Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Caramelised pear and apple ginger cake

This is one of those "one of its kind" cakes. Dellllllicious! The contrasts of spicy fresh ginger and sweet apples blend so well togehter in this cake and give it a distinct flavour. All of us enjoyed it thoroughly last Saturday. Chonu, my hubby, enjoyed it to the full - you won't believe, but I actually got many compliments from him, my "not so easy to please with food" hubby, for this - now, that makes it all the more special! :)
Now I need to credit two people for it. One is Sophie , the chief Blogger at The Back Burner
who found this recipe and posted it at The Back Burner and the other, of course, Lisa of Spicy Icecream who posted the recipe at her blog.
I admit, the pictures don't look as beautiful as the the cake tasted, but I did not follow the recipe as exactly and used my own measurements partly. Since hubby prefers apples to pears and also because I didn't have enough pears - I'm sure with pears it would taste great - I added two apples to the two pears I had. But, I knew it would make as good a cake. So, I didn't even see it as a compromise. And it surely wasn't one. It tasted great! Although, I am a bit at loss as to why it rose so much in the middle and not evenly. It happed in the later half of baking in the oven for sure. So, it was not eay to hold it all together while taking it out when it was still hot. I served it with whipped cream to which I had added some whole cane sugar which I had also used in the cake instead of brown sugar and which gave the cake and the whipped cream a wondeful flavour.

The original recipe is here.


  • 75g soft butter
  • 1/2 cup whole cane sugar
  • 2 medium pears, peeled, cored and sliced thin, lengthwise
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin, lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I had none at home)
Cake batter
  • 1 cup oil (like sunflower)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup whole cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2/3 cup golden syrup (it is similar to molasses)
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk (I used yoghurt)
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Prepare topping by adding the cut apples and pears with whole cane sugar tothe melted butter in the pan. Pour into the spring form lined with baking paper at the base.
  • Preheat oven to 140°C (convection; regular: 160°C). In the mean time prepare the batter by beating together first the wet ingredients and them mixing the dry ingredients separately before adding to the batter and beating further.
  • Pour batter over the cake tin with the fruit topping at the base.
  • Bake for 1 h 45 min or until a skewer or knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Let it cool down for 10 minutes and then turn upside down, holding the plate to be used on it - do this very very carefully!
  • Serve with whiped cream or as it is.
Note: I found the salt to be a bit too much for my taste and hubby agreed on that point. So, I plan to add only half the quantity next time.
Although I would love to know what role salt plays in a cake, have heard of its use in cakes a number of times.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lemoniest Lemon Cake!

I baked this cake yesterday. Again a very easy and simple cake like I have given before too. I needed to take it to the company I'm working at since the beginning of this month. I got this recipe from a very good ex-colleague of mine who actually knew it by heart and wrote it down for me on a paper about 7 or 8 years ago, which has been so dear to me and I have kept it very carefully in my folder with all the good recipes I have tried and tested. Now it is time to put it down here in my blog. And this is really so easy to remember by heart that once you have made it a couple of times, then there is no need for a paper to look at actually.
This is one very summery, lemony recipe which I always make at least once during summers. As it is a not so heavy and a very quick recipe. And if you are a beginner, then this is just the recipe for you, as I feel that one can make it blindfolded.
And the best thing about it that, despite it being so easy, it is so very delicious that I always have people asking for its recipe and lots of praises too. I think the cake deserves it too.

It is very rare that I do not modify any recipe to my taste or needs when I make it, even if it only a little bit or the first time of making it. But this is so perfect that there isn't much that I can do to change or improve it. It is just the most delicious and easiest recipe of a cake that I have ever got hold of.
So, Elke, thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Temperature: 180°C convection oven (200°C electric)


Cake Batter:
4 eggs
3 cups all puorpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil, a neutral one
1 cup sparkling water (or lemonade or plain water is as good)
1 envelop baking powder (I think it is around 20 g or 3 tsps)
1 envelop vanilla sugar or vanilla extract (2 tsp)

1 lemon, organic or untreated, to use the zest of lemon and the juice

Sugar Icing / Frosting:
1 lemon, organic or untreated
250 g (1 packet) Icing sugar (Confectioner's sugar)

