Having moved to Bombay I have begun to appreciate good tea and embrace it as a post-afternoon practice. For someone who has sworn by coffee at least three times a day, it is quite a big deal, but I believe in using what is best available and good coffee is not something you find in every other place here. Well, when I say good, I mean the waft of freshly ground coffee beans emanating from a tiny coffee mill that makes passersby to stop and walk in.
While I still stick to my coffee mornings, I have always been fascinated by the ‘tea time’ practice. More than tea, it is about the little elements that go along with tea drinking, it’s just pretty – even as a child I had a miniature tea set, of porcelain kettles, tea cups and saucers. I would diligently fill my kettle with water, pour it into the tea cups and serve it to my friends. And now, I just love the idea of reading a book, while drinking tea with my favourite slice of cake or something like this Danish braid, filled with jammy goodness 🙂
A Danish pastry is puff pastry’s cousin, well a relatively easier one. It is versatile and the only trick to master here is the laborious ‘rolling and folding’.
For the Danish dough
- 2 tbsp warm water (105-115 C)
- 1 1/4 tsp dry yeast
- 1/4 cup milk, room temperature
- 1/2 an egg, beaten, room temperature
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 113 g unsalted butter, chilled
For the filling
- 50 g apricot jam (or any other preserve that you like)
- 50 g pastry cream (https://doughmydear.wordpress.com/tag/pastry-cream/)
For the coffee glaze
- 3 tbsp strong coffee decoction
- 2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
- In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, sugar, salt, milk and egg. Give it a stir and set aside.
- Have the butter very cold and using a butter knife of a pastry cutter, cut the butter into sizable chunks (about 1/4″ squares).
- Combine the butter and the flour in a food processor and blitz it 7-8 times and no more. You can also do this by hand, by roughly combining the flour with butter without mashing the butter. They should still be visible.
- Add the flour-butter mixture into the yeast mixture. Combine till the liquid has been absorbed. Do not over mix. Wrap a cling film over the bowl and refrigerate the dough overnight, up to 48 hrs.
- Once the dough has been chilled overnight, scrap it out of the bowl and place it on a work surface dusted with flour.
- Pat the dough into a rough square. Dust your rolling pin with flour and start rolling from the centre up and down, to form a 16″ inch square. Fold it in thirds (like an envelope) and turn it around so that the closed end of the dough is to your left (like a spine of a book).
- Roll the dough again into a long rectangle 10X24″. Fold it in thirds again and turn it around so that the closed end of the dough is to your left. Have the work surface and rolling pin dusted at all times. If at any time the butter becomes soft and sticky and the butter melts, refrigerate it.
- Repeat rolling the dough into a long rectangle 10X24″ again. Fold it in thirds and refrigerate it till using.
- For the Danish braid, roll the refrigerated dough into a rectangle of 10X16″. Place the dough on a parchment paper. Using a pastry cutter or a pizza cutter, cut strips along both the sides of the dough, leaving a passage in the middle.
- Spread the passage of the dough with apricot preserve filling. Add the pastry cream on top.
- Now, brush the strips with egg white. Start tying the cut strips facing each other together to form a braid.
- Lift the parchment paper, place it on a baking tray and cover with a tea towel. Allow to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- After 30 minutes, brush the braid with a beaten egg white. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the danish braid is golden brown colour.
- Meanwhile, for the coffee glaze, sift the icing sugar into the coffee decoction. Warm it in a sauce pan till the mixture becomes sticky and thick.
- Once the danish braid has been baked, allow it to cool on the cooling wrack for 30 minutes. Then, brush it with the coffee glaze and sprinkle flaked almonds on top. Serve it warm.