Mayhaps you don’t know this about me, but I’m a big music nerd. As in, I love music. Going to shows and getting all up in people’s personal space and then getting really tired at 10 p.m. and wanting to go home before the encore thereby annoying my husband is one of my favorite things to do. True story.
But in all seriousness, music is something that gives me the get-up-and-go every day. It helps me focus. It helps me stay awake on long road trip drives. It helps me think things through. Sometimes it just helps me bust a move in the kitchen, I don’t know.
I was listening to this playlist whilst making these danishes. I was also listening to it when I came up with the idea for said danishes, and when I was editing the photos and writing the post for said danishes. So, yeah, whenever I hear Fleet Foxes, Purity Ring or Reptar, I will be thinking of danishes. Which will be a lot (and also a very good thing).
So let’s talk a little bit more about this brioche danish recipe situation, shall we? We’ve got a wheat brioche base, which is basically a brioche roll that I’ve smashed down, filled with a sweet cream cheese filling and topped with honeyed apricots and icing, what what. It’s nothing like those danishes you find in the grocery store or the gas station, the ones that are made with flaky puff pastry dough that tastes like it’s been frozen, then unfrozen, then baked and left to loaf around in a glass case until either a) someone buys it in a moment of weakness, or b) it goes stale. And even then, sometimes it sticks around. Ish.
Anyway, what I mean is, these are a lot more appetizing. They’re worth every moment it takes to make them (which is admittedly a while, but the amount of effort required is totally on the low side. WIN). They’re also a little less sugary and puff pastry-ish, which might not be your bag. But for me, it’s just perfect, especially first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee. And my playlist on repeat.
I keep dancin’ on my oooowwwwwwwwwwwnnnn… Oh, sorry. Didn’t realize you were still there.
Yields: 8 danishes
For the brioche —
1 cup water
3 tablespoons milk
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat bran
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 1/2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
For the filling —
8 ounces (1 package) Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt
24 dried apricot halves
1 tablespoon honey
For the icing —
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
Combine water and milk in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave 30 seconds to warm. Pour into a small bowl; whisk in yeast and sugar until yeast dissolves. Let stand 5 minutes until foamy.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine flours, wheat bran and salt. Cut in butter with fingers or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add yeast mixture and 1 egg; stir to combine. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth, elastic and only slightly sticky, about 8-10 minutes — OR, knead dough in stand mixer on medium speed with dough hook until smooth, elastic and only slightly sticky, about 5 minutes. The dough might be a little tackier than you’re used to with normal dough — this is OK.
Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down risen dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place 2 to 3 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Cover with tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl until well combined. Use the bottom of a glass or small measuring cup to make indents in the center of each piece of dough. Spoon filling evenly into each indent, smoothing the tops.
Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water; brush egg wash over the brioche dough, avoiding the filling. Bake until light golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine apricots with honey until apricots are well coated. Remove danishes from oven and place on a cooling rack. Top each danish with a few glazed apricots.
Make the icing: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla and just enough milk to make a glaze. Drizzle over slightly cooled danishes. Serve warm or at room temperature.