So this is my second daring bakers challenge, and I have to say... I liked it! I thought MAKING it was the OKAY part... but the eating was way better! This is a yeast danish dough, and having made it, I am pretty sure all the danishes I have had have been made with puff pastry! WTF? I thought the finished danish was a good, homey treat that may not have been entirely worth the trouble. I can think of about 1000 shortcuts and getting the same result. It was good to do though, I have never made a laminated dough before. The apricot one was my fave and I didn't even the chocolate one (yes, a baker with an aversion to chocolate). Whatev... I am in a little time crunch right now, so I cant type a a bunch of clever stuff... but here's my post! I may add more later...
Danish Recipe via Daring Bakers (with my changes made)
-- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
-- 1/2 cup 1% milk
-- 1/3 cup sugar
-- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-- 2 large eggs, chilled
-- 1 teaspoon salt
-- 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-- Bloom yeast in milk. Slowly add sugar, vanilla extract, salt and eggs. Mix well. Add sifted flour in 1/2 cup at a time, until dough forms. Knead dough on floured surface for about 5 mins.
BEURRAGE (butter block)
-- 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter (organic)
-- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-- Combine butter and flour in a bowl and beat until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
--- 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.
--- 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.
--- 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.
Apricot filling: quarter fresh apricots and cook with a little sugar and water until soft and jam-like, cool then spread into braid.
Raspberry-cheese filling: add 2 T sugar to a block of cream cheese and combine. Spread raspberry jam onto braid, then dot with cream cheese mix.
Chocolate: make chocolate pastry cream, with extra sugar, and fill braid with that.
ASSEMBLE BRAID (2 braids)
-- 1 recipe Danish Dough
-- 2 cups filling
-- Egg wash: large egg, plus 1 yolk
--- 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.
--- 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.
--- Spoon the filling you’ve chosen 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. 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.
--- Proof for 90 mins at 90F. Brush on egg wash. Bake at 400 degrees F 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. I glazed it with a powdered suagr and milk glaze...
Here's the braid after it bakes. The apricot was my fave, hands down!