  • Preheat oven to 180°C convection (200°C electric)
  • Mix flour with the baking powder in a bowl
  • Add sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and the sparkling water to it and beat into a smooth and runny batter with a hand or a stand mixer
  • Pour the batter on a baking try or a large jelly-roll pan and bake in the oven for 25 minutes and checking with a knife and, if required, baking further
  • In the mean time remove the lemon zest and keep aside (make sure to wash the lemons in hot water before using)
  • Prepare the sugar icing/ frosting with the juice of one lemon and 250 g icing sugar
  • Add the juice slowly and carefully, spoon by spoon, mixing in between to make not-too-thin frosting and keep aside
  • Once the cake is done, take it out and sprinkle with the juice of one lemon
  • While the cake is still warm, pour the frosting on the cake and spread it very slowly and gently with a spatula on the cake (as the lemon juice makes the surface soft)
  • Sprinkle the zest over the icing on the cake and cut into appropriate sized pieces ans serve warm or cold.
The cake can be kept for up to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Before you can stack the cake pieces one over the other, let the cake cool down completely and use butter paper which has been rubbed with just enough butter to soak the butter in the paper. This will prevent the icing from sticking to the paper or foil or wrap used otherwise.
So, as they would say in German: Guten Appetit!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fusion food

I had 2 small chicken breast filets from the day before and I wanted to make something quick and easy with them. I initially started thinking of making a simple Italian dish. Just frying the chicken and adding some mushrooms, paprika, olives, dried tomatoes, parmesan, capers, a bunch of chopped fresh basil at the end and mix with cooked penne and that's it!
I had already cut the dried tomatoes and wanted to take out the chicken and rest of the things from the fridge. But, then I saw something which changed my plan completely. On opening the fridge I saw the half empty glass of baby corn in brine which my son had requested me to buy the last time we had gone shopping, and to which I had given in, thinking "why not?! it's been long since I used it". I had used some of it it for some Indian veggys I had made.
But, the sight of the baby corns triggered in my brain a totally different idea and my brain started working fast, scanning my memory, prompting my eyes and hands to double check every thing [in the fridge] and Lo! I had another recipe at hand, or actually in my mind. And this is what I made out of it, which was easy too.
So, this dish is a fusion between Chinese and Indian and Italian!


2 small chicken breast filets, cut into thin and small stripes
Chicken marinade:
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric,
  • 1 tsp coriander powder,
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 pinch of chilli powder or black pepper
  • 1tbsp sesame seeds
1 lemon grass, chopped into large pieces, the soft white part chopped fine
2 small carrots, juliened
dried tomatoes, chopped (yes! and they were fantastic!)
1 red paprika, diced
4 spring onions, cut into thick rings
12 mushroms, quartered
some more turmeric and coriander powder for the mushrooms

sunflower oil (or sesame seed oil)
soy sauce

  • Cook penne in boiling water with salt untill done (al denté).
  • Marinate chicken while cutting vegetables
  • Stir fry the shortly marinated chicken in 1 tbsp sunflower oil, first on high heat and then reduce heat to medium and cover with a lid. Cook until done. Add some more soy sauce, while frying it. Set aside and keep warm.
  • Fry lemon grass and carrots in some oil on high heat, add dried tomatoes, stir for another minute, add red paprika and stir further.
  • Now, every thing should have still retained its colour and carrots and paprika should still be firm, before adding spring onions. Fry for a minute on high heat. Add about two tbsp of soya sauce and stir once and then take out to mix with the chicken.
  • In the same pan add the mushrooms, a tbsp oil, the spices and stir on high heat. Once done, add soy sauce, stir once to mix and add every thing back into the pan. Stir. add the cooked penne.
I think, the Penne was quite good. It was appreciated by my hubby - as he loves chinese (but I knew that the chances were high that he would like it) and my son too.
I felt the lemon grass wasn't really required. It was some how out of place. I also wanted to add some fish sauce to it, but restraied myself this time, as I wasn't sure if it will be appreciated by both my men in pasta.

