cherry pinwheel pastries.

Danishes are one of those ultra impressive pastries that will have your guests rushing the brunch buffet table, and licking their fingers for more. So, when I was set with the task of bringing the starring (sweet) attraction to a family brunch over the holidays, I though I’d try my hand at a simplified version of this elaborate treat.

cherry pinwheel pastry - easy Danish

planning a brunch? wow your guests by adding these easy cherry pinwheel "Danish" pastries to the menu.

The Danish is traditionally a laminated (layered) pastry, with multiple airy and tender layers created by sandwiching butter between layers of pastry dough, which are then rolled out and folded several times to create dozens of alternating layers of butter and dough. These lavish strata of butter and dough ultimately result in a baked product that is light, flaky, and (of course) buttery; this technique is also employed in the creation of croissants and puff pastry. I’m planning on making authentic laminated pastry in a future post, but I thought I’d ease my way into the role of amateur pâtissière with  easy cherry-filled pinwheel pastries.

Since it is not actually laminated, this pinwheel “Danish-wannabe” pastry incorporates the butter directly into the dough, unlike a standard laminated pastry.  It’s a quicker, easier process which omits “turning,” the repeated folding and turning of dough and butter during the lamination process; but of course, without all those layers of butter and dough to puff up and expand, these pinwheels are a little more dense (and less airy) than the real thing, but they’re still a delectable, extravagant-looking cheat treat.

I made my pastries for a family event and so actually made two batches of this recipe — feeding a band of brunching relatives — but if you don’t have a crowd on-hand to gobble up these pastries, you’ll be happy to know that they freeze well (stored in an air-tight container) to be enjoyed another morning.

cherry pinwheel pastries - easy danishes

it's a good day when you can call this breakfast.

Cherry Pinwheel Pastries

Pastry Ingredients

4½ tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
½ cup warm water (110 degrees F)

4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 eggs
½ cup whipping cream

Filling Ingredients

1¼ cups cherry jam

Egg Glaze Ingredients

1 egg
1 tbsp water

Icing  Glaze Ingredients

½ cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cream

Tip

  • Not a cherry fan? Use your favorite jam, canned pie filling, such as lemon, blueberry, apricot, apple or raspberry, or a half square of chocolate as a filling instead!
cherry danish

from dough to danish.

Directions

  1. In medium bowl, combine yeast, 1 tsp sugar and warm water; let stand until foamy & frothy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/3 cup sugar and salt; cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives used in a scissor-like fashion until mixture resembles cornmeal.
  3. Whisk 3 eggs and ½ cup cream into (now frothy) yeast mixture; pour into flour mixture and stir to incorporate, until moistened.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; butter two large baking sheets; set wire racks over waxed paper.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator, divide dough in two (return one half of dough to the fridge), and use a rolling pin to roll out one half of the dough into a 12-inch square on a lightly floured board; cut into nine 4-inch squares.
  7. Dollop 1 tbsp filling into the center of each square of rolled dough.
  8. On each square, slice a 2-inch cut from each corner in toward the center; fold every other tip in toward the center (pressing firmly), forming the pinwheel shape (easy peasy!) Transfer pinwheels to baking sheets using a spatula.
  9. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  10. Beat 1 egg with 1 tbsp water in a small cup; brush lightly over pastries using a pastry brush.
  11. Bake in preheated (350 degree F) oven for 25-30 minutes — switching baking sheets on oven racks halfway through baking time — until beautifully golden.
  12. Transfer pastries to prepared wire racks to cool completely.
  13. Meanwhile, to prepare the icing glaze: in a small bowl,  mix icing sugar with 2 tbsp cream. Using a fork, drizzle icing over pastries in zig-zag pattern.
  14. Get the coffee or tea brewing and get ready to nosh!
cherry danish

drizzle haphazardly with icing for the finishing sweet touch.

