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:
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: