Rosemary Apple Braid

I made this easy apple danish for a friend’s baby shower at the office today.  It’s a great choice for special occasions because the pretty presentation and sophisticated rosemary apple filling will make you seem like a gourmet chef!  Local box favorites Golden Apples from Apple Country Orchards and Rosemary from Pure Luck Farms are the rock stars of this recipe.

Although the braid looks tricky, it’s actually one of the easiest pastry shapes to master. This recipe is adapted from Dorothea Ladd’s Easy Apple Danish on Allrecipes.com.  I used a food processor and chose the braid shape to save time; my grandmother might argue that this simplified pastry dough is not a true danish since it’s not laminated, but it passes  my family’s taste test for sure.

Rosemary Apple Dutch Braid

Dough
1 (.25 ounce) packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110-120 degrees)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold butter (no substitutes)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk (110-120 degrees)
2 eggs, beaten
Egg wash: 1 egg yolk, beaten, set aside

Filling
3 cups peeled, chopped apples
3/4 cups chopped pecans
2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons melted butter

Glaze
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon apple juice

Method: In a small bowl dissolve yeast in warm water.  In a food processor, cut together cold butter, flour and sugar. For most food processors, you will need to do this in two batches.  (If you don’t have a food processor, a pastry cutter or two forks will do the job.) Process flour and butter until mixture resembles crumbly, damp sand. Move flour and butter to a large bowl and add sugar. Stir in the yeast mixture, warm milk, and beaten eggs by hand. Knead the dough in the bowl with a spatula until it is elastic and well combined, about 3 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate at least two hours.

While dough rests, prepare the filling.  Chop apples, rosemary, and pecan. Combine the apples, rosemary, sugar, melted butter, and pecan pieces; set aside.

Cover two 15-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat  and set near your workstation. Punch down dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide dough in half, set one half aside.  Roll dough into an 15 by 12 inch rectangle.  Transfer dough to prepared cookie sheet by gently rolling dough onto the rolling pin, moving to cookie sheet and gently unrolling onto the parchment paper.

Place half of filling longways along the middle of the dough, to within a half inch of either end.  Use scissors to cut dough into one inch strips along either side of filling, then fold alternating strips towards the middle of the loaf to create a braid effect.  Repeat the roll/tranfer/fill/braid process with the other piece of dough.  Set both braids aside to rest for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the braids with egg wash.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow braid to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before moving entire loaf and parchment paper to a wire rack to complete cooling.  Prepare glaze by sifting powdered sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in milk and apple juice, and drizzle glaze over top of cooling pastries.  Each loaf yields about 15 slices.

This post is by The Austin Gastronomist and also appears on her blog.

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