The only thing I like more than Starbucks’ Sugar Plum Danish during the holiday season is the freedom to make it at home all throughout the year, using cleaner ingredients, and for much cheaper!
I’m including two different options: one using premade puff pastry from the grocery store, and the other for those who wish to try their hand at making Danish pastry dough from scratch. Both options come with their respective disclaimers:
- Using premade puff pastry is much easier, but the final product won’t be exactly like its Starbucks counterpart. Puff pastry is flakier than traditional yeast-based Danish pastry dough. It’s still delicious, but the texture will be slightly crunchier and less bread-like inside.
- Scratch made Danish dough will yield a delicious pastry exactly like you get in the bakeries. However, making this laminated, yeast-based dough needs to be started the day prior to baking the pastries and is fraught with common pitfalls to avoid for less experienced bakers. It’s more of an intermediate baking technique.
Either option you choose, these pastries are delicious! For bonus points, make our Spiced Plum Freezer Jam to use in these tasty treats.
TIP: If you want to up the sweetness, whip up a quick sugar glaze and drizzle it over the tops of the danishes after they have cooled!
Sugar Plum Cream Cheese Danish
(Original recipes: Sugar Salt Magic, Stetted)
USING HOMEMADE DANISH PASTRY DOUGH
1 C cold milk, divided
2-1/4 tsp (1 sachet) instant or active dry yeast
3 C (390g) all-purpose flour
1/3 C (66g) white granulated sugar, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1 C (226 g) butter, grated and cold
1 large egg
If you’re butter isn’t very cold, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Grate the cold butter into a large bowl. Don’t press it down, leave it loose.
Warm 1/2 cup of milk in the microwave or a small saucepan just until warm to the touch, about 104F. Too hot and you’ll kill the yeast, too cold and the yeast won’t bloom. To the warm milk, add 1 TBSP sugar and all the yeast. Stir and let it sit for 10 minutes to become frothy. (If it doesn’t look frothy, the yeast is no good and you’ll need to start again with fresh yeast.)
To the large bowl of cold butter, add the flour, remaining sugar, and the salt. Give it light toss to coat. Cut the butter into the flour until the pieces are about the size of a lentil (I prefer using a pastry cutter). Be careful not to melt the butter. If necessary, place it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool.
Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk and the egg into the yeast mixture until well combined, then pour it into the dry ingredients. Use a spoon or spatula to mix the ingredients together just until you have a very rough and sticky dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 8-24 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. You should be able to roll out the dough without it sticking to your work surface or the rolling pin, but be mindful not too add too much flour as it dries out the dough.
Roll it out to a large rectangle, 9 inches by 17 inches, about 1/3 inch thick. Fold your dough, letter style in thirds (fold the top over the middle third, then the bottom third over that).
Repeat this roll and fold 3 more times for a total of 4 times, ending with a much smoother folded dough. The last roll and fold, the dough will feel much tighter – it’s ok if you can’t quite roll it out to ⅓ inch. Add a touch of flour if you see it sticking to the counter or your rolling pin at any point but try not to add too much.
Wrap dough in cling film and chill for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 12 inches by 16 inches. Trim the edges from the rolled dough, then cut into 12 even squares, about 4 inches square each.
Place the squares of dough onto parchment-lined baking trays (6 on each), then fold each of the corners into the center of each square. Press down lightly with your palm. Let them rest for 10-15 minutes.
USING PUFF PASTRY
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
Flour for rolling
Dust countertop and rolling pin lightly with flour and roll out puff pastry gently just so it is slightly extended. Cut pastry dough into equal squares, 3 x 3, totaling 9. Transfer squares to a muffin tin and press gently into wells, leaving the corners out.
FILLING AND BAKING
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 TBSP confectioners’ sugar
1/4 C Spiced Plum Freezer Jam
Preheat oven to 395°F.
Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Divide evenly among your prepared dough, spreading slightly with a spoon. Then top each with a dollop of spiced jam, as well.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed and golden. If using Danish pastry dough, rotate the tray(s) after 10 minutes.
OPTIONAL SUGAR GLAZE
1 C confectioners’ sugar
1 TBSP milk
Combine sugar and milk until smooth. Add more milk if you need to thin it or more icing sugar to thicken it. When it’s a consistency you like, drizzle it over the warm pastries. Serve immediately.