Sevain ki kheer (sweet vermicilli in milk)

My earliest childhood memories start in Saltlake, Calcutta, India. There where we lived, there were hardly any houses, except for a few in large distances. Salt lake was a very new locality yet to develop properly, but then it is more than thirty years ago. Long grasses were growing all around our duplex house which we shared with another family, with two children. One was about ther age of my elder sister and the other around my age. I didn't really get along well with the boy. I rememebr having had a big fight with this boy as he assumed that my table tennis racket was his. We started fighting for it, each of us claiming it be his own, and at the end the racket broke! Ha ha ha! Yes, I can really laugh about it now. I had also picked up quite a lot of Bengali for my age. Simple sentences, which you kept hearing from others: children, neighbours, friends, in the market, while with my parents shopping, talking to the household help and so on.
Now why am I telling you all this. Because I made a dessert called "Sevain ki Kheer" Hindi. And it reminded me of my childhood memories in Calcutta and this was my favorite home-made sweetdish my mom made for us those days, when I lived in Calcutta.
The reason I specified "home made" is that my The Favorite sweet dish was something else. I have never eaten anything as heavenly as Bengali sweets in Calcutta. You name anything and I love it. And each and everything about them was just heavenly. The few names which occur in my mind right now are: Sondesh, Malai chaap- another one of my favorites, Mishti dhoi (sweetened yoghurt), cham cham and so on.

But there is another thing I would like to share regarding this dish. This dish also reminds me of "Java ki Kheer" which both my grand mothers made for us now and then. These are home made whole wheat noodles (I'm calling them so now) and resemble vermicilli to a certain extent, except that they are very short (1 -2 cm), spindle shaped noodles, thick in the middle and thinner outside. And are prepared just like "Sevain ki Kheer".
Since this is another one my recipes I learnt through watching my mom prepare it, I cannot give you precise measures. But, then there isn't much that can go wrong, simple as it is.The only important thing is that don't leave it for long in the pan over the stove, as the vermicilli swells up too much and gets too soft. It is best enjoyed when still hot. Store the left overs in the fridge and add hot milk to it for the next time.
The most important flavoring in this Kheer comes from whole cane sugar. It gives a wonderful aroma to this simple but delicate dessert. Once you have eaten it like this, you would never want to make it with white sugar. I would also love to use palm sugar or jaggery for this, but then there is more work involved, and I don't have them in any case.
So, here it goes, the easiest and yummiest recipe around!

Makes for 4-5 people.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes


(These are approximate measures)

2 cups (100 g) whole wheat vermicilli
750ml milk
100 g whole cane sugar (or use north Indian Shakkar)
1 tbsp almonds, chopped
1-2 tsp ghee or butter for roasting the vermicilli
2-3 tbsp rose water
2 tbsp raisins
1 cardamom , powdered (if using white sugar)

  • Roast the whole wheat vermicilli for short on medium heat , with or without ghee
  • Add milk and stir. Increase heat to full. Let cook while stirring in between, till it starts to boil. Reduce heat to low.
  • Add whole cane sugar (if you use refined sugar, then you might require cardamom powder or rose water for the flavour)
  • Keep stirring while coking the vermicilli till done. It should be al dente, just like spaghetti
  • Serve garnished with raisins or almonds
My son wanted some Raisins in his dessert which I added just to his hot vermicilli in his bowl.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wholewheat-banana Pancake

The inspiration for making this recipe comes from A&N's Banana Muffins. On seeing A&N's lovely muffins, I knew I have to do something with my overripe Bananas lying in my fruit basket too. So, here is my ultra-simplified version (Although, I plan to make the muffinsd one day too!).
Since I have a three year old son, I have become very conscious about what ingredients I use, how healthy it is, if I can reduce the amount of sugar in it or replace it with something healthy and so on. This time I served it with some stirred sourcream and blueberries as an evening snack which was enjoyed by us and my son thoroughly. He ate so much that I could forget about his dinner, but then I didn't worry! As this is a wholesome meal for children for now and then.
The picture is not showing the best pancake, but just didn't remember to click. managed to take one picture later on. The pancake got a bit wrinkled while turning. :(
And this time as I want to submit the recipe to the Less is More! event, (of which also, I got to know through A&N's blog) being hosted by Nupur of One Hot Stove. So, here is the recipe of FIVE Ingredients:Preparation Time: 1 h 15 minutes
Baking time: 3 minutes for each pancake
Makes about 8-10 pancakes


