We have gone from the warmest winter ever in to the deep freeze.
With the wind chill tonight it will feel close to -50.
When it is that cold out the only good thing to do is turn on the oven bake.
I spied the bag of pecans in the cupboard and immediately though of making a danish. A natural paring with the pecans is maple. You can use either home made puff pastry or store bought from the freezer section. The satisfaction of making your own pastry is huge, though it is very time consuming. I will include a puff pastry recipe from Marth Stewart after the danish.
Maple Pecan Danish
1 pkg. of frozen puff pastry – thawed
1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese – softened
1/4 cup icing suger
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
5 tbsp. flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup (2oz) cream cheese
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F. Seperate pastry squares. Roll each square to a 12×9 inch rectangle. Place on lightly greased baking sheets.
Beat 1 cup of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of icing suger, egg, vanilla, maple syrup and flour until well blended. Stir in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
Spread mixture down center of pastries leaving 3 inches of dough on each side. Make 2 inch long cuts at 1 inch intervals on long side of pastry.
Crisscross strips over the filling.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400*F, turn down oven to 375*F bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer until golden brown. Remove to racks to cool.
Beat glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over pasteries and sprinkle with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
Puff Pastry (from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)
Makes about 3 pounds
3 cups (14 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup (5 ounces) cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, plus 1 stick (½ cup), cold, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a large bowl, combine 2¾ cups (12.85 ounces) all-purpose flour with the cake flour, salt, and sugar. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter pieces (1 stick) until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few larger clumps remaining. Make a well in the center, and pour in 1 cup cold water and the vinegar, gradually drawing the flour mixture over the water, gathering and combining until mixture comes together to form a dough. If the dough is too dry, add more cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead gently in the bowl, and form dough into a rough ball. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 40 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour on a sheet of parchment. Lay remaining 4 sticks of butter on top, side by side; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Top with more parchment; pound butter with a rolling pin until it’s about ½ inch thick. Remove top paper, fold butter in half, replace paper; pound butter until it’s about ½ inch thick. Repeat two or three more times until it is pliable. Using a bench scraper, shape butter into a 6-inch square; wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until chilled, about 10 minutes.
Lightly dust work surface with flour. Roll out dough to a 9-inch round; place butter package in center. Using a paring knife or bench scraper, lightly score dough to outline butter square. Remove butter; set aside. Starting from each side of marked square, gently roll out dough to form flour flaps, each 4 to 5 inches long; do not touch square. Return butter to center square; fold flaps over butter. Press with your hands to seal.
With the rolling pin, gently pound the dough all over in regular intervals until it is about 1 inch thick; this will soften the dough, making it easer to roll. Working in only one directly (lengthwise), gently roll out the dough to a 20-by-9-inch rectangle, squaring corners with the side of the rolling pin or your hands as you go. Using a dry pastry brush, sweep off excess flour. With a short side facing you, fold the rectangle in thirds like a business letter. Turn the dough a quarter-turn clockwise, so the flap faces right, like a book. (This completes the first turn.) Roll out the dough again to a 20-by-9-inch rectangle, rolling in the same lengthwise direction; fold dough again into thirds. (This completes the second turn.) Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
Repeat the rolling, turning, and chilling process for a total of six turns; always start each turn with the opening of the dough to the right. (If at any time, the dough becomes too soft to work with, return it to the refrigerator until firm.) Wrap dough in plastic; refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before using the dough.