviewtoronto said... November 27, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    delicious pastry
    turkey looks yummy
    beautiful table presentation

  22. Lisa said... November 28, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    You definitely deserve to be in Round 8. Your creativity throughout all of this has just continued to impress me and this danish cake is no exception. It looks and sounds so decadent and delicious. Congrats for always rising to the occasion and coming out a winner. I'll be voting for you on Monday. Good luck!

  23. Cooking Gallery said... November 28, 2010 at 6:34 AM

    Beautiful pictures and food presentation. I love how fluffy the pastry looks!

  24. Ruth said... November 28, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    totally love this post....!!

  25. Jackie said... November 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    This was one of the first PFB 8 entries I saw and it's simply beautiful. It just looks like something I want to eat and that, in my book, is always a win.

    Well done and good luck for this round, m'dear!

    Jax x

  26. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said... November 28, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    A gorgeous gorgeous entry in this challenge. I am in awe of your pastry skills! Good luck!

  27. Pacheco Patty said... November 28, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    You have my vote, now can I have a piece of your cake?
    I understand that you can't make a butter cake without lots and lots of butter;). It is a beauty and the pumpkin makes it even more better! Good luck:)

  28. Amelia PS said... November 28, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Lisa: your Thanksgiving day table looks so wonderful and warm. The Danish must have been exquisite.

  29. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said... November 29, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    I love the rustic, homey look of this dessert. You really can't go wrong in my eyes with pumpkin sweets. Happy belated Thanksgiving!

  30. Jean said... November 29, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    I'm not surprised that you've made it this far, Lisa. You've done very well and I've been happy to cheer you on throughout. This pumpkin Danish cake looks like another winner--love how flaky it is. Great job! :-)

  31. Hannah said... November 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    Yummy to it all, the pumpkin creme fraiche danish cake and all your yummy Thanksgiving fare! So happy you are still in the competition! I know you can win this!

  32. Mariko said... November 29, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    How could they possibly faint from the amount of butter in the face of fried turkey?
    Looks great. Brown butter is a good obsession to have.

  33. Swathi said... November 29, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    Delicious. You have wonderful blog came through project food blog. I have already voted for you. You are the winner.

  34. ~Lisa~ said... November 29, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    @ Dionne, you're sweet. I know it helps to see something visually.

    @ Trish, thanks girl. I got your back too (=

    @ sparklememo, thank you.

    @ Laura, hope you had a great turkey day too.

    @ Jose, gracias!

    @ Sommer, yours did too mama. And happy birthday!

    @ Gina, a must try for sure! Your thanksgiving desserts looked fantastic.

    @ Birthe, aww thats sweet seeing that you're from Denmark.

    @ Blackbookkitchendiaries, your ginger bread house rocked! I wonder what your nieces reaction was. I bet she loved it.

    @ Chef, thank you so much. I loved your turkey day spread! Your wifey is lucky to have you!

    @ Kay, thanks mama!

    @ Jenny, hooray, thanks!

    @ aipi, every time I visit your site, I leave want ing Indian! And I had some for lunch today (= Thanks for your support.

    @ FFB, send me some of your freshwave hehe. I def need it with all the garlic I cook in my meals. Thanks for the support.

    @ Pretend Chef, thanks girl! No butter. Thats an emergency for sure.

    @ Evan, thanks for the kudos. Your croissants looked amazing.

    @ Federica, grazie, bella!

    @ Jennifurla, thanks mama.

    @ Monet, loved your rosemary apple pie! Thanks always for your comments.

    @ Torviwtoronto, thanks for the compliment.

    @ Lisa, you are such a sweetie. Thanks so much for your kind words.

    @ Cooking gallery, thanks the crust was flaky and the middle was moist and fluffy (=

    @ Ruth, thanks for liking it (= It was delicious.

    @ Jackie, your comment put a huge smile on my face.

    @ Mardi, aww thanks. Love pastries and to think I can make them now, is unbelievable to me so it means a lot that you said that.

    @ Patty, you may have two pieces! Thanks a bunch!

    @ Amelia PS, wow your post blew me away. I am not worthy hehe (=

    @ Xiaolu, your photos, writing and recipes are amazing! I'm in aw whenever I visit your site.

    @ Jean, you're too kind (=

    @ Hannah, I hope so. They're are a lot of talented foodies. But i'll hope for the best. Thanks always for your support.

    @ Mariko, good point!

    @ Swathi, wow! I'm so flattered. That makes me extremely happy (=

  35. princessgourmet said... November 29, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    Oooooh...butter! You had me at butter and then you had me again at brown butter! I never made a flaky pastry dough and while it seems complicated, you make it less intimidating. Great post! Gets my vote!

  36. Tiny Urban Kitchen said... November 29, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    That flaky crust looks so delicious! I love how you experimented at the end and made all these different types.

  37. Foodie, Interrupted said... November 30, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    That looks amazing!

  38. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said... November 30, 2010 at 1:03 AM

    SO pretty and delicious-looking! You make me want a gigantic pastry, like, right now! Great job on your baking :D

  39. Dimah said... November 30, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    That looks absolutely amazing! Awesome job.

  40. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels said... November 30, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    OH MY WORD does that look beyond incredible! I love the flakey crust and the creamy pumpkin filling. That giant danish is just calling my name. YUM! You definitely have my vote, I'm voting for you right now! You did an amazing job and are so incredibly talented!! :)

  41. Heather said... November 30, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    Dear lord, it all looks so good!!

  42. Wilde in the Kitchen said... November 30, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    Great job on this challenge, your danish looks amazing! Way to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and try new things throughout this competition. Good luck this round!

  43. zmm said... November 30, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    This time I remember and I voted for you!

    They danish looks good.

    And boy, your friend did the fry turkey thing? Must be laden with fat but must taste superlicious too!

    Good luck and hope to see you next round.

  44. Hot Polka Dot's Mom said... December 1, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    Flaky pastry is one of my top ten weaknesses. Too much butter? No such thing ;)

  45. jen cheung said... December 2, 2010 at 12:06 AM

    You got my vote for this challenge! Congrats - you made it so far!!! Have a great week and good luck with everything!

    jen @

  46. Ben said... December 2, 2010 at 3:12 AM

    Danish cake straight from the oven sounds so appealing right now! Beautiful pastry. Best of luck!

  47. Lori Lynn said... December 2, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    Now this is one of the entries in the competition that i would really like to eat, with a steaming mug of black coffee.
    Good luck!

  48. Stay-At-Home-Chef said... December 2, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    I am absolutely loving following your posts for this competition and wish you all the best! Yet another great entry...well done :)

  49. ~Lisa~ said... December 5, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    Thanks guys for all of your votes and kind words. Its been fun and I appreciate you following me through this competition! Happy Holidays!