An Entenmann's baked good is de rigeuer at any Tri-State breakfast gathering--and really, any and all other occasions. While donuts often make an appearance, it's the Entenmann's danish twist, and specifically the raspberry jam version, that's basically mandatory. Here's how to make your own, fresh, wonderful version at home. Guaranteed to turn any staff or committee meeting into a party.
This post is part of the Eating New York series.
Though it's sold nationwide, I think of Entenmann's as a Northeast kind of thing. For one, the bakery was founded in Brooklyn and operated out of Long Island for many years. But mostly, it's that blue and white Entenmann's boxes are ubiquitous from the mid-Atlantic up to New England. As noted by Gil Marks (he's the late author of the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food that I'm always mentioning) in this Tablet piece on shul kiddush food: "The kosher certification of Entenmann’s in the early 1980s [w]as a watershed moment in kiddush history. Before that time, synagogues relied on local kosher bakeries, if there were any, to provide cookies and other sweets. But with their kosher stamp of approval and broad distribution, Entenmann’s crumb cakes, pecan Danish rings, and marble loaf cakes quickly took over."
I was never a big fan of Entenmann's personally, so this exercise in nostalgia surprised me by turning out as one of the most delicious baked goods I've ever made. With an enriched, brioche-type dough that's easily shaped, the result is impressive looking and even better tasting. I sent the second danish (the recipe makes two) to work with my husband and apparently there was mutiny when people from outside the department tried to nab some.
Mixing the dough
The base of the danish doesn't actually use danish dough, which is a laminated yeast dough, meaning that it's first mixed and allowed to rise as a yeast dough, then sandwiched with slabs of butter like puff pastry. This dough skips the fussy lamination and is ready to go after a standard rise, making it about 2 ½ hours start to finish.
The dough used here is softer and wetter than babka dough, something more like sweet bun dough. It'll take a while to come together into a smooth, supple ball, but keep mixing as directed and it will, in the end. It's supposed to be somewhat tacky to the touch when mixed and ready to rise, but it shouldn't stick obnoxiously to your fingers.
Which pan to use
To replicate the size of a genuine Entenmann's danish, you need an unusual pan size: 8"x6" / 20x15 cm. I bought a set of disposable foil pans in that size especially to make the danish, because nostalgia. However, I think next time I'll just make the two danishes together in a large rectangular (13"x9" / 33x23 cm) baking pan.
Shaping the danish twists
When the dough has risen to double its initial volume (mine took an hour and a and half), you'll divide it into six equal sections. Roll each section into a strand about 1" / ⅖ cm longer than your pan (or that you want the finished danish to be). Gently twist it and tuck the end under so it fits lengthwise in the pan. You'll repeat the process, laying each twisted strand next to the other, like so:
Cover up the twists and leave them to rise until they bulk up, 20-30 minutes. Then you're ready to add the raspberry jam. Using an ordinary spoon, gently poke apart the strands and deposit the jam between them:
Now you're ready to bake them until they're nice and golden.
Icing the danishes
An Entenmann's danish must be iced. I don't know for sure, but my hunch is that there's a little bit of almond extract somewhere in the danish, and I added it to the icing, which was spot-on. You can use a spoon or piping bag to drizzle.
The classic Entenmann's icing pattern is what I'd call a double swirl, and the cross section of the danish should have three visible humps with jam in between:
Best eaten on the first day, but warmed gently, it's great for a few days after, too.
Entenmann's Style Raspberry Danish (dairy)
- 1 cup milk - warmed
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp 1 packet active dry yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour - 500 g
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 eggs - at room temperature
- ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 1-Tbsp pieces
- ½ cup raspberry jam
- 1 egg yolk beaten with one teaspoon of water - for egg wash
For the icing:
- 1 cup powdered sugar - sifted
- 1 Tbsp milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp almond extract
Activate the yeast:
- Add the sugar and active dry yeast to the warm milk, and leave until foamy, 7-10 minutes.
Mix the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt.
- Add the milk-yeast mixture to the bowl. When combined, add in the eggs. On medium, mix until a shaggy dough forms.
- With the mixer still running at medium speed, add the room temperature butter one piece at a time; allow each to be blended into the dough before adding the next. The dough will be wet and batter-like.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed for 5-6 minutes, or until the dough smooths out and begins to ball up around the hook.
Rise the dough:
- Turn out the dough, mist the bowl or a dough bucket, and cover tightly. Leave to rise until roughly doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
Shape and proof:
- Grease two 8"x6" baking dishes (or line up the danishes one after the other in a 9"x13" / 23x33 cm dish).
- Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and divide in half. Working with one half at a time, divide into three sections. Roll each section into a strand a little longer than the length of the pan (the finished length of the danish). Twist the strand and place it in the baking dish. Repeat, laying the other two strands lengthwise against the first.
- Cover the shaped danishes with a kitchen towel and leave to rise for 15-20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°.
Add jam and bake:
- Using a regular spoon, scoop up the raspberry jam and deposit it between the twisted strands, using the spoon to gently part them. You should use about 2 tablespoonfuls between each strand (¼ cup per danish).
- Beat an egg with 1 tsp water to make egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash, brush egg wash over the exposed tops of the pastry. Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating once halfway through, until golden on top. or until deep golden brown on top.
Make the icing:
- Mix the powdered sugar with the milk and the extracts, until thinned and pourable. Allow the danishes to cool for 15-20 minutes, then drizzle or pipe the icing onto the top in a swirl pattern.