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.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Surprise Inside!

Last Friday I discovered at TJ's some Stuffing Portabellas in their vegetables section. I did not know yet what I would do with them.
Once I arrived at home, I checked what I had in my fridge and my pantry. I had some Boursin French Cheese, Cream cheese. From the pantry I had golden raisins and walnuts. From the garden all variety of fresh herbs but the Cilantro was in my opinion the most appropriate and yes it was.

Spray some Olive Oil on a cooking sheet. In a large bowl mix the Boursin, the cream cheese ( at room temperature), add some Cilantro cut very small, add the walnuts, and the raisin.
Clean up your mushroms and pat them dry. Remove the stem if some. sprinkle some sea salt and fresh pepper in it. Then with a spoon fill the mushrooms cups with the mixture cheese/nuts/ raisins/ herbs.
Cook it in oven ( 350 F) for 15 -20 minutes until you see the mushroom cooked and the mixture nice and soft.
I served them with some Mesclun from my Vegetables garden and it was a such wonderful surprise. The cheese, the full flavor od fresh herbs, the sweetness of the raisins and the crunchy of the nuts was really wonderful and delicate in your mouth.
It was a wonderful Appetizers, light and delicate!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Today I share with your my breakfast and qui je suis- I have been tagged by my Neighbor friend Laurie

Laurie from Dalla Mia Cuccina
tagged me! We connected throughDaring Bakers and we leave nearby! Meme is a nice way to know our Bloggers Pals all around the world. Usually, I am pretty secretive... Merci Laurie!

The rules:
Each participant answers questions about himself. At the end of the post the participant tags 5 people. Their names are posted letting them know they’ve been tagged. They then have to read the participant’s blog. The tagged let’s the tagger know when he’s posted his answers. Here we go!

What was I doing ten years ago?
Ten years ago I was in New York ity, I was running my own Tour Operator company near Wall Street. It was a busy , crazy life but fun with lot of meetings, long hours, but also parties, hanging out with great friends and dinning in a lot of restaurants! And staying in the most amazing places and hotels in France!

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today:
- Father’s day Craft at my friend Sharon’s house
- Cleaning the house
- Call my parents and parents-in law in France

Five Snacks I enjoy:- Nutella right from the container with a huge spoon
- Any Summer Fruits
- Saucisson ( dry French Salami)
- All cheeses
- All breads and French Viennoiserie or Patisseries

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

- I will help friends and family providing them comfort and money
- I will help old people without family or friends
- I will have a penthouse in NYC, a villa right on the beach in any Tropical Island, and a Villa in Provence, and one in Basque Country in Ainoa village
- I will hire a personal Chef, a nanny and a housekeeper and a driver I hate driving
- I will travel to Asia, Scandinavia, Mediterranean countries and Africa

- Places I have lived:
Bayonne, France
- Pau, France
- Paris, France
- New York, NY
- La Jolla, CA
- Pacific Beach San Diego CA
- Murrieta, CA

Jobs I have had:

- Air Cargo Assistant
- Export Assistant for a Scandinavian Trucking Company
- Buyer for Shell oil Company
- Owner / CEO Tour Operator Company
- Conduct Cooking Classes – Personal Chef

I tag: -
- Christine from Holy Basil
- Chef JP from The Chef From Hell
- Amy from we are never full
- Re from In food for Love
- Valerie from Aventures Californiennes

A bientot and happy memming!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ode to B comme Bon Blog

You, me, anonymous readers, bloggers pals have your favorite Blogs. Discovering a blog and loving it at the first sight. This is what we love about Blogs.I discovered this Blog B COMME BON few weeks ago.
How a single person can be so talented? She is an amazing cook and she is a professional Designer. I feel cheated. I love cooking, this is one of my passion but how can you become so adventurous in your cooking and design. How do you manage to change your Food Blog into a piece of Art?
The logo is lovely. The name is wonderful. Valerie is really, really talented and she must be a very happy person. Of course this Blog is known among French Foodies Bloggers. I wanted to share this French Blog with you.
Sorry this blog is written in French, but like me you will love it.
A bientot

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Quatre-heure a Midi! Teatime/ snacktime for Lunch

Today Sunday everybody is sick except me. For Lunch I want to do something that everybody will like and enjoy. Furthermore I want my kids do someting different that watching their new videos. Baking! Yes they love baking especially Muffins.
But in our home we bake it from scratch, not from boxes or mix.
When you ask my kids what do you need to bake a cake they know: eggs, flour, sugar... today we add Lemon Zests, Lemon Juice and even fresh Strawberries!
The dough was very good. Usually my husband is the dough taster. And even sick he loved it.
It was fun to do, it was lovely to present and my God it was delicious and light.

Lemon strawberries muffins
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons finely grated Organic lemon peel
2 organic large eggs
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
¼ tsp Baking Powder
½ cup Icing Sugar
½ cup Homemade Strawberries Jam
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1 fresh lemon juice + 2 tablespoons
10 small fresh strawberries diced into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Using electric mixer, beat butter, powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon1 lemon peel in large bowl until blended, then beat until fluffy and pale yellow. Add 2 eggs . Beat in half of flour. Add milk and 1 fresh lemon juice; beat to blend. Beat in remaining flour. Add the diced strawberries.
Bake cupcakes until tester inserted halfway into centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan on rack. Whisk Icing sugar with powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Whisk the Strawberry jam into remaining icing. Spoon over remaining cupcakes. Let stand until icing sets, about 30 minutes. Garnish with 1 strawberry.

I rarely find Muffins with fresh Strawberries, usually they are made with orange, pineaple, bluberrie....Actually Strawberries in Baking are more used " uncooked" that cooked. And this is too bad because the strawberries' flavor is wonderful once cooked. You find Strawberries Tarts, the fruits standing beautifully on the top of the pastry puff or pate brisee. But the truth is that cooked strawberries do not look nice as other fruits: they loose their texture, and their beautiful color. They look old and they do not appeal for your appetite! Voila! pourquoi they are used uncooked to be plumbed and rosy, like summer fruits should be!