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.