Taste the World - Denmark - Danish Fruit Braid

*Official name: Kingdom of Denmark *Capital: Copenhagen *Official Languages: Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic, German *Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy *Area: 16,562.1 sq mi* Population: (2016 estimate) 5,707,251 *Currency: Danish Krone (DKK) *Time Zone: CET, CEST (summer) *Drives on the: right *International code: DK (data from Wikipedia)

Danish Fruit Braid

For Denmark, I made a Danish Fruit Braid. A larger version of the classic 'danish'. I made mine with fresh raspberry jam (instructions included). You can use any berry to make your own filling, or use store bought jam to save time. The recipe makes 2 full braids, which each have 6-10 servings. This recipe is so good, it's going to singlehandedly make me gain weight. I can't stop eating it!

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1/4 C water, 110 degrees
  • 2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/2 C milk, room temp.
  • 1 large egg, room templ
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 C unbleached flour
  • 8 oz unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4 inch slices

For the Almond Filling:

  • 1 C blanched almonds
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

For the Berry Jam Filling (or use store bought jam of your choice)

  • 2 C fresh berries, crushed 
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Finishing ingredients:

  • 1 large egg white
  • Raw sugar
  • Sliced Almonds, garnish
  • 2 Tbsp strong coffee (or water)
  • 1 C powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Make the dough: Pour water into a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over, stir in and let soften for 1 minute. 

2. Add milk, egg, sugar and salt. Whisk to mix. Set aside.

3. In a food processor, add flour and butter. pulse until butter is cut into pieces 1/2 inch in diameter.

4. Empty contents of food processor into the bowl with the yeast mixture. Very gently turn the mixture over with a rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are moistened, butter must remain in distinct pieces. Cover bowl and refrigerate until chilled through (5 hours-overnight. Up to 4 days at the most).

5. Lightly flour work surface, and turn the dough out.  Pat into a rough square. Roll out into a 16x16" rectangle.

6. Fold in thirds like a business letter and turn so that the closed fold is on your left. Roll again to 10x24". Fold in thirds again, turn so the closed fold is on your left. Roll a third time into a 20x20" square. Fold the square in thirds and turn so that the closed fold is on your left. Roll a fourth dime into a 10x20" rectangle, fold in thirds again. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes (up to 2 days, can be frozen for 1 month- thaw to refrigerate).

7. Make the almond filling: In a food processor, add almonds, sugar, and butter. Process until almonds are finely ground. Add almond extract and 2 Tbsp of the beaten egg white. Process until mixed. Can be stored in airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week. (must be room temp before using).

8. Make the berry jam filling: Stir berries and sugar together in a saucepan. Cook on medium-low, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed and filling is glossy (45 mins- 1 hour). Stir in lemon juice. Cool to room temperature.

9. Assemble the Danish Braid: Divide the dough in half. Roll each chilled danish dough half on lightly floured surface to a 10x16" rectangle. Lift on to a parchment lined half sheet pan.  Spread some of the fruit filling down the middle third of the dough. Top with some of the almond filling.

10. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut 10-14 slanting lines down each side angling cuts from the center to the edge and cutting strips about 3/4 inch wide. fold strips of pastry to the center, crisscrossing the filling by alternating strips from each side. Lightly press ends to seal and run your hands along the sides of the pastry to straighten.

11. Brush with egg white, sprinkle with raw sugar and almonds. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until it looks and feels puffy, about 30 minutes.

12. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake in center of oven for 15-20 minutes until golden. 

13. Cool slightly. Stir coffee (or water) and powdered sugar together to produce a smooth shiny glaze. Drizzle over the cooked braid. Allow to set. Slice and serve!