So you might recall that last weekend was my birthday. We spent Friday and Saturday in Birmingham with friends and family, but the actual day-of was rather standard procedure. Leading up to the day of, Aimee became fixated on preparing me breakfast in bed, and much to her delight, Brett was more than willing to help facilitate.
I wish I had a picture of her face as she tiptoed into my room that morning. Aimee had filled her tiny plastic tea party tray with miniature cups of orange juice and unicorn cereal, Mickey Mouse waffles and French toast sticks. There were cinnamon rolls and fresh coffee, even a couple of cards and those neon colored daisies that they sell at the grocery store. The whole operation just screamed “ AIMEE DID THIS,” and honestly it was one of the sweetest moments of my motherhood thus far.
In that moment it was clear that even from a young age humans experience innate joy from celebrating the people they love. Aimee, my four year old who can’t even reach the toaster, took such delight in having a hand in preparing something that she thought would be so special to me. She celebrated me how she would have wanted to be celebrated, and there’s so much feeling and hormonal heart swelling attached to that memory that I could cry just thinking about it. The breakfast itself was special, yes, but it was really nothing more than frozen waffles. The fun in it all for her was being able to share in something that felt out of the ordinary and celebratory. Even my four year old has figured out that it’s good to celebrate the people you love.
I adore these pumpkin danishes. They’re delicious, equal parts buttery and sweet, but they’re definitely not a run-of-the-mill breakfast food. Danishes take time and tons of intentionality. They’re not something you just whip up on a whim, and honestly, that’s kinda what I like about them. I appreciate how special they feel. I love that they’ve got more gusto than a breakfast bar or bowl of cereal. These pumpkin danishes are a dish that says, “Hey! I love you! Let’s celebrate.”
If you’ve hung out around this block long enough, you know about the danishes we’ve done in the past. The dough take time and patience, but once you understand the concept of folding and layering the dough, you’re almost all of the way there. For these pumpkin danishes, we utilize those same dough-making methods and then cut, fold, and fill them to create a cute little 3 bite treat. The pastry is 90% of the work and the filling is really simple, but I also threw in a brown butter glaze that’s really unnecessary. We’re just going all-out over here, okay?
Making the Danishes
The trickiest part of these pumpkin danishes is the shaping of the pastry. In the oven, the pastry will want to unfold and leave an angled corner hanging out on the edge of the danish. Instead, be sure to keep your dough cold and to press the pastry in tight when you shape them. Because the pumpkin filling has egg in it, it does tend to “grow” in the oven. To combat this, I took a cue from Yossy Arefi and doubled filled each one. I filled a little, baked the pastry, filled a little more, and did a final bake. Kinda tedious and really only necessary from an aesthetic standpoint, so if you don’t mind messy pastries you can skip this step.
I hope you find a reason to celebrate with these pumpkin danishes ASAP. There’s lots of happy to tap into around us if we just take the time to recognize and love on it. Happy Thursday and happy baking!
If you like these pumpkin danishes you should check out:
Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts
These pumpkin danishes include a buttery pastry dough and a pumpkin spice filling. There’s an optional brown butter glaze if you’re feeling super fancy.
- Prep Time: 240
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
- Yield: 12
- Category: Breakfast
For the dough (Adapted from Samantha Seneviratne:
- 1 ½ cups bread flour, plus more for rolling dough
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 14 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup cold whole milk
For the filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cold
- ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg, divided
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Pinch of salt
For the brown butter glaze (optional):
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
To prepare the dough:
- Combine the flour, granulated sugar, yeast and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse to combine until butter is distributed in pea-sized pieces throughout the flour. Put the flour mixture in a medium bowl.
- In a separate, small bowl, whisk the egg and milk with 2 tablespoons of water. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Fold the mixture until the liquid is evenly distributed, being careful to not overwork the dough. Dump the contents of the bowl out on to a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle. Chill for at least 3 hours, and up to 2 days.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to an 8-by-15-inch rectangle. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat the rolling and folding process. Dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking, rotate, roll, and fold a final time, ending with a small, rectangular piece of dough. Wrap the dough in Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Repeat the entire rolling and folding process one more time. You will have rolled and folded the dough six times. If the dough becomes loose or tacky, place in the fridge to rest for a bit. Wrap the dough and place in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight.
- To prepare the danishes:
- In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese, pumpkin, brown sugar, and sugar on medium speed just until smooth. Break the egg yolk and spoon most of it into the mixture, leaving some behind in a small bowl. Add the pumpkin pie spice and salt to the mixture and stir to combine. Pour the filling into a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off. If your filling is loose, place it in the fridge while you prep your pastry.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a roughly 10”x13” rectangle. Trim ¼” off of each side to straighten edges and cut the dough into 12 equal sized squares (I usually make 3 rows of 4 squares.) Beat the remainder of the egg and brush a dab of it on the four corners of each square of dough. Fold each corner in to the center and press down firmly (but without pushing your finger through the dough!) Transfer each one to a parchment lined sheet pan and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap to rise and puff for about an hour or so. The dough should barely start to spring back when you touch it when it’s ready.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If the centers of your pastries have risen a ton you can push down on the centers again. Brush the pastries with the thin layer of the reserved egg. Pipe ½ tablespoon of filling in the center of each one, reserving the additional filling. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes and then decrease the temp to 375. You’ll notice that the pastries will have risen quite a bit and likely displaced a lot of the filling- don’t worry. We anticipated this. Quickly and carefully remove the pan from the oven and pipe an additional ½ tablespoon of filling on top. You can use the back of a spoon to move it around to cover the old filing a bit if you’d like. Continue baking at 375 for an additional 8-10 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Remove from oven to cool.
To prepare the glaze (optional):
- Cook the butter over medium heat on the stove until melted. Continue cooking, stirring all the while, until the butter has begun to brown and smells nutty. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the powdered sugar and milk. Allow it to cool to drizzle consistency before glazing the pastries.