Daring Bakers go for Danish
Apple Spice filled Danish Braid
This month's challenge for the Daring Bakers, chosen by Kelly and Ben, is a Danish Braid. I've always found it amusing that wienerbrod, which is really common in pastries here, is called Danish in English. Danish? Huh? I've never thought of it as particularly Danish, but.. I suppose it might be. Or maybe it's about as Danish as French Toast is French? The Swedish name means "bread from Vienna", by the way.
Almond-Orange-Cardamom-Chocolate filled Danish Braid
But what it is is basically a laminated yeasted dough. I've done that once before, for Pain au Chocolat. It was a real pain - that dough was much harder to work with, but it also yielded better results. That one was much more flaky, whereas this one was more like an ordinary yeasted dough. Not that I'm complaining - I don't like the flakiness at all, so this was more to my taste. And the Danish-lovers in my family loved it as well, so it might have been a pleasing compromise.
This was fun to bake! Basically, you make a yeasted dough without butter, but you don't let it rise just yet. (That's a major difference from the recipe I had tried before.) You then beat butter with flour, and spread that onto the dough. After that, you fold. And roll. And fold. And roll. It gets harder each time, but not hysterically so. It's do-able. After that, you roll it out one final time, fill it, braid it (really quite easy) and THEN you let it rise.
The filling recipe we got was for an apple filling. It was optional, but I liked the idea so I made it. I used three apples instead of four, and it was just the right amount for one braid. Per loved it, by the way, he's a huge fan of apple pastries. The other one turned out better in my opinion - I took about 200 g of almond paste, beat that with a little bit of unsalted butter and some white syrup to soften it, added the zest of one orange and about one teaspoon of crushed cardamom. I spread it onto the dough and topped it with chocolate chips. Yum!
The recipe called for an eggwash before the rise, which I found a bit odd (or maybe I just read the recipe wrong), so I waited until the end of the rise to wash the braids and top them with cinnamon sugar (for the apple filling), and chopped almonds and pearl sugar (for the almond-cardamom-orange filling).
You can find the recipe, with photos, here.