Wake and Bake: Easy Strawberry Danish

Carrie Vasios

What is an easy recipe? I've found it varies from person to person. For me, it's something that involves prep work of less than 25 minutes. That's because I'll often make recipes that require all sorts of resting and kneading and careful watching—a lot of people would only consider an "easy" recipe something that takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.

Then there's the issue of an "easy" recipe versus a recipe that's simply a shortcut. Is the recipe inherently easy or is it a fast version of a more complicated dish? I've seen "easy" applied to both. I'm bringing this up because if you look through cookbooks or snoop around the internet for an easy danish recipe what you'll find are recipes that give you shortcuts for the dough.

Traditional danishes are a viennoiserie pastry made with a buttery dough that's layered to achieve a flakey effect similar to a croissant. Easy versions all seem to replace the homemade dough, which is indeed time intensive, with store-bought puff pastry or, just as frequently, with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. I experimented with both.

This is the version that uses PCR, which, if you'll believe it, I'd never had before. The first thing I realized is that Crescent Rolls aren't really croissants—duh—being more on the bready side than particularly flakey. But I find their slight dryness to be advantageous when making a fruit danish. The strawberries give off some juice, and the Crescent dough was better able to handle it without getting soggy.

The interior of the danish is where it's at, anyway. The sweetened cream cheese-based filling tastes just like the coffee shop danishes of my youth, with sliced strawberries adding a little fruity kick. Do not dispense with the icing, which takes about two minutes to make and adds that extra sugary drizzle to tie it all together.