For my first Daring Baker's Challenge we were given the Danish Braid from that Famously Famous Pastry Chef Sherry Yard of the Spago and Wolfgang Puck family. You know how when you go into a French Patisserie and smell that wonderful smell, and you think your nose is having orgasm's? Well that is how my house smelled for the first week of June. We are talking olfactory climaxes all over the place kids. But I digress.
- The Danish Braid is a Beurrage-laminated detrempe, or simply put; a layered with butter yeast-dough. That is where you roll and turn (fold) the dough with specific layers of butter in between. It is a process that should result with a baked braid with the texture resembling that of a Challah bread and a Croissant in one; according to pastry chef Nick Malgieri. Not too flaky and not too yeasty. This was the hardest part of the challenge for me. I almost needed a diagram to turning and rolling.
- The Sherry Yard recipe was chosen because of her philosophy that if we learn basic techniques, we can build upon them and create even more recipes. True, I would never have attempted this recipe on my own. But I will post later on one other creation that came from this one recipe.
- Strict temperatures in rising were necessary, certain strokes with the rolling pin were recommended, the dough had to rest between turns and it was expensive to do. It called for vanilla beans. Mine were pricey coming in at about 19.00 for two pods. Luckily I had the cardamom on hand and, that saved me about 15.00.
- We were allowed to use our choice of filling. I used Sherry Yard's recommended apple filling because, I like to follow a recipe exactly to the tee the first time I make it. I want to taste the food exactly like the author intended. I also felt apples would not overpower the cardamom and orange flavoring of the delicate pastry. However I did use my own raspberry freezer jam, and almond icing on the second and third braids I made.
That all being said kids, it was a great learning experience for this old chicken, bird, hen whatever. I lament the 6 pounds I gained that week. No kidding.. at the Weight Watchers weigh in I was up 6 freaky-deaky pounds!!! This was really good, but seriously it was NOT worth 6 pounds. I guess I shouldn't have eaten half of a braid all by myself.
The recipe is really long and it took me four pages to print it out so if you want the recipe, leave a comment and I will email it to you.
Lookie, the cookies I made with the extra dough! Palmiers extraordinaire!