Making Danish, Part II

More specifically, I’m going to show you how to make a braided filled danish.

As I said in the previous danish post, danish dough is super versatile and can be filled and folded in multiple ways. My favorite and most frequently used application of the dough is the braided form, filled with whatever jam, cheese, or combination thereof I have on hand. Today’s pictures are using a strawberry basil jam I made recently, which worked beautifully.

To do this, you will need a danish dough prepped and ready to go – again, see Danish Dough, Part I to get the recipe. The next step involves a bit more rolling, some cutting, filling, braiding, and baking.

Braided Filled Danish Pastry

You will need:

  • 1 recipe Basic Danish Pastry (see above)
  • 1 cup jam or other filling (sweetened cream cheese, marzipan mixed with softened butter, etc.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • pearl sugar (optional)
  • sugar icing glaze (optional – recipe follows)

Directions:

Step 1: Cut dough square into two even pieces, like so:

Step 2: Roll out each piece into a flat, oblong rectangle/oval, about 12 inches in length, like so:

Step 3: Place each dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Spread half of the jam down the middle of each dough, making sure to leave a couple of inches of space on both sides and an inch or so at the top and bottom:

Step 4: Using a bench scraper, fluted pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or knife, cut 1-inch strips into both sides of the dough, being careful not to cut into where you spread the jam (otherwise, the jam will leak out during baking). Make sure you also cut the same number of strips for both sides. The strips should be angled slightly downward, like so:

Notice that I leave the bottom pretty wide, but easy to fold up at the end.

Step 5: (And this part may take some practice – don’t get frustrated if you don’t get it the first time!) Alternating between sides, fold the strips over each other so that the filling is covered by the dough, like you’re “braiding” the dough.

Make sure you’re overlapping, like so.

When you come to the end, fold the last strip/flap of dough over the top, and pinch the top of the dough closed with your fingers. Repeat with second dough.

Ta-da!
Double ta-da!

Step 6: Allow the danish to sit for about 15-30 minutes, until the dough appears puffy (not doubled). Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F during the interval.

Step 7: Mix together the egg and milk to make an eggwash. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the exterior of the braided danish with the eggwash. Sprinkle with pearl sugar, if you like. I’ve also used demerara sugar when I don’t have pearl sugar.

Step 8: Bake danish for about 15 minutes, rotating once during baking. If you’re using more than one baking sheet, make sure to rotate the pans on the racks, as well. Allow to cool on the pans resting on a wire rack.

It’s a beautiful thing.

When the pastry has cooled, you can also drizzle it with simple sugar glazes made from powdered sugar and water or your liqueur of choice (amaretto is always a good choice, in my opinion).

Simple Sugar Icing Glaze for Pastry

You will need:

  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp extract of choice or liqueur
  • 1-2 tbsp milk or water

Directions:

  1. Whisk powdered sugar, liqueur, and 1 tbsp of the milk or water together in a small bowl until a thin paste forms. If the icing is too thick for your taste, add more milk or water. Drizzle onto pastries as desired.

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