Adapted From Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cookbook

The danish is traditionally a laminated (layered) pastry, accomplished by sandwiching butter between layers of dough, which are then rolled out and folded several times to create dozens of alternating layers of butter and dough. These lavish strata of butter and dough ultimately result in a baked product that is light, flaky, and (of course) buttery. I’m planning on making authentic laminated pastry in a future post, but I thought I’d ease my way into amateur pâtissière with this easy cherry-filled sweet pastry.

Since it is not laminated, this pinwheel sweet pastry contains much less butter than a standard laminated pastry sweet pastry such as a danish, croissant or puff pastry, and is a quicker, easier process which omits “turning,” the repeated folding and turning of dough and butter during the lamination process. This recipe can be formed into pinwheels (as folows) or more simply into fold-overs.

I made my pastries for a family event and so actually made two batches of this recipe – feeding a band brunching relatives – but if you don’t have a crowd on-hand to gobble up these pastries, you’ll be happy to know that they freeze well (stored in an air-tight container) to be enjoyed another morning.

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17 Comments

  1. YUM! I am trying not to eat white flour or sugar and these are totally the sweet thing that would throw me over the edge! Once again fantastic photography :)

  2. sweetgirl

    Thanks Angela! These would definitely be “out” on a no flour/sugar regime! I’ll see what savory, whole wheat stuff I can come up with…

  3. These are great, so simple but yummy!!! I was just givin some home made cherry jam! So perfect for this!

  4. These look fantastic. I have to try these!

  5. THANK YOU for publishing this recipe. I seem to have lost mine since last year, and this one looks great. I don’t know what my kids would do if I didn’t make their favorite – pinwheel cookies.

  6. I made these, but I filled them with a lime curd I made this summer. The pastry is so quick and easy. I’ll use this recipe again. Thanks for sharing.

    • sweetgirl

      Sounds delicious. I’ll be making mine again for the holidays (and hope to get back to baking more in 2012!)

  7. Oooo, you’ve tempted me with a promise of laminated pastry…. please post! I’ve always wanted to learn how to make a great, flaky pastry and I think you are just the right person. Love your recipes and can’t wait to try more!

    • sweetgirl

      Hi Teresa! Thanks for the vote of confidence! It’s obviously been a while since I posted (back to work outside the house full time) but I’m determined to get posting again!!! I’ll add laminated pastry to my list of recipes to do (and post). Cheers!

  8. i am THRILLED to have found this recipe !!!! Mainly because its a “simplified” version of the whole butter block danish thing… ANDDDD you mention these are freezable !!! im doing a happy dance right now.

    one question – i couldnt find in the post how many danishes this recipe yields (i know you said you doubled it … but how much would one batch make?)

    thank you !!!
    ps – ok one MORE question…. could i make some of these a “cheese” danish?

    • sweetgirl

      Hi! I’m so pleased to have helped you out Duby!!! The recipe makes 18 generously sized danishes; and you could most definitely makes some (or each) of them a different flavor filling:

      * For sweet cheese filled danishes, just take an 8oz package of cream cheese, and whip it with 1 egg yolk, with 1/3 cup of icing sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract. Beat this all together until smooth, and then use as you would the jam filling. This will make enough filling for the entire batch.

      Enjoy!!!

      • i could kiss you!

        thank you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        i will DEFINITELY let you know how they turn out…

  9. as promised…..

    i made these tonight and they are GORGEOUS !!!! (ok they’re not as pretty as yours, but they’re really pretty!) My husband tasted one and gave it a thumbs up!)

    Great recipe… was easy to do and has that “WOW” impressive factor.

    definitely a keeper.

    Thank you!
    duby :)

    • sweetgirl

      Super!!! Happy to help, and thanks for letting me know how they turned out for you Duby.

      Have a great day! :)

  10. Hi! I’m working on a breakfast pastry round-up for The Huffington Post Taste and I’d love to feature your recipe. Please contact me if you’re interested. Thanks!

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  1. my work featured on huffington post | Sweet Girl Confections - [...] My Cherry Pinwheel Pastries are in the spotlight as number 7 in the slide show for scrumptious morning-time noshables. …

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