Eat Right, Eat Well. Who Knew? Prune Danish Makes a Healthy Dessert
When I was growing up in Brooklyn, weekly trips to the bakery were a high point, especially the Danishes and the éclairs. Unfortunately, éclairs still probably do not qualify as a health food, but there may be good news about Danish.
A recent study published in the journal Appetite by researchers at San Diego State University showed women who ate dried plums instead of lowfat cookies felt more satisfied, had lower blood sugar, and had better insulin levels.
So dried plums are healthy to munch on, but what about making them into a natural whole grain dessert? Try this Danish that is healthy enough for breakfast, pretty enough to serve at a special brunch, and freezes well.
Dried Plum Mixture
4 cups dried plums- even if pitted, cut in half to remove stray pits
3 cups water
1 tsp. lemon juice
Simmer in a medium pot for10-15 minutes until water is partially absorbed and plums are plump. Allow to sit while making dough.
1 1/3 cups warm water (about body temperature)
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 Tbs. baking yeast, preferably quick-rising
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. salt
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or other unroasted nuts
1 small can orange juice concentrate, for glazing strudel.
Allow orange juice concentrate to thaw while preparing dough. Do not dilute.
Combine the whole wheat and white flours, mix well, and set aside.
Mix water, oil, yeast, and vegetable oil together and let sit until mixture begins to bubble. Stir in salt, then stir in about half of the flour and turn the liquid mixture out of the bowl onto a clean counter lightly with flour. Knead in the rest of the flour, which will take 8-10 minutes. Do not add too much flour. The dough should be lose and easy to work with. Place in a bowl coated with oil, cover with a clean dish towel, and let rise until double.
While the dough is rising, blend plum mixture until moderately smooth, stopping as needed to scrape sides... Add a little more water if needed.
Set plum mixture aside and work with the dough again briefly, kneading it so it deflates slightly.
Coat a nonstick baking sheet with oil or a baking spray.
Roll dough into a 15” circle with a rolling pin. Mound 1 ½ cups of filling in center and sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped nuts. Leave a margin of 5 inches around filling.
Cut strips 1 inch apart like the rays of the sun all around the filling, starting about an inch from the filling. Crisscross each two adjoining strips and fold towards center, leaving middle of filling exposed.
Add more plum filling in the center. Avoid getting filling on outside of dough. Garnish with remaining nuts and press lightly into dough. Let rise 20 minutes. Bake at 3350 about 55 minutes until golden brown. Cover with foil near the end if it is browning too fast. Remove from oven and brush orange juice concentrate on the top to glaze.