Friday night Brad and I and our furry children went to my parents’ house to celebrate my brother’s birthday.  While I was laying on the floor wrestling with those furry children, I noticed the small stack of books under my parents’ television in their sun room.  In that pile was a Julia Child baking book that I think my brother and I got her as a gift for some occasion a few years ago.  I started thumbing through it and realized I wanted to make every single thing in that book.  So I took it home and the second I had the chance, I made these pinwheels.

               

Every once and awhile I get in a baking mood, but not just a “oh let’s bake some cookies” mood.  More like a “I want to make something fancy and pretty and time consuming and more difficult than a cookie” mood.  I was in that mood Sunday.  And I am so happy that I was.  I had to finish these on Monday though because the dough had to sit in the fridge overnight, which I didn’t know until I had finished making the dough… But it was ok because my crazy baking mood was still in full force Monday (which for the record, doesn’t make any sense since I spent 7 hours baking cupcakes that morning).

              

My mom has gotten into canning lately and that basically means that Brad and I are fully stocked with apple butter, pickles, strawberry jam and… this just in… blueberry jam.  I don’t know if you have ever had blueberry jam, but believe me when I say this… It is incredible.  It is wonderful.  It is unbearably delicious.  It blew my socks off (wait, it’s hot out, I wasn’t wearing socks when I tried it, but if I did have socks on, they would have been blown off).  I was shocked.  I don’t know why I didn’t think blueberry jam would be very good (considering that I love blueberry pie) but I just didn’t have high expectations.  But I can officially say now that blueberry is my favorite jam.  And so when I saw that these pinwheels had jam in them, I knew exactly which one to use!  I used up all the blueberry jam though, so to fill the remaining 4, I used the strawberry jam my mom made a few weeks ago!

Ok… so these taste like something out of a bakery.  No joke.  The Danish Pastry dough is incredible.  It’s flaky and a little bit salty so the sweet jam balances it out perfectly.  These are absolutely incredible straight out of the oven.  They don’t really save super well because they get a little soggy with all the jam, however, they taste the same so it’s all ok.  I would highly suggest stuffing your face with as many as you can though when they are done baking because they are so perfect!  I’ve been eating them for breakfast, for a snack and for dessert!  So basically, I have been eating them all day.  You’ll just die when you bite into one.  They are that good!

Jam Filled Pinwheel Danishes
From Baking With Julia
Makes about 16 pinwheels

Danish Pasty
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup milk, at room temp
1 large egg, at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks cold unsalted butter

Mixing the Dough: Pour the water into a large bowl, sprinkle over the yeast and let it soften for a minute.  Add the milk, egg, sugar and salt and whisk to mix; set aside.

Put the flour in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Cut the butter into 1/4-inch thick slices and drop them onto the flour.  Pulse 8 to 10 times, until the butter is cut into pieces that are about 1/2 inch in diameter.  Don’t overdo this- the pieces must not be smaller than 1/2 inch.

Empty the contents of the food processor into the bowl with the yeast and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently turn the mixture over, scraping the bowl as needed, just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Again, don’t be too energetic- the butter must remain in discrete pieces so that you will produce a flaky pasty, not a bread or cookie dough.

Chilling the Dough: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight (or for up to 4 days).

Rolling and Folding:  Lightly flour a work surface, turn the dough out onto it and dust the dough lightly with flour.  Using the palms of your hands, pat the dough into a rough square.  Then roll it into a square about 16 inches on a side.  Fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter, and turn it so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book.  (If at any time the dough gets too soft to roll just cover it with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge for a quick chill.)

Roll the dough out again, this time into a long narrow rectangle, about 10 inches wide by 24 inches long.  Fold the rectangle in thirds again, turn it so that the closed fold is to your left and once more, roll the dough into a long narrow rectangle, 10 inches by 24 inches long.  Fold in thirds again, wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, or as long as 2 days.

To Make the Pastries
1 recipe of the Danish Pastry Dough
Jam of your choice
1 large egg white, beaten
Cane sugar for sprinkling

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Flour the top of the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface.  Roll the dough into a square that is 20 inches on a side.  Using a ruler and a pizza cutter, trim the edges to even them, if needed.  Score each side at 5-inch intervals, then cut through the dough, using the ruler as your guide, to make 16- 5inch squares.

To make the pinwheel, place the pastry square on the parchment paper and spoon a tablespoon of jam in the center of the square.  Using a pizza cutter or a thin sharp knife, cut a slash from the center to each corner.  Brush every other corner with with a little bit of the beaten egg white and lift those points off the surface and in toward the center, pressing the dough lightly against the filling and overlapping the points to create a pinwheel!

Rise: Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the pastries to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. (reserve the remaining egg white)  Although the pastries won’t double, they will look and feel fluffy.

Baking: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400.  Brush the risen pastries with the reserved egg white, sprinkle with the cane sugar and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

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