where we could make anything we wanted to. I and another man teamed up to make danish while most of the rest of the class chose to make the caramel nut rolls Chef had demonstrated. This meant that we had to make the danish dough Tuesday, because it can’t go in the proof box (the butter would melt) and therefore requires a lot more time to rise properly. So Tuesday was a busy day, but boy, was that ciabatta bread good at the end. Edith and I had some warm with Olive oil when I got home, and I had some for lunch today with a large caprese salad featuring fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes and basil.
Today we got an early start on our danish. The dough had doubled overnight in the cooler. For filling I had brought in prunes, pluots (a hybrid between a plum and an apricot), and Stark Crimson pears [just noticed that they all begin with p !], so I got busy turning these into fillings. I blanched and skinned the pluots, then seeded and cooked them down with a bit of brown sugar. I saved the skins for a while because they were full of a beautiful red coloring, and I thought I might be able to use them later, but then couldn’t think of a good way to do use them and wound up throwing them out anyway. The prunes I chopped and cooked in water with a touch of brown sugar and enough nutmeg to taste; the pears I sliced (with their beautiful crimson skins on) and set aside with a little lemon juice, then prepared some cinnamon-ginger sugar to accompany them. While I was doing this, my teammate rolled out the dough and spread the butter on it. We had a little trouble with this because the butter was a bit colder (and harder) than it should have been, so we learned that the butter must be warm and truly soft. That trouble past, the four subsequent turns of the dough went uneventfully. Then came the time to roll out the dough, shape and fill the danish rolls. I chose to make simple squares with the filling in the center and two corners meeting in the middle. They looked nice while proofing, but unfortunately, most of our them opened up into squares again in the oven. We believe the problem here was that the dough should really have rested and chilled overnight again; as it was we weren’t able to roll it out thin enough. In any event, that was a minor issue, and the danish itself came out very well. Lots of rise, and good flavor. Chef said we should be proud of it– and I am!
Driving home with a boxful of warm danish, I realized I felt… good. I like what I’ve been doing and where I’m going.