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Apple Cinnamon Danish Braid

Posted Dec 09 2011 10:31pm
Truth be told, I've been eating apple cinnamon danish braid for three days straight. Honestly, I wanted to perfect this mighty dessert before I shared my successes and failures. On my first attempt, you could say that I acted a bit overzealous. Instead of saving half of my dough for a rainy day, I made one giant danish pasty. I filled it will apples to the brim, until they were spilling out everywhere. I was left with a juicy mess, and a half-baked piece of pastry. 

Being the amateur Danish pastry chef that I am, I hadn't the slightest inclination on how to pull this recipe together. On my first attempt, I neither browned my butter, nor cooked my apples. I was left with  a giant pastry filed with crunchy apples - not the texture I was looking for. Without cooking the apples, I didn't have a chance to boil off the excess juices, which added to my giant soggy mess. I made my glaze too watery, leaving plenty of room for it to completely slide off the outer crust. Let me just say, I was feeling discouraged. 
Luckily, my second attempt was magical and the third spectacular. I was quite pleased with my results. I'd been planning to make a Danish pastry for years, but unfortunately that thought was placed on the back burned, and had slowly drifted into a bottomless abyss.

Last week, I had been perusing the local grocer, during some well deserved spare time. Hunger pangs left me feeling uneasy, and I soon found myself heading towards the bakery. Funny enough, hunger pangs in the grocery store always subconsciously send me directly to the bakery. This is where I found a mouth watery Danish braid. At that moment I knew I had to replicate this beast. The challenge was mine.
I made my away around the store in a hunger pang coma trying to round up my ingredients, while grabbing a fair share of frivolous items on the way. When I say frivolous, I'm not talking about one giant box of goldfish crackers, or a weeks supply of kinder surprise eggs. And when I say round up my ingredients, I meant that I grabbed a few apples.
I had my mind set on adapting a recipe from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan, because I figured that my lack of Danish pastry experience would be balanced out with the guidance from a baking master. 
I'm gonna tell you straight up, you will need 2 days to complete this recipe. The first day is all about the pastry. You will need to proof some yeast. Mix in some milk, sugar, salt, and eggs. Cut some butter into some flour, and then mix everything together. 
Next you will need to roll out the dough. Roll it into a long rectangle, and have some flour on hand to prevent dough stickage. Once you have your rectangle, fold it like a letter. Place the letter short side facing up. Roll it out again, and repeat the process a total of three times. Cut it in half, wrap in Saran, and place in the fridge overnight. 
Day 2 - pour yourself a cup of coffee, then slice some apples, brown some butter, cook the apples in the butter with flour, cinnamon, and sugar until nice and soft. Let the mixture cool, have a shower, read some news. Do what you do best. 
Then, grab your piece of pastry and roll it out into a 9 x 13 inch rectangle. Next you will need to clean it up. Make it look fancy like the diagram below.
Finally, cut some braid strips and then braid that pastry like you mean it - this is the fun part. Put it in the oven and bake. Once it's baked, mix up some sugar glaze, drizzle it on top and sprinkle some powdered sugar.
Eat your Danish pastry warm with a slice of cheddar cheese, because really, it's the only way.

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