Growing up, every other Sunday or so after church one of two things usually happened: my mom would make a stop at “the bread store” or we’d go directly home for breakfast. I’d always hope for a bread store run. A trip to Entenmann’s bakery meant not just bread for our lunch sandwiches but also, depending on the week, deals on the other baked goods including cookies, cinnamon swirl bread, doughnuts, cakes and cheese Danish. The cheese Danish was my favorite. A slice of it would be my lunch time treat for a week or as long as my family and I could hold out from eating it all up. There were three types available: a raspberry cheese Danish, a cheese Danish inside dough covered in powdered sugar and one with frosting on top. You could eat it warm, you could eat it cold, but it tasted brilliant. For some reason I thought it was the most exclusive baked good ever, under lock and key and only Entenmann’s knew how to make it. We don’t go to the store as often, especially since there’s less of us in the house now but that bakery is definitely part of my childhood.
But right before Thanksgiving, when I found I was going to be in D.C. for the day and off to a friend’s house for “Friendsgiving” (her creativity, not mine), I woke up thinking I wanted to bring cheese Danish as my contribution (plus double chocolate pecan cookies and macaroni and cheese, posts for those to come later). A little research on what goes into cheese Danish around Pinterest and the internet and within 24 hours I was making dough. A long look at my pantry provided inspiration for putting peaches (like how the bakery did raspberry) and pecans (because I really like pecans in my baked goods) on my cheese Danish. I was skeptical at first but as soon as I took a bite into the finished product, I knew I had made a great step in my baking journey. I’m not sure what my life was until I baked and tasted these. These will definitely be made more often with new variations soon.
The best dough recipe I found was from Thibeault’s Table. The dough was INCREDIBLY soft. It was almost unreal. It seemed like sour cream had struck again as a baker back pocket go-to. As you’ll see from Thibeault’s Table post she made hers in these amazing shapes and even had a nice frosting glaze drizzled over hers. As you can see I attempted to get fancy with mine with the semi-twists in my dough. At first I wanted squares but they kept coming out into circles so I ran with it. I rolled my dough and curled the ends toward the middle as round and round as I could go. The key is to make a nice pocket in the middle to plop your Danish filling, peaches and pecans into. At some point though it got easier to simply use a butter knife to make designs. I’ll try for better twists next time. Also, I didn’t realize the dough would become so fluffy while baking, hence the odd looking shapes some of mine came out in. Still just as tasty but next time I’ll try to twist more carefully and evenly all around. For the glaze I didn’t wish to use any but perhaps next time I will.
To my surprise the filling was literally a combination of cream cheese, butter and vanilla. So crazy all these years the filling was so easy to put together.
Peach Pecan Cheese Danish adapted from Thibeault’s Table Cream Cheese Danish Recipe:
For the dough:
1 c sour cream
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter
1 t. salt
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 c warm water
2 eggs beaten
4 c all purpose flour
Melt butter, sour cream, sugar and salt together until warm and sugar is dissolved (I personally did this step in a microwave for about 2 minutes or so). Cool to room temperature.
In large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm water.
Mix sour cream mixture with yeast and add beaten eggs and flour. Will be a very soft dough. Put in fridge over-night to rise or you can chill it for two or four hours (I personally did it for two and the dough was amazing). Knead the dough some more and then go forward.
Make sure to have a floury surface and then, depending on how large you want your Danish to be, pull the dough you need. I rolled mine out with a rolling pin into a circle.
For the cheese filling:
2 packages of 8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 c sugar
1 egg beaten
1 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt
**I drained a cup of peach juice into my mixture for extra peach taste.
Mix together cream cheese with sugar, egg, vanilla extract and salt. Let this chill until you’re ready to put onto your dough.
For the toppings:
4 c diced peaches (drained) (literally used the fruit cups from the grocery store aisle that come in packs of four; very convenient).
1 1/2 c bag of chopped pecans
Once you have your dough shape and have added the cheese filling, you’ll take about a teaspoon of peaches and place them on top, then sprinkle your pecans. It’s crucial you drain the peach juice or else you’ll learn as I did that it will run all over your dough.
You can do the filling first and have it chill while you make the dough and while it’s chilling for those two or four hours or even overnight.
Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.