Cooking, Food, Recipe

Eat This While You Read That: Mark Alger

Mirror-posted from The Otherwhere Gazette this morning: I’m back on track after a week or so off, but I’m also writing busily. Enjoy! This is a not-too-sweet recipe perfect for indulging without threatening your hips and waistline. 

Mark assures me that his lovely but lethal main character Dolly adores apricot danishes. I’m with Dolly on that one. I love a good danish. Not the kind you find wrapped in cello at the shops, and the ones at the chain donut stores aren’t much better. If you can find a real bakery, they are to die for. Buttery, rich, flaky dough, creamy filling, and that dollop of sticky-sweet apricot on top (or cherry!). But wait… I’m dieting. So sad. I’d better put it off until after the wedding when I am no longer worried about looking good in the dress.

Or do I have to? Dolly doesn’t like to wait any more than I do. You can read about her antics in the High T Shebang, as she avoids gods and goddesses and has steamy, rich adventures of her own. A Bond girl without Bond, having adventures on her own – that’s how I always think of Dolly.

And for me? On a low-carb diet, the version of the recipe I created for the apricot danish weighs in at a mere 7 g of carbs per pastry. Not shabby for a pastry, and since I’m not super-low carb, well within the realms of possible for me. I’d gotten the idea from Sarah Hoyt, who does a similar thing with berries for a low-carb dessert. I also did a not-low carb version for my First Reader, who made puppy-dog eyes when I told him what I was thinking of doing. We did a taste-off with fresh apricots versus the traditional apricot preserve filling on his – far too much sugar for my version.

Apricot Danishes

  • Phyllo (filo) dough
  • melted butter
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 packet sucralose (equivalent to 2 tsp sugar)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 whole, ripe apricots, cut in half and pitted

Lay out a sheet of phyllo dough on a clean, dry surface, and brush lightly with melted butter. Lay another sheet on. For the low carb version, you will only be using 3 sheets. Brush each layer with melted butter. Use a pizza cutter to cut this into four equal rectangles.

Phyllo Dough recipe
A single incredibly thin sheet of pastry dough.
fillo dough
Brush on melted butter, lay down another sheet. Repeat for three sheets (more if you aren’t doing low carb).
Apricot Danish recipe
I put a swoosh of filling diagonally across each of the dough rectangles.

Whisk together (I used my stand mixer with whisk attachment on high, as this will resist combining) the egg yolk and cream cheese and vanilla. Set aside the lightly beaten egg white in a small bowl. Separate the cheese filling mixture into two small bowls, in one mix the sucralose, in the other, the sugar. If you are going with one way or the other rather than both you can put the sweetener in while mixing and skip this step.

danish cream cheese filling
The filling, as I get ready to add sweeteners.

Spoon a generous tablespoonful diagonally across the rectangle you cut. Press a cut half of the apricot on this, then pick it up. A little filling will cling to the fruit, you will be using this as sort of a glue to keep the pastry together. Fold the corners of the dough in on top of the filling. Put the apricot cut-side down on the corners, then fold the other corners on a diagonal until they are snug up to the fruit but not covering it. Brush the fruit with a little of the melted butter, brush the pastry with the egg white. If desired, sprinkle a little sugar or sucralose over the whole thing.

Fresh Apricot Danish
The pastry sprinkled with sugar, after the egg wash.

Bake at 350 def F (180 deg C) for 15-20 minutes or until the apricots are baked through, soft to the touch, and a little bubbly around the edges. The pastry should be golden brown. Allow to cool and serve.

These are… really really good. Very light, crispy at the edges, the cheese filling is rich, and overall it’s not at all sweet. The apricot mellows into tart and juicy having been baked. I’m not a fan of artificial sweetener and the sucralose plays well in here. I didn’t put it on top of the whole thing, only in the filling, and I could barely tell it was there. Just a hint of sweet. The First Reader says of his with the fresh apricot that he’s not fond of apricot but these are very good, and would be perfect with a spoonful of fresh blackberries dusted in sugar, or sweet cherries, or apple pie filling… I have a feeling I will be making these again. Desserts and breakfast pastries can be overpoweringly sweet, and these aren’t. With the fresh fruit, they are elevated to near-tart status, making them work for dessert too. The First Reader’s verdict on the pastry with preserves is that it’s too sweet for him. I have promised I will do these again soon with apple pie filling.

Low-carb danishes! Only 7 g per pastry.
Low-carb danishes! Only 7 g per pastry.

You can find the index page of ETWYRT recipes here. Happy eating and reading!

Leave a Reply