15 May 2011

Norwegian Cinnamon & Apple Braid

I rejuvenated my pastry skills yesterday and this morning in preparation for 'the big day', and happily found I had not lost the skills. Wienerbrød, or Danish Pastry as it is often called in English, is basically the Scandinavian version of the French viennoiseries and, as you probably can guess, both have their roots in Vienna. It's not difficult to make at all, but time consuming, which is the only negative aspect. Although you can fill it up with pretty much anything, the traditional variety would be eplemos (apple sauce or literally mashed apples). Yesterday I filled the pastries with strawberries, but opted for apples and cinnamon this morning. I think I might just post a new post dedicated to the strawberry version sometime in the future, because it was very yummy, albeit sweet. The apple-cinnamon version is not quite as sweet, but has that certain je-ne-sais-quoi which you only get by mixing apples with cinnamon. And, if you do have leftover pastry laying around in the house, it's a very quick dessert to make as well, which is a big plus in my book :-)

Norwegian Cinnamon & Apple Braid


450 g puff pastry (see recipe below)
2 red apples, core removed, washed and cubed
30 g sugar
1 tbsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon (or more, to taste)
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
Pearl sugar, for sprinkling

1.Puff Pastry: Roll the pastry dough into a 30 cm x 15 cm rectangle and, using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into three equal-sized rectangles, each measuring roughly 10 cm x 15 cm. Cut about eight stripes, on a slight angle, evenly down each side of each rectangle.

2.Prewarm oven to 200°C.In a small bowl, mix the apples with the cinnamon, flour and sugar. Place two or three tablespoons of the apple mixture in the centre of each rectangle. Fold the strips over the apple mixture in a crisscross pattern. 

3.Wash each braid with the egg wash, then sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, or until golden.

Puff Pastry
Recipe by White on Rice Couple

Makes 900 g puff pastry; for the recipe above you'll only need half. You can either cut the recipe in two, or freeze the remaining 450 g for later use.You never know when you'll need some pastry!


Butter Block
510 g cold unsalted butter
10 ml lemon juice
Pinch of salt
130 g flour

400 g flour, approximately
55 g)soft unsalted butter
2 tsp salt
240 ml cold water

1.Butter Block: In mixer w/ paddle attachment, work butter lemon juice, salt, and flour into a smooth paste.

2.On a sheet of wax paper, roughly form an approx. 15 cm square with the butter block mixture. Lay another piece of wax paper on top and smooth out the square & straighten the sides. Peel back each wax paper sheet & re-lay as it wrinkles to keep a smooth, even surface. After block’s thickness & sides are even, refrigerate until firm.

1.Dough: Sift flour onto your work surface. Pinch butter into chunks and place on top of flour. Continue pinching butter into flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.

2.Now it’s kind of like making fresh pasta. Shape into a mound, then make a well in the center of the mound. Add the salt & cold water into the well, then with a fork, use a whisking motion to gradually incorporate the well’s sides into the water. When it starts to form a solid mass, finish incorporating the flour by kneading. Incorporate just until it is still sticky and has a rough texture. Adjust the water & flour as needed. Try to knead as little as possible. Puff pastry likes a lazy kneaders.

3.Form dough into a ball, remember-knead as little as possible. Flatten the ball a bit, then cut a cross halfway through the dough. Wrap it up & let rest in fridge for 30 minutes.

You’ll want the Butter Block to have approximately the same consistency as the Dough, after the dough is rested. You don’t want the butter rock hard, but not mushy soft, either. A dough that is softer than the butter will stretch while the butter doesn’t. If the butter is softer than the dough, it will be pushed out the sides. You may have to adjust chill/resting times for either dough or butter block so they are about the same. Figure out adjustments to make so they’ll work together homogeneously. It may take a time or two, but you’ll get the hang of it.

1.Assembly: Pull the corners of the cuts out of the dough ball to make a square shape. Roll the dough out to a square slightly thicker in the center than on the sides, and slightly larger than the butter block.

2.Place the butter block diagonally on the dough square, so that the butter corners are pointed at the middle of the dough sides. Fold the uncovered dough corners over the butter block to completely envelop the butter. Pinch the seams tightly together to seal in the butter.

3.Dust your work surface with flour, and roll the dough into a rectangle about 1,5 cm thick. Remember to keep dusting with flour whenever needed to keep the dough from sticking & tearing the layers.

4.Size up your rectangle visually into 3. Fold one third over the middle, then fold the opposite third over. Just like a tri-fold brochure. Try to have everything as even as possible. All the edges should match fairly closely. Put on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. 

5.Roll out to 1,5 cm thick and repeat the fold. Don’t forget to flour as you roll. Plate, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat this for a total five roll & folds.

6.After the last fold, roll the rectangle out to about 2 cm. If it is difficult, put dough in the fridge for a bit to relax the gluten. If using immediately, cover, rest in fridge for about 30 minutes, then use as needed. If it’s for later, cut into sections big enough but that still fit easily in your freezer (usually just in half), layer with wax paper between sections, freezer bag it, & store until needed.

4 comment (s):

Nico said...

This is a really great place, and the visit is very cool (even not everything is in english)

Madame Grenouille said...

Thanks, yes, that's true, not all the tours are in English (but they're in German!)

Chaffee said...

Can do a Vegan version please :)

Marion said...

There are vegan puff pastries on these sites: http://vegetalion.blogspot.no/2010/05/fast-easy-homemade-vegan-puff-pastry.html and http://veganbaking.net/pastries/718-puff-pastry, as well as other sites on the Internet :) I haven't checked them out myself but I'm sure they're good.

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