Seriously easy-to-make apricot and confectioner's cream Danish pastry. The pastry itself has the richness of laminated dough without all of the work, and the fillings are made in a microwave. Even better, you can make the dough and fillings a couple of days in advance and keep them in the refrigerator.
This bread was rich, buttery, and flakey and filled with the tartness of apricots and the sweetness of confectioner's cream.
Based on the easiness of preparing the ingredients and the tastiness of the finished product, I will be making this one again and again.
While this bread is called a braid, the look is created by cutting the rolled out dough and crossing strips of it over each other. Easy.
This recipe comes from Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America's Best Bakers by Dorie Greenspan.
Danish Braid with Apricot and Confectioner's Cream Filling
1/8 C water
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast (I used SAF Gold)
1/4 C room temperature milk
1/2 large egg, room temperature (How much is half and egg? Whisk the egg and then put it into a measuring cup. Use half.)
1/8 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 C unbleached all purpose flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- Whisk the water, yeast, milk, egg, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Put the flour into the bowl of a food processor with the metal blade. Add the butter and pulse 8 to 10 times, until the butter is cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Add the flour and butter mixture to the yeast mixture, and stir gently with a dough scraper or rubber spatula until just combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight and up to 4 days.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, dust it with flour, and pat it into a square. Roll it into an 8 inch square.
- Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter.
- Roll it and fold it again two more times, wrap it with plastic wrap, and chill it for 30 minutes to 2 days.
1 C heavy cream
1 1/2 T cornstarch
2 T sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
- Using a 1 quart glass measuring cup, whisk the cream, cornstarch, and sugar together.
- Microwave the ingredients for 1 minute. Stir and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes more, one minute at a time until it boils and slightly thickens.
- Mix the egg yolk and vanilla. Add a bit of the hot cream to temper the egg, and then add the egg to the cream mixture. Whisk very well, and then microwave for another 30 seconds. Whisk again. The cream should be thickened.
- Cover the top of the cream with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate up to 3 days.
1 C dried apricots
1 C water
1 C sugar
2 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
- In a 1 quart glass measuring cup, stir the apricots, water, and sugar together.
- Microwave for about 10 minutes, stirring about every 2 to 3 minutes.
- Place the ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.
- Add the lemon juice and extract and pulse.
- Scrape the ingredients into a small container, cool, and refrigerate for up to a week.
To assemble the bread:
All of the pastry dough
Confectioner's Cream filling
One egg white, whisked
Pearl or sparkling sugar
- On a piece of parchment, roll the dough into a 10 by 14 inch rectangle.
- Mark the dough with a knife or dough scraper lengthwise to divide it into thirds. Don't cut all of the way through.
- Place a layer of the apricot filling down the center. You won't use all of the filling.
- Place a layer of the Confectioner's Cream on top of the apricot filling. Again, you will have leftover filling.
- Using a knife, cut each outside third of the dough on a slant to create about 14 strips.
- Fold them alternatively over each other, brush with the egg white, sprinkle with the sugar, and add the almonds.
- Cover with plastic wrap and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Let it rise for about 30 to 40 minutes, remove the plastic wrap, and bake the pastry for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool on a rack.