Meet your spring brunch’s new best friend. A savory danish filled with cheese and asparagus, this pairs perfectly with eggs and a bloody mary.
For the danish dough:
- 450g bread flour
- 40g granulated sugar
- 7g instant yeast (or 8g of active dry yeast)
- 6g kosher salt
- 40g unsalted butter, cubed + 335g unsalted butter for the roll-in
- 90g eggs (about 1.5 large eggs)
- 195g whole milk
- 1 egg + 2T whole milk for the egg wash
For the filling:
- 1C full-fat ricotta
- 1/2C freshly grated Pecorino Romano (or parmesan)
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced. Less if you are sensitive to raw garlic
- 1t lemon zest (from about one small lemon)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- One bunch of asparagus spears (mine were particularly small, so it took about 24 spears)
- Prosciutto (optional)
- If using active dry yeast: Heat half of your milk in the microwave until warm. Mix in the yeast and let sit for 5 min or until you see bubbles or foam forming. If you are using instant yeast, no need to do this step.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, butter, eggs, and milk on low speed for about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium for an added 4 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover the dough with a clean towel or plastic wrap and ferment for about 2 hours or until just about doubled in size.
- Fold over the dough and roll it out into a 14×8-inch rectangle. Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.
- It’s time to make the roll-in: Using a rolling pin, pound out the roll-in butter and shape it into a 6.5×6.5 square. Keep the edges as straight as possible to ensure you have even layers later on. Chill the butter block slightly to make sure it is the same consistency as your dough. (Sometimes I put the dough in the freezer for a few minutes to ensure a consistent firmness).
- On a floured work surface, place the dough down and give it a gentle roll out with your pin to pop any bubbles that have formed and create an even surface. Place the butter block in the center of the dough. Fold the dough around the butter like a present to completely cover it, pinching the seams together so there are no openings.
- Beat the dough with your rolling pin for a minute or so to make it easier to work with to avoid warming up the dough too much. When you are able to roll out the dough without the butter shattering, roll to create a 22×10-inch rectangle.
- Perform a four-fold or book fold, which means taking the short sides of the dough and folding them into the center and then folding it one more time, so the dough looks like a closed book. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes—longer if you are worried your butter got too warm.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees from the last position and roll it out into the same sized rectangle (22×10-inch) and administer a three-fold or letter-fold, which means folding one short side into the center and laying the other side over top. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate again for at least 30 minutes.
- Once chilled, perform one last three-fold and refrigerate again for at least 30 min, but can easily be kept in the fridge overnight.
- Make the cheese filling: Combine the ricotta, Pecorino, garlic, and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Blanch your asparagus: Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add your trimmed asparagus to the water in batches and keep them in for about one minute (longer if you don’t like a bite to your veggies, but remember, they are getting baked again, so this is just to jumpstart the process and give them that beautiful green color). Immediately transfer to an iced bath or, if you don’t have an ice maker, transfer to a baking sheet that you had hanging out in your freezer.
- Make and bake the baskets: Roll your dough out into a 22×10-inch rectangle. This doesn’t have to be exact, just try and make the rectangle a 1/2-inch thick and square off the edges to avoid rounded, uneven baskets later. Cut the dough into 12 rectangles.
- One at a time, roll out a rectangle to create a square. Turn the square 45 degrees—forming a diamond—and fold the bottom edge over the top to make a triangle with the main point facing away from you. You are going to cut two slits, one on the left and one on the right. Keep your cuts about ½ inch from the edge and start the slit about a 1/2 from the tip, so your cuts will not ever touch. Open up your diamond, and fold the right cut corner, so the outside edge aligns with the inside edge of the left corner. Repeat on the left side, folding it over to the right.
- Place the pastries onto parchment-lined baking sheets and let sit for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dock the center of your pastries and fill each one with cheese filling and then top with the asparagus and prosciutto if using. (I trim them to size with my kitchen shears).
- Brush the pastries with egg wash and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the centers hold together. (Personally, I like a well-done pastry, so I leave them in on the longer side).
Keywords: brunch recipes, pastries, savory pastry, spring recipes, asparagus recipes