Sunday, June 29, 2008

Danish Braid with Apricot-Strawberrie,Creme Patissiere and Almonds filling - Daring Bakers new July Challenge

<Danish Braid with Apricot-Strawberrie, crème Patissiere and almonds

Since I joined the Daring Baking movement, this Danish Braid ‘s challenge has been the one I enjoyed the most!
I love fruits in my baking. Especially Summer fruits. I devour them, I love them I could live eating Summer fruits all year long. From the famous Temecula Farmer’s Market I got Organic Apricots and locally grown sweet Strawberries. All very goods- delicious. So I thought I would use some of them for the Danish Braid filling.
The sweetness of the strawberries and the tartness of the apricots where delicious and very tasty. I added some Crème patissiere and sliced almonds on the top.
The dough was very good even if I forgot and skipped to proof at room temperature for 2 hours. I guess I was so eager to start baking it.
The Danish Braid turned out to be beautiful, and delicious too. I made 2 so we will have some for lunch , tea time and tomorrow for breakfast.
I loved this challenge the dough has a unique flavor full of orange and Cardamone I will use it for other pastries. This is a find for sure!

Why Danish Braid?
• Danish dough is in the family of butter-laminated or layered dough with puff pastry being the ultimate. Danish dough is sweet and is yeast-leavened, however, where as puff pastry is not.
• The process of making Danish dough is less complex than that of puff pastry, but equally as important to achieve best results, and a great starting place to begin to learn about laminated dough in general.
• Danish dough is extremely versatile, and once made can be used for a variety of baked goods. The possibilities are endless.
• Since our ever-expanding Daring Bakers group lives in two different hemispheres, the Danish Braid will allow for fillings that are in season in both hemispheres. Hopefully that will assist with cost factors and availability of product.
• I love pastry and have never made Danish pastry before. When I asked Ben to co-host this month, I suggested several ideas, and the Danish Braid seemed to be the best way for people to have the opportunity to learn, if unfamiliar with laminated dough, and for those familiar, to be able to maximize choices for ingredients not only in the dough, but the fillings, toppings, and the shape of the braid as well.

Some History:• According to many sources, “Danish” was born when Danish bakers went on strike, and Viennese bakers were brought in to replace them, creating what is referred to as Vienna Bread.
• Conversely, it is also said that Danish bakers went to Vienna to learn the techniques Viennese bakers employed, and Danish dough was created there.
• In the early 1800’s, C.L. Olsen spent time in Germany, believing in the idea of gaining inspiration from bakers of other countries. He brought knowledge back to Denmark to introduce “foreign” breads to his country, also hiring people of other nationalities to bake in his family bakery.


Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour


Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.


1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.


Makes enough for two braids


3 Cups fresh Apricots
2 cups fresh Strawberries
1 cup sugar
Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Put the fruit/sugar mixture in a large pan and cook over medium heat about 20 minutes . Pour the cooked fruit onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.)

PASTRY CREAM – French crème patissiere
1/3 c. sugar
2 c. milk
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
Mix sugar, cornstarch and eggs in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in milk gradually. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups fruits mixture ( see above)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Add your Pastry cream and sprinkle on the top sliced almonds Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid. Add some coated Sugar and almonds.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.


Flo Bretzel said...

Je suis impressionnée par cette réalisation. Superbe!

Lorrie said...

mm apricots! you should be so proud of your work!

breadchick said...

OH love the creme patissiere filling! Well done.

Dolores said...

Ooooh... there's *nothing* better than baked goods inspired by the freshest summer fruits. Apricots and strawberries would be *great* in this. Glad you enjoyed the challenge as much as I did.

Sophie said...

We'd like to invite you to participate in our July berry recipe contest. All competitors will be placed on our blogroll, and the winner will receive a fun prize! Please email me,, if you're interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details. (Click on my name in the message header link to visit our blog. :)

Angela said...

Your braid is beautiful. Well done!

onespicymama said...

Mmmm - I love your filling! Great job!

Nic said...

How beautiful! (and I'm sure delicious too!)

Laurie said...

Bongiorno Celine!
I love your fruit combination! I haven't been to market in a few months..I'll have to stop by and pick up some wonderful fruit. We picked up some watermelon at Henry's a week ago for 1.79 EACH!! It was even sweet! :)

Your pastries look beautiful! What is the sprinkling on top?
Thank you for posting your Creme Patissiere looks so creamy and quick and easy to prepare!
Hugs to you..see you soon!

Claire said...

Great job! Sounds like it's delicious.

creampuff said...

Ooooooooooh! I love that filling, Celine!

Rebecca said...

Mmmmmmm, this makes me wish I'd used fruit. Delicious!

Lunch Buckets said...

Fancy! I'll have to look into "coated sugar" :)

Ben said...

I am glad you enjoyed this challenge. Your choice of fillings sounds very good. Thank you for baking with us :)

Jen Yu said...

I really loved this challenge too. Your braid is soooo beautiful and the filling sounds delish! Great job!

Miss Ifi said...

tsk tsk tsk.. no forgetting proofing next time!!!.. *giggles*
the combination of your filling sounds delicious!! Congratulations on your challenge!!

Joy said...

A really beautiful braid! I love the idea of the creamy filling in there too. Delicious!

Sophie said...

Hi Celine :),

This is Sophie from the berry contest. If you're still interested in participating in our July/August contest, please email me (at with the name of your blog and your email address, so I can give you contest updates :).