I usually like to eat fairly healthy, but I have the hardest time resisting breakfast treats. Donuts, pastries, and cinnamon buns are some of my weaknesses! What I don’t enjoy, however, is a pastry that is store-bought in a plastic package, and I think most people agree. Even though it features a pretty braid design, this recipe is not hard to follow and will result in a fresh, homemade danish for any occasion.
I strongly encourage you to use the photos below as a reference for getting through Step 6. It looks like a lot of text but is a pretty simple process and doesn’t need to be exact to turn out well. Make sure you use a very sharp knife (or pastry cutter) when slicing your strips so that you can get nice, clean cuts that are easy to fold over.
Just like with my berry cheesecake bars, you can use almost any fruit to make the filling. If you’re in a pinch you can even use a jar of jam or preserves instead of making your own compote. It’s also fun to experiment with different toppings, especially if you don’t prefer the sliced almonds. I used almond extract in my glaze to increase the almond flavor but that’s not necessary. Use vanilla extract instead, for a more generic frosting taste, or any flavor you like!
A lot of people shy away from recipes that use yeast because it can seem overwhelming, but as long as you are careful its not hard! Yeast is a living organism so it’s important to not accidentally kill it by letting it get too hot or cold. Always double check the expiration on the package to make sure your yeast is still active, or else your dough won’t turn out right when baked.
Be aware that the dough needs to be made ahead of time in order to refrigerate. If you don’t have a full day, make it during the week whenever you have 30 minutes and then pull it out on the weekend when you’re ready to bake your fresh danish.
For pastry dough:
3/4 cup warm water (105F-115F degrees)
1 standard package active dry yeast (1/4 oz.)
½ cup milk (room temperature)
1 egg (room temperature)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2½ cups all-purpose flour
14 Tbsp unsalted butter (cold)
For egg wash:
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup strawberries (quartered)
2 Tbsp water
1½ Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1½ cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1½ tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1. Pour warm water in a large bowl and add yeast. Whisk together and let sit until foamy. Then mix in milk, egg, sugar and salt. Set aside.
2. Cut butter into chunks and put into food processor with flour. Pulse until it becomes crumbles. (This can also be done in a food processor, or by hand with knives or a pastry cutter)
3. Add dry ingredients to the wet and fold together gently. Be very careful to only fold until the ingredients are just combined.
4. Remove dough from bowl and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight) and then unwrap and place on a floured surface. Flatten dough into a rectangle and lightly flour. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a 15 inch long rectangle. (it should be about 6 inches wide) Fold in thirds and roll back out into another 15 inch long rectangle. Fold in thirds again and roll out again, then fold the dough tightly and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
5. While dough is chilling, make your filling. Combine strawberries, water, cornstarch, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook while stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Set aside.
6. Take dough from refrigerator, cut in half and return one half to continue chilling. (Each half will make one pastry braid) Roll the dough out on parchment paper into a 12×6 in rectangle. If dough is sticky, use some flour on the parchment paper. Cut off the corners of the rectangle on one end, and cut two triangles out from the other end. (reference photos in the beginning of the article) Top with sliced almonds (optional). Transfer parchment paper to baking sheet and let sit for 15 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 400F. Make the egg wash by beating egg and milk, then brush the top of the pastry all over with the wash. This will create a nice, shiny appearance to your pastry once baked.
8. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, and rotate the pan every 5 minutes so that it will brown evenly. (I let mine bake for about 15 minutes)
9. While pastry is baking, combine all glaze ingredients in a small bowl and stir until fully combined. Allow pastry to cool for 10-15 minutes before drizzling glaze on top. Slice into portions when ready to serve.
The danish braid is best eaten right away and won’t keep very well for more than the first day. If you want to plan ahead, make the dough the day before! (through step 4)
I use a standard pastry dough recipe, originally found on Sally’s Baking Addiction.View more articles written by Britta.