Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daring Baker Challenge for June!

Danish Braid with marscapone cheese and mixed berries!

Wow...this was a tough one on me. I think with the amount of time it took, having the girls home with me, getting ready for vacation I probably should have bowed out but that wouldn't make me a Daring Baker now would it??? I also think I probably should have stepped away from the bottle of wine before it was empty...this did not help me at all!!!

The Daring Bakers are a group of people who unite once a month over a common recipe chosen by the hosts. This month the challenge was co-hosted by Ben from What's Cooking? And Kelly from Sass & Veracity! Thanks so much Kelly and Ben!!!

The recipe that they chose for this challenge was a Danish Braid from Sherry Yard's The Secret of Baking.

I followed this recipe for everything but I had no apples so I modified my filling. I used marscapone cheese (8 oz mixed with 1/4 cup of sugar) and mixed berries (3 cups of raspberry, blueberry and blackberry cooked with 1/4 cup of sugar and 3 Tbsp of corn starch).


Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes enough for two braids

4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

Would I make this again? I really hate to say this but with all of the incredible bakeries and pastry shops in the world I would never again want to spend a whole day doing this! The smell was incredible and it tasted amazing but it was very time consuming. The end of the recipe also was a little fuzzy to me (not just because of the wine???!!!). It didn't really tell me to proof the dough on what I would be baking it on so I had to move it after it was filled and that was real messy. I also used the whole recipe of dough on one braid. It didn't really distinguish that it was 2 braids. Regardless as I said it was an incredible tasting treat and I am so glad that I tried it.

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!



allaboutattitude said...

looks so delicious

William Wren said...

thaks very much for your recipies

Dharm said...

Your'e right about time being a challenge! Your braid looks just great and the filling choice is super!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful braid! I like your filling choice, too.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm... I'll bet your filling was amazing!

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Thanks allaboutattitude!

Your welcome William Wren!

Hi Dharm-The time was the biggest challenge!

Hi Ann-Thanks it was delicious!

Thanks Culinography!

Thistlemoon said...

You did an awesome job Judy! I think your filling sounds incredibly yummy! I am amazed every time at how well and beautifully you do these challenges, especially with all the distractions you have around you! :)

Anonymous said...

Lovely job on this challenge! I'm with you on not making this at home again... just toooooooo time consuming!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I'm with you Judy, I used up the whole dough too, I didn't get that part. But congrats to you, it looks great and of course I love the filling!!

amuse me said...

Great looking - will be trying this recipe, along with, probably, a bit of wine!

glamah16 said...

Love your fillings here. Yours turned out perfect.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful job, looks so yummy!! I miss the danish!!

Leslie said...

WOW..great job..your looked like it had the perfect amout of filling in in. Mine lacked in that department! Tanks for stopping by my blog....come back anytime

Anonymous said...

Oh mascarpone does sound good...

Delicious looking work!

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Oh Jenn! I guess that's what makes it such a challenge. Thank goodness it's only once a month!!! Thanks for the support!

Hi Candace-Way too much time!

Hi Proud Italian Cook - The filling was great!

Hi Meryl-be sure to have the wine!!!

Thanks glamah!

Thanks madcapcupcake!

Leslie-Mine had a ton of filling what with the cheese and the berries!!!

Hi momquixote - The mascarpone was delicious!

Michelle said...

Looks great and I love mascarpone!!!

Anonymous said...

Loved your Danish! Beautiful job!


yum.....sounds great!!

test it comm said...

Nice looking danish braid! I like the sound of the marscapone cheese and berry filling.

KID MAJA said...

woooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwww.....i want one

Jenny said...

Really beautiful, I love the sound of mascarpone and berries!

Anne Coleman said...

Judy, it's PERFECT! I almost bowed out, too, but I had already missed for May. Life is so crazy here. Anyhoo, I almost felt like I was cheating, but it was fun anyway!

Anonymous said...

haha i agree about the wine, it defiantly helped me get through. Love your filling choice! Looks great!

Kristen said...

What a beautiful braid, I love the picture. The marscapone cheese with it sounds delicious! Great Job!

maybelles mom said...

marscapone sounds brill. good job.

High Power Rocketry said...

Boy these things are good looking.

Anna said...

Well, it looks fantastic! But I think it's out of my league since my cooking ability is pretty much at the novice level. I'd love to have someone make it for me, though!

Anonymous said...

Mmm... your filling sounds so yummy! Great job!

Anonymous said...

mmmm now im hungry, i stumbled on your site, i hope we can do a link exchange, if you want to link me and cbox me back or email me or post as i read my comments.

Tarah at Genesis of a Cook said...

Oh wow! That filling looks amazing! Great job on the braid!

Lucy..♥ said...

WOW! the filling sounds wonderful, love the marscapone cheese addition!!

fgfg said...

I am deffiantly going to try some of these.

Danni said...

Dang, woman....33 comments??!
This was a funny post...a little wine will certainly loosen one up in the kitchen, won't it? :-)

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Thanks Michelle - Mascarpone is great for baking!

Thanks Farida - It's one of my faves now too!

Hey Ben - Wine makes it all better!!! The filling was delicious!!!

Thanks Sandy Dog Bakery!

Thank you Kevin!

Kid Maja - Make one!

Thanks Jenny!

Hi Anne-You had such an advantage how could you not do it???!!!

Hi Lorrie - The wine is always helpful isn't it?

Hi Kristen-it really was a good combo!

Thanks maybelles parents!

Thanks R2K!

Hi Anna - That's the great thing about the Daring Bakers. The recipes are simple to follow and you have a ton of support through the forum!

Thank you onespicymama!

Thanks peanutbuttertoes!

Thanks Tarah!

Thanks Lucy!

Hi fgfg-great idea!!!

Hey Danni-I am on the blogger home page as Blog Of Note!!! The wine makes the kitchen grand!!!

Anonymous said...

I really love your choice of fillings. I wish I would have thought to use mascarpone cheese.

By the way, I tagged you for a meme. If you wanna play, just click on over to my blog!

Jose said...

Looks yummy

Y said...

Well I've always thought a little wine goes well with all sorts of cooking ;)

Susan @ SGCC said...

Mmmmm! Mascarpone and berries! That is an awesome combination! Your braids look fabulous! Great job!

Jen Yu said...

mmmmm, what a lovely looking braid! that slice is mouth-watering :) great job on your challenge!

Anonymous said...


Miss Ifi said...

wow... berries and mascarpone cheese.. sooooo delicious sounding!!
Congratulations on your challenge!!!

Anonymous said...

Great job on your challenge!

Dolores said...

It's sometimes a bit of a surprise where the "challenge" in each month's assignment actually comes from, isn't it. I've made a mental note not to mix wine and danish pastry. :)

Great job!

Unknown said...

With mixed berries? Looks delicious!