As the weather warms up and we head towards summer my thoughts are turning towards delicious breakfast items to serve to family and friends who come to visit. And of course there’s Mother’s Day brunch and Father’s Day breakfast to consider so I was very happy when I came across a recipe for Raspberry Danish in the cozy mystery MEET YOUR BAKER by Ellie Alexander.
Juliet Capshaw (yes, named after THE Juliet from Romeo & Juliet) returns home to Ashland, Oregon which is known world-wide for it’s Shakespeare Festival. She’s been gone ten years sailing the seas as a pastry chef and finds it difficult to fit in while trying to figure out what to do about the devastating betrayal by her chef husband. Her mother owns a bakery, Torte, so Jules, as she now calls herself, steps in to help out. It’s not long before the obnoxious new Festival board member, Nancy Hudson, is murdered in the kitchen of Torte. Nancy has given plenty of people in the town a reason to murder her. Jules also finds out that her mother has been keeping secrets from her and if she doesn’t step in and figure out the murder they could lose their family bakery.
I loved so much about this book: a good mystery that kept me guessing; quirky characters and their relationships; and the Ashland, Oregon setting. I visit family in Oregon every summer so I was very familiar with her descriptions of the quaint town and it’s people, along with the devastating forest fires that seem to hit the forests of Oregon and California every year. Ellie Alexander also provides several delicious recipes that make me wish I could spend more time in the kitchen. Many thanks to Ellie for allowing me to share her recipe, Raspberry Danish, with you!
2 packages (2-1/2 teaspoons, 0.5-ounce) yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup milk (I used coconut milk to make it dairy-free)
4 tablespoons butter (I used Earth Balance vegan margarine)
4 cups (20-ounces) flour, scoop and level method
1/2 cup (3.6-ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 jar (8-ounces, 1 cup) raspberry jam – see my recipe below
1 stick (4-ounces) butter
2 cups (8-ounces) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix the yeast and sugar into the warm water and let rise for 10 minutes.
While that’s rising, melt the butter in the milk. The temperature should not exceed 105 degrees when you add to the flour mixture.
Sift the flour and sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer.
Add the yeast, milk and butter to the flour mixture and knead with the dough hook until it doesn’t stick to the bowl, scraping down sides as necessary. If dough is too sticky add more flour 2 teaspoons at a time. If dough is too dry, add additional milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 15 minutes.
Prick with a fork, cover with the kitchen towel, and let rise for 15 minutes.
Warm the raspberry jam in the microwave for 30 seconds, just until warm and a fairly liquid consistency.
Drizzle dough with raspberry jam and gently spread using the tips of your fingers. Don’t apply pressure to dough or it may deflate.
Bake at 425 degrees for 13 – 15 minutes. The middle of the bread should reach 190 degrees.
Let bread cool in pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife around edges. Carefully remove from the pan (I used the knife and an extra large spatula) and transfer to a serving platter. If desired, spread with vanilla frosting or simple glaze (recipe below) when pastry is cool.
Slice and enjoy!
Whip butter, add powdered sugar and mix to fully incorporate.
Slowly add the vanilla and milk and mix until blended. Frosting will be on the thin side and should drip over the sides of the pastry.
My note: I used vegan margarine and coconut milk to make the frosting since my husband is dairy-free. The margarine separated a bit so I added an extra half cup of powdered sugar. Alternately, you can use the icing glaze and omit the margarine.
2 cups powdered sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons milk (coconut, soy, almond or 2%)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together until smooth and drizzle over cooled Danish.
4 cups crushed raspberries (approx. 2-1/2 pounds) fresh or frozen
6-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 package liquid pectin (such as Ball or Certo brand)
8 8-ounce canning jars with lids and rings
Prepare waterbath canner and sterilize jars, lids and rings. I place my jars into a large skillet with 1-2 inches of water and simmer to keep the jars hot.
The lids and rings should also be covered with hot water and kept at a bare simmer until needed.
If using frozen raspberries, defrost in microwave and measure. If using fresh raspberries, pulse clean berries in a food processor until coarsely chopped then measure 4 cups.
Add raspberries and sugar to an 8-quart pan (I like using my Dutch oven for making jam).
Heat over medium high until mixture comes to a full rolling boil, one that you can’t stir down the bubbles.
As it begins to heat, stir the mixture frequently, but when it is close to starting to boil begin stirring the mixture constantly.
Add the package of liquid pectin and bring jam back to a full rolling boil.
Boil for 1 minute then turn heat off and remove pan from burner.
Skim off any foam and discard.
Carefully ladle the hot jam into hot jam jars and wipe the rims with a clean, damp paper towel.
Place the lids on the jars and fingertip tighten the rings.
Place the jars into the prepared waterbath making sure jars are covered by at least 1 – 2 inches of water.
Cover the pot, bring to a gentle boil and process for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes turn heat off, remove lid and let sit for 5 minutes.
Remove jars from waterbath and let cool.
Once cool, check to make sure the jam has sealed. The tops of the lids should not move up and down when pressed.
If any jars did not seal, store jam in the refrigerator and use within 3 – 4 weeks. Label and store the sealed jars in a cool, dry place up to 1 year.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to the raspberries and sugar when cooking. The butter will reduce the foam that will need to be skimmed off before canning, but make sure to use only a scant 1/2 teaspoon. I’ve read some concerns that the added dairy could inhibit the jam from properly storing but my mother used this method for decades and none of us ever got sick. Sure-Jell included adding butter in its instructions but my package of Ball pectin did not make this suggestion.
- Frozen berries are generally less expensive than fresh and break down quickly when defrosted which makes a very good choice for making jam. I bought my frozen raspberries from Costco.
- Here is a good canning tutorial from freshpreserving.com