Underneath those braided layers lays a ginger frangipane with a chocolate swirl. Not even Rapunzel had a braid like this one!
Ben and Kelly were our wonderful hosts and they did a great job choosing this challenge. Danish pastry is such a nice thing for everyone to try at least once and I'm sure that even the ones that would not have dreamed of doing this in a million years were very pleased and proud with their braid! So thank you Ben and Kelly!
Adapted from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking (for 2 braids)
- 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 saltFor the butter block
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
I'ts time for that filling...
- Ginger pastry cream
- 125 ml milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 30 gr (1 oz) sugar
- 15 gr (0.5 oz) corn starch
- 15 gr (0.5 oz) butter
- 1 piece fresh ginger (about 80 gr/2.8 oz)
Peel and cut the ginger into chunks and add to the milk. Let the milk come to a boil and leave to infuse the ginger for at least 30m (but you can do this up to 1 day in advance). Mix with a wisk with the yolk, corn starch and sugar, bring again the milk to almost boiling point and add little by little to the yolk mixture. Return everything to the heat and mixing allways with a wisk let it come to a full boil and thicken for 1-2 minutes. Take out of the stove, discard the ginger and add the butter in chuncks. Mix until the butter is melted and well mixed in and cover with plastic wrap to avoid a skin. Let cool completely before adding to the frangipane.
- 100 gr (3.5 oz) butter
- 100 gr (3.5 oz) icing sugar
- 100 gr (3.5 oz) almond meal
- 1 egg
- 50 gr (1.8 oz) corn starch
- 60 gr (2 oz) ginger pastry cream
Beat the sugar, butter (softened), almond meal and corn starch. Add the egg and beat more until incorporated. Mix in the pastry cream with a spatula or wooden spoon. Keep in the fridge until it's time to use.
- Chocolate swirl
- 100 gr (3.5 oz) dark chocolate
- 2-3 tbsp cream
Cut the chocolate into small pieces (or use chips) Take 1 minute to the microwave with the cream. Mix until all the chocolate is melted and you have a nice uniform and shiny cream. If not there yet take 10 sec. more to the microwave or more if you need.
Let's put everything together now:
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. 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.
Spoon the frangipane down the center of the rectangle, put the chocolate cream over it and swirl. 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.
Grease 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. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F ( 200 ºC). Position a rack in the center of the oven. 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 (180ºC), 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.
And look what I did with the leftover chocolate cream and some of the scraps of the dough:
Pan au chocolat
And with the rest of the scraps, leftover pastry cream, fresh pinapple and pisctachios:
Pineapple filled carrée pasty
"Rapunzel let down your braid, I wanna eat it"
The dough tasted amazing I had to forbid myself to eat it raw. I mean with vanilla, orange and cardamom, how could it not tasted great? I also liked my filling, I'm a sucker for frangipane and the chocolate swirl was a nice touch I think. But my favourite was the little filled carrée pastries, they were so cute and the pineapple made them so fresh.
So if you're filling like seeing more than 1000 braids check my fellow Daring Bakers! See you next month!