Do I Qualify? ~ Mountain Mama

Friday, July 25, 2008

Do I Qualify?

I made the Danish Braid that seems to be last month's daring baker challenge. I tried to get cute and make a bow at the end but it didn't turn out the way I envisioned. Luckily it tasted great.
Above is my assemblage of ingredients. After I took this picture I thought "Where are my apples?"
So I substituted four hard nectarines for the two errant apples. They dissolved into the filling, but gave it a thick, apple-butter feel.

See the windowpane? That part that looks like a hole is a thin film of well-developed gluten. When you have this, you know your dough is well-kneaded. I substitued a cup of whole wheat flour and my orange zest and cardamom are still pretty coarse, so the windowpane will tear easier than if it were a simple white dough. The warm, spicy scent of this dough is wonderful. The combination of Cardamon and Citrus reminds me of a Chai recipe I have.

Once the dough has been turned, i.e. stuffed with seemingly half its weight in butter and rolled into 54 layers of flaky goodness, it becomes a vessel for many things other than the strudel-like pastry in the recipe. Think crescent rolls, twisted churro-like sticks, and any manner of puff-pastryish concoctions.
This recipe earned a thumbs up from my family. I love that the pastry can stand on it's own without filling or frosting. That said, I think I will try a spicy pumpkin filling in the fall. I might also try a filling of caramalized onions, mushrooms and chard.

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