Pancake Batter:
2 ripe bananas (overripe is as good!)
150 g Wholewheat flour
2 tsp Baking powder
250 ml milk
1 tbsp Maple syrup

Oil or butter for frying the pancakes

  • Mash the bananas with a fork in a large bowl
  • Mix the whole wheat flour with the baking powder and add to the crushed bananas
  • add milk and maple syrup and mix everything with a whisk into a smooth batter
  • Set aside for about an hour , if for longer, then put in the fridge, covered
  • Use butter or oil for frying them in a fry pan or griddle
  • For that, heat the pan on medium heat, spread a tbsp of butter and put one ladle of the batter on the pan and spread slowly with a base of a ladle into a round pancake.
  • Cover the pan immidiately. Reduce heat slightly
  • After about half a minute, when the upper part is no more fluid and shows bubbles, turn it upside down. Use some more butter, if required.
  • Bake till the other side is done.
  • Serve with maple syrup or honey or sweetened apple puree and chopped nuts or fruits!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My kitchen story! Even if it is not about food...

Yes, it is not edible, but we, myself and my son, made it in our kitchen and it turned out wonderful!

Now if you still don't is our home made playdough!
We enjoyed making it and playing with it.
If you want the recipe, go here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mini Mango Almond Cake and Muffins

This sunday, I had a nice big mango lying in my fruit basket on my kitchen window which looked quite ripe now, just waiting to be eaten. Initially I had thought of combining it with strawberries and offering it as a dessert along with quarkspeise (a German curd-preparation made with the addition of sugar and whippedcream and eaten with fruits), but then Rishab and Chonu got to eat the strawberries as a late morning snack already.
So, I decided upon a mango muffin recipe as an afternoon dessert. This is the first time that I used a mango in muffins. And I must say, it was so tasty that it did not even need any sugar or chocolate icing on top. It tasted just soooooo good!Since when I make muffins, my son is also always there to "help" me, as he always insists upon it to which i cannot say no! And now that he recently got his own baking set of baking tins, cookie cutters and a rolling pin. He always wants to use whatever he can. So, we put a part of the muffin dough into a small cake tin too. Which looked so beautiful that I actually decided upon sending it to this months Monthy mingle: Mango Mania taking place at Meeta's blog. I don't think we will win the prize after seeing such tempting recipes there, but it is worth the mingle!
This is the same recipe as I have given in my basic muffin recipe . But I will write it down once again here.

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 25- 30 minutes

Dry Ingredients:
250 g all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
50 -60 g (1 1/2 -2 oz) chopped almonds

Wet Ingredients:
1 egg
200 g yoghurt
75 ml sunflower oil
125 g sugar
1 envelop buorbon vanilla sugar (or use a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
200 g (1 large) mango, diced; keep a few pieces aside for decoration

  • Mix the dry ingredients evenly
  • In a large bowl stir, except for the mango, the wet ingredients together for short
  • Add the mango and the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix everything for short with a spoon, just to make everything wet
  • DO NOT STIR anymore!
  • Quickly spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake at 165 °C in convection oven (175 °C electric) for 25-30 minutes
  • Check with a knife after 25 minutes if they need to be baked further or not.
  • Serve warm
  • If desired, you can always serve these with some whipped cream or chocolate sauce and a few pieces of fresh mango
So, this is my entry to Meeta's Monthy Mingle: Mango Mania . A very spontaneous decision, as I think my son and I have done a good job at making these yummy muffins. And don't they look beautiful! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tortelloni Sauté

I had once made tortelloni with white asperagus and a white sauce made from the water from asparagus, which was apprecitaed by Chonu, my hubby, a lot (If you have been reading my emails regularly, you can imagine in what ecstacy I was to have a hubby who actually appreciates my food! :P).
The most important ingredient in that case was the asparagus, which I cooked with the skin and which gave the good flavour. I had prepared that dish from what I could find in the fridge and combine together. And it was a good experiece, as until now I had only prepared asparagus the classical way: pure, with hollandaise sauce and warm clarified butter along with boiled potatoes, which is surely very enjoyable.

