I was not about to make the same mistakes I made with my very first Daring Baker challenge. I had most definitely learned my lessons last time and applied them whole heartedly with this new challenge. So on a Friday night before going to bed, I fully read the recipe, jotting down each time the dough required chilling. This helped me to calculate the total time needed to make this bread. I made out a bit of a schedule, made sure I had all the ingredients and set off on my baking adventure the following Saturday…during a fucking heat wave in DC.
Oh it was HOT! And I was going to turn on the oven?!?! Well no one said being a daring baker was going to be easy! The recipe was a bit time consuming BUT it was certainly not difficult. Especially with my nice little timeline and schedule in front of me. It also helped that I made sure the Diva wasn’t underfoot.
My plan was to make a strawberry and chocolate mascarpone cheese braid. I had these lovely strawberries from my CSA and I couldn’t resist using them. So I pulled out the dough I had started the previous evening (I am using the recipe from Sherry Yard’s The Secret of Baking) and rolled it out to the specified size.
Using a measuring tape I cleaned and sanitized, I measured out the strips that would constitute the braid, meticulously following the recipes instructions.
Finally, it was time for the filling. The chocolate mascarpone was easy enough to make (whisking together the cheese and cocoa powder with a hint of vanilla extract) and even easier to spread on the dough. I hulled and sliced the strawberries up, planning on simply placing them atop the mascarpone. Yes, it really did look beautiful.
I even put in a bit of corn starch after slicing up the strawberries to avoid the very problem that arose: a soggy mess.
Apparently, even with the cornstarch, the strawberries were too juicy. I won’t show you the picture I snapped of the braid coming out of the oven after I baked it. The pastry puffed up VERY nicely and the parts that weren’t drenched in strawberry juice were flaky. It’s a recipe I will definitely use again for those reasons alone. But I wasn’t to be deterred, so taking the remaining dough, I made a smaller braid using spiced apples instead.
Unfortunately, this one didn’t puff up as nicely as the strawberry braid. I suspect it was because of the small stature or the fact that I may have rolled it out too thin. Either way, my plan was to try again in the following weeks since I had so much time to complete it. In fact, I was going to make it this very weekend for a dinner party on Saturday evening.
However, and this is where the joking is put aside, I had to spend all of Saturday morning and afternoon at the vet’s office. Something we thought was an allergic reaction turned out to be the return of the Diva’s cancer (she survived a bout with it almost two years ago). The prognosis, sadly, is not very good but we will know more once she sees the oncologist. Needless to say, I didn’t feel much like baking or cooking Saturday night, so I missed a fabulous Barefoot Contessa themed dinner party at Carmen and Aster’s (pictures were taken of the food, so I may post them for you all to enjoy later in the week). So I present to you my two braids: one puffing up nicely but coming out quite a bit soggy and one not soggy at all but not as puffy as the original.
I so promise I will not be the comic relief of the Daring Baker’s all the time. I look forward to the next challenge and will once again use the schedule and timeline approach that worked so well for me this go round. But no more juicy fruits! To see my fellow Daring Baker’s danish braid, creations, head over to the Daring Bakers’ Blogroll!
18 responses to “Apple Danish Braid: A Daring Baker’s Challenge”
cute kitty! and your braid looks fabulous! great job
Oh no, so sad to hear about your Diva! All my good thoughts going your way.
I’m sure your first braid tasted delish, what with chocolate mascarpone filling! The pictures you did share show how tasty it must have been.
Sorry to hear that the first braid was a little soggy. Next time just cook down your strawberries with a little sugar and cornstarch beforehand, and they’ll gel up nicely as a filling. It’s the best of both worlds!
Hope your kitty is okay!
Your braid looks lovely. I’m sorry to hear about your kitty–I hope she’ll be okay.
I am so sorry about the kitten. I’ve been there and it is just hard.
The thing with the strawberries is . . . they have just about the most water of any fruit. They are a difficult one to use because of that. But even my apples were way to watery (I used the recipe provided). Your braids looked lovely.
Your braids look good! I really like the sound of the strawberry and chocolate mascarpone cheese filling!
I had a puffy braid and a wimpy braid, too. Arrrgh.
Sending positive vibes Diva’s way!
Brilliant filling! Strawberry and chocolate? Oh my.
Kitty is soooo cute 🙂 Great job on your braids. The fillings sound scrumptious!
I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope you will feel better about everything soon.
It seems the entire country was in a heat wave. Here it set a record for hottest temperature ever recorded on that date – Saturday (100 degrees), and of course I had procrastinated and ended up finally baking my braid at 2 something in the morning.
Chocolate mascarpone and strawberries sounds amazing.
Great job on the braid! I wish the strawberry had worked out. Sorry about your kitty…hope the news is better than your think.
The course of a Daring Baker never did run smooth … great job nonetheless!
Wow!! Strawberry and chocolate mascarpone..yummy choice! I love when I take a pastry out of the oven and it oozes fruit filling spillage! 🙂 Great job and organizational skills..next time around I’ll have to try that! lol
So I did not join the daring bakers, but just by chance I happened to make puff pastry the same weekend.
It still looks delicious! Also, the braiding looks lovely.
mmmm…your filling looks delicious! great job!