Tuesday, October 15, 2013
TWD Danish Braid
In my office we have a tradition that each person brings in a dessert to share on their own birthday. You're then supposed to send out a group email announcing your birthday and inviting everyone to come eat the dessert at a set time. I love making and sharing dessert, but hate announcing my birthday to everyone. (This makes no sense because I work in a very small, 12 person, office and am friendly with everybody, but I'm a very shy person and it always feels like way too much attention.) My first year I decided to circumvent the problem by making a banana bread to share. I just put it out in the morning, skipped the email, and mentioned to people who noticed that it was my birthday. The banana bread I made was Molly Wizenberg's. This was probably my most successful year. I love that bread. I still make it often. The next year I made a banana cake with chocolate frosting, and sent the dreaded email inviting everyone to come eat it at 3pm. Banana cake with chocolate frosting is probably my favorite dessert and people seemed to like it, although not as much as the bread. The third year I made apple pie. It was okay, but not my most successful year.
So, as my birthday got closer I was trying to figure out what to make, going back and forth between the options, when I realized I needed to make the Danish Braid the weekend of my birthday (because of our upcoming trip to Portland). I decided this was a perfect option to bring to the office. It was way too much for Paul and I to eat ourselves, and because it's a breakfast item I could avoid the mass email. Since the recipe served 6-8 I doubled it, which allowed me to make 4 of the 5 fillings. I did an apricot and almond braid and a strawberries and cream braid. This was a nice weekend project. On Friday I mixed the dough. On Saturday I did all of the rolling and folding. (I remarked to Paul that after making croissants this felt surprisingly easy.) On Sunday I made the fillings. They all worked well except for the berry filling. I followed the instructions exactly, using a 1-quart measuring cup in my microwave, and when I went down to check after 10 minutes the filling had completely boiled over and made a mess of the microwave. Luckily, Paul managed to clean up the microwave and I still had about a cup of filling left, which ended up being enough. On Monday morning I woke up early before work to assemble the braids, and give them time to rise and bake. I was shocked by how big they were! My office of 12 managed to eat them all, but I still couldn't believe the recipe said it only served 6-8. It was a lot of pastry. I think everyone enjoyed these. I would dial down the sugar on the fillings next time, but hot out of the oven these were pretty incredible - and gorgeous.