Danish Braid with Ricotta and Sour Cherries Filling

Danish Braid 8

It was really a lot of work to prepare this Danish braid, but the effort was really worth.

I began this challenge the day in advance folding and chilling this wonderful dough following the recipe “Danish Braid” from Sherry Yard’s in The Secrets of Baking.

Finally the folded dough was in the refrigerator and I still had to take the decision what kind of filling I will take. Too late for such a decision, we went sleep.

In the morning as I was checking the fridge for some inspiration, I saw ricotta and a half pot of our sour cherries jam. This is the solution. The big problem was the jam because it was really thin. For this reason I used the ricotta as a wall to prevent floating away this precious juice. I decided to prepare only one big braid instead of two.

For the glaze I used powdered sugar with the addition of a small quantity of thick plain yogurt.

Danish Dough

Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough or one 1 pound 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

Detrempe:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
The Butter Block:
  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.

Filling, Proofing, Baking

  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sour cherries jam
  1. Combine ricotta, cornstarch sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Roll out the dough to a rectangle of about 20 to 18 inches (50 to 40 cm) on a baking paper sheet.
  3. Using a pizza cutter make cuts as shown in the photo. I used the leftovers to prepare two cute rolls (see photo).
  4. Place the ricotta filling in order to make walls and fill the jam in the center
  5. Braid as shown in the photos.
  6. Let rise until doubled for about two hours
  7. Bake in the preheated oven at 350°F/180°C for about 25-30 minutes (rotate once after the first 10 minutes) or until light brown.  I used a fan forced oven.

Clear Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water, hot
  1. While the braid is in the oven melt sugar with water.
  2. When the braid is done, take out of the oven and brush immediately the glaze.

White Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon plain yogurt
  1. Stir powdered sugar and plain yogurt together until smooth but still thick (add more powdered sugar if necessary).
  2. When the braid is still warm but not hot, place glaze in a small bag, close it tight (knot) and cut off an edge. Drip glaze over the braid.
  3. Enjoy your braid with your family or friends!

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