Apple Filled Danish
“Rest is good after the work is done.”
Who said that apples can only be enjoyed in the fall? These danishes are filled with apples and spices, a perfect combination for a breakfast treat, or as a dessert. The dough has orange zest kneading into it, lifting the flavors of the spices. The filling has lemon juice, which pairs well with pieces of apple and apple juice, making this danish delectable. This pastry takes some time to make, but the payoff is worth it.
It is best to make the dough a day in advance so that it has time to rest in the fridge. Before that, it is important to get layers of dough and butter. By flattening the butter and folding it within the dough layers of butter will melt and expand the dough in the oven, creating a fluffy interior.
In order to achieve multiple layers repeating the folding and turning process is important. By folding the dough as if folding a letter, and rolling the dough out again, will create multiple layers of butter, dough, butter, and dough. Resting in between the processes of turns allows the butter to firm up, so it won’t melt and leak out when rolling out the dough. Finally letting the dough complete its rise in the fridge overnight will ensure the danishes will be a hearty size.
Shaping the danishes is the final step in making these pastries. By putting the filling in the middle and cutting strips along the sides a beautiful pattern can be made by crossing over the strips around the filling. After all the resting and shaping of the dough, the danishes don’t take a long time to bake. After all the work into making these beauties, it's worth it to sit back and enjoy them.
Recipe inspired from Bake from Scratch by Brian Hart Hofman
Ingredients for Dough
1 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 ½ cups flour
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1 Tablespoon salt
3 large eggs
1 ¾ cups unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for Filling
1 cup apple juice
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 and ½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored, and diced (small)
Ingredients for Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons water
Start by making the dough: Heat the whole milk in a small saucepan to 105 degrees to 110 degrees. (Note: do not heat over 110 degrees to ensure the yeast will not be killed.)
Place the warm milk into a small bowl, then put the yeast on top. Let it stand for 7-10 minutes or until the mixture is foamy. Do not stir to combine milk and yeast.
In a medium bowl with a stand mixer use a dough hook to combine flour, sugar, butter, zest, and salt. Add the yeast mixture and eggs until combined.
Put dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth ball forms.
Wrap dough and refrigerate for 2 hours.
After the dough is put in the fridge to chill, begin making the butter block: with a paddle attachment of a stand mixer beat butter, flour, and salt until creamy and well combined.
Turn out butter on a piece of parchment then place another piece of parchment on top. Roll out and shape the butter into a 12x10 in” rectangle. Wrap the butter block tightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After the dough and butter block have rested laminate the dough: Remove both butter block and dough from the fridge and let them stand for 10 minutes, or until the butter block becomes pliable.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into an 18x10 in” rectangle. Then place butter block toward the bottom edge of the dough, ensuring there is about one-third of dough not covered by the block.
Fold the dough with the butter block into thirds (letter style) and roll out again. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold into thirds again (letter style). Wrap the dough and refrigerate for one hour.
Repeat this process twice, being sure to refrigerate for one hour in between turns. After three full turns refrigerate overnight.
The next day prepares the filling: Combine ¾ cup of apple juice, sugar, brown sugar, spices, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat.
In a small bowl whisk cornstarch and ¼ cup of apple juice, then add this mixture to the saucepan. Whisk for about 6-8 minutes or until well combined and the mixture thickens.
Stir in the apples. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the filling thickens, stirring frequently. Let the filling cool at room temperature and then refrigerate for 2 hours.
After the filling has cooled prepare the pastries: Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to create a rectangle about 16x12 in”.
Use a pizza wheel and ruler to cut 12 squares that are 4 in”, then mark ½ in” column down the center of each square. Then use the pizza wheel again and cut ¼ in” wide strips on both sides of the column.
Spread 2 teaspoons of the filling down each column (Note: not all the filling will be used). Fold dough strips over the filling diagonally, from top to bottom, alternating left and right. Pinch the ends together at top and bottom
Place on a prepared pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let stand for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the braids with a beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar and water. Allow to cool before putting the glaze on top. Drizzle the glaze generously over the top of the pastries and serve.