Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daring Bakers - Danish Braid



Today, you will see Danish braid posts popping up like daisies in a field all over the blogosphere. It's not a case of ESP or mere coincidence - it's the June Daring bakers Challenge! This month's challenge is co-hosted by Kellypea and Ben.

Once again, this one at first seemed like a mountain that I had never dreamed that I could conquer. I've never made a laminated dough before, and if I had ever been asked to make Danish, I would have asked for help from Mr Pampas in the freezer section of my supermarket. I also read with dread some of the mishaps that befell other Daring Bakers this month, and doubted that I could do this. Ha, ha! Proved wrong again. The results surpassed my expectations, and I ended up with two Danish braids that I am proud of.

Here is a photo of my dough after being cut in half, which shows the wonderful layers that I never noticed during the rolling process (because the end of the dough are rolled completely flat):



My dough was made by hand, as I managed to entangle the dough hooks on my mixer and I now can't untangle them. (Although courtesy of a department store gift voucher awarded to me by my work, I now have a brand spanking new Kitchenaid sitting in a box in my spare room, just waiting to be unleashed. I will need it, as beating the cold butter for this challenge finished off the beaters of my old standmixer, which were already battered from the cheesecake pops.)


I made two braids - one was apricot with vanilla pastry cream, and the other was apple and almond filling. The vanilla pastry cream recipe that I used is here, and the almond filling recipe is here. You need to use this almond filling while it is still warm, as it sets rather firmly - I had to reheat it before use because it was too firm to spread over the base of the Danish. I thought that I would enjoy the apricot custard filling the most, but funnily enough, it was the apple almond filling that won my vote.

Here is my apricot custard Danish being braided:



I had to take out half of the apricots, as the filling was too much for the braid.

Here are the braids just before proofing - the one on the left is the apple almond braid which I made after I'd practised on the apricot custard braid, and as you can see, it is a lot neater:



Regardless, both braids baked up nicely - the apricot is on the left, and the apple is on the right. You can't tell that the apricot one was a little untidy before baking.
























Below is a cross section of each Danish after it was cut to reveal the filling:


















With the leftover dough, I made some mini Danish - the top one is apple and custard, the right hand one is apricot custard and the left one is almond:



I was really pleased with this challenge. The end result exceeded my expectations, and tasted delicious.

Thanks to Kellypea and Ben for their challenge selection this month. You can check out the recipe on either Kellypea's or Ben's site, and the Danish braids made by other Daring Bakers here.


43 comments:

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

Your braid turned out wonderfully!!! Great job!

Molly Loves Paris said...

Your braids and pastries look fabulous.

Dolores said...

I contemplated apricot before deciding to go savory. I love the sunny sweetness yours impart, especially in the individual pastries.

littlem said...

Oh these look yummy

Medhaa said...

Wow, lovely braids. Love the color.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your braids look beautiful and delicious! I love apricots...

Cheers,

Rosa

coco said...

I can almost imagine having some of that custard and apricot danish :D

Ann said...

Ooh... apricot filling! Great idea and lovely braids!

Rachel@fairycakeheaven said...

ooo apricots gorgeous!!! this looks fantastic!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Your dough looks so, so flaky - wonderful job! Love the sound of the almond one!

giz said...

I love the apricot filling and your braids are go-jus :). When I make this braid again, and I will, I'm deifnitely trying an apricot filling.

Aran said...

gorgeous braid as well and I love the apricots as the filling!

Dana McCauley said...

You chose one of my favorite combos. I bet the apricots and the cardamom were very delicious!

Maryann said...

Lovely! :)

Angela said...

Your braids look beautiful!

Lauren said...

Yum. The apricots look amazing. Your braid is beautiful as well.

Jyotsna said...

Your braids look very nice :) I wish mine looked as nice as yours!! And apricot and pastry cream sounds delicious!!

Aparna said...

I think your braids look cute. And the smaller ones look delicious.
And didn't they taste heavenly?

zorra said...

Yummie, I will test your almond apple filling soon.

Mary said...

Yum! I love apricots! And your braid looks so pretty!

Tiffany said...

Your filling choices sound fabulous and they both turned out so pretty! Good job!

Cakespy said...

Oooh, nice use of the extra dough!! They look killer!! Of course, so does the centerpiece braid. Yum!

rainbowbrown said...

What a fabulous golden color your braids have. I love the look of the apricots.

Amy said...

Your braids look wonderful! I love what you did with the little pastries.

Tammy said...

Your braid looks fabulous!!!! You managed to plait it really well - I didnt do so well with mine!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Apricots, yummy! Sure it tasted delicious!

Andreia Sousa said...

Your braid and little pastries look lovely and yummy. Congrats!

Morven said...

Wow - you did a really good job. Apricot is my favourite flavour for a danish pastry. YUM.

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Sometimes it's nice to be proved wrong. Great braids!

Rachel said...

I love your danishes..the apricots sound yummy!!!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Your braids and your minis all looks great! Well done! I used apricot in mine too.

I was nervous about making this too, but it turned out to be much easier than I thought.

PAT A BAKE said...

Lovely..they look so golden and flaky. Well done.

Half Baked said...

Nice job! Your braids look so flaky. I love the apricot almond yummm

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Oooh that looks great. Am glad you enjoyed this challenge. I did too...probably enjoyed this one the most to date! Love your choice of filling...YUM!!

Beth said...

The layering of fat and dough in your prebaked product is textbook!

Angel said...

I also was having my first time with danish dough. Yours turned out so lovely! I think the filling looks delicious!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Apricot and custard sounds absolutely AWESOME!

Renee said...

Your braids look fabulous. I love the apricots - great idea.

Susie Homemaker said...

oooh, apricot! great idea! and your braids are gorgeous!
-Susan of http://doughmesstic.blogspot.com

Y said...

Ooh.. a new kitchenaid! Can't wait to see the amazing things you'll be churning out with that baby! Lovely danishes, by the way. I kind of wish I braided mine tighter now.

breadchick said...

Nothing like a new mixer! And nicely done on the challenge this month!

Ben said...

Great job, I am loving all your pics. Thank you for baking with us :)

Claire said...

Mmm, mmm, mmm! These look great!