Now, I only know of recipes where you eat tortellini either cooked in a clear broth or with some white sauce like bechamel. We were in no mood for either of the things, I had to think up of something different. I did have this picture in my mind of how it was supposed to look at the end, but not so clearly to know exactly what I wanted in the ingredients, and that at the end I will actually get the result I wanted. So, I was quite happy at the end, as this is not always the case, when I just work with a picture or flavour in my mind.
All of us enjoyed this evening meal a lot. The alpine cheese has a very picant and a special flavour, which I think is not appreciated by every one as much. But, it suited perfectly to this one in our opinion.
So, here it goes, the recipe:


1 packet (400 g) fresh spinach-ricotta Tortlloni from the chiller cabinet
1/2 or 1 small Broccoli, cut into small florets
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic, crushed or chopped finely
1" piece of ginger (2-3 cm), grated or chopped finely
1 tbsp sesame seeds with skin
2-3 dried tomatoes, chopped
4 sprigs thyme leaves, chopped
crimini mushrooms, quartered or halved into chunks, depending on size
1 tsp capers in brine
2 tbsp green pitted olives in oil
1 medium Tomato, diced
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
80-100 g thick slice of Alpine cheese (Bergkäse), grated
(optionally parmesan or any other hard cheese)

  • Boil 2 1/2 liters water with 1/2 tsp salt in a pot and add the tortellini and cook till "al dente".
  • When the tortellini is about half done, add broccoli as well and cook till these are still green and firm.
  • In a sauté pan fry the onions, garlic and sesame seeds in little olive oil on high heat and add ginger and dried tomatoes. Fry for a minute on medium heat while stirring.
  • Add the mushrooms, add a little more oil if required, and fry further on high heat.
  • Add the chopped thyme leaves. Keep stirring in between.
  • Reduce heat. Add capers and the cooked broccoli and tortellini. Stir carefully on medium heat.
  • Add olives and chopped tomatoes to it, stir and switch off the heat after about a minute.
  • Add the grated cheese and chopped oregano.
  • Garnish with a small sprig of oregano while serving on the plate.
Tip: the choice of cheese surely decides the final taste of this dish, as I have used a large amount of it here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I dared to braid! And the Marmelade mix up!

I would think that many of you already have a clue to what I am talking about. If you still do not know, then read on.
But, before I continue with the actual story let me tell you a very original joke (which took place at my home). The marmelade mix up! As I call it.
This sunday, at breakfast, my 3 year old son Rishab was done eating and left more than half of the toast with marmelade. His papa who was also finished took him to wash his hands. I, the mumma, who loves marmelades, eyed this toast and started eating it. Rishab came and saw me eating the toast and questioned very seriously
" Warum hast du mein Toast gegessen?[Why did you eat my toast?]"
I said, " Es war so lecker, ich konnte es nicht wiederstehen. [It looked so tempting that I just couldn't 'withstand'(resist) it].
On hearing this, Rishab immediately ran to his papa and said " Papa, Mumma fand es so lecker, sie konnte nicht stehen! [Papa, Mumma found it so tasty that she could not stand!]"

Now, in case you are in no mood for these jokes then here is the real story:
I saw these mouthwatering and beeeeautiful looking Danish braids from Daring bakers club of bloggers, about a little more than a week ago. I first saw Meeta's post at What's for Lunch, Honey! Then I went on to look for the the recipes at their hosts webpages: Kelly of "Sass and Veracity" and Ben of "What's Cooking?". I fell more and more in love with this irresistable pastry. Infact, while reading the ingredients, I saw that I already had all the ingredients except for a fresh orange, which I knew I could buy easily. I has enough butter (you need a lot of it!), apples (hubby loves to eat anything baked with apples!), fresh yeast, which I had just bought, without really knowing what I would be making with it. Did I catch some invisible, unspoken waves / signals / vibratuions from the minds of the daring bakers club through their blogs??!!
I hardly use fresh yeast normally, but just felt like making something with it and had bought it.
Well, despite all that and all the excitement I felt after having gone through all the posts of this daring danish braid, I had little time that weekend and the days to follow, so, it had to wait.
But, I could not take it off my mind. Every day I would try to find some time, but was too afraid to make it in a hurry, as I have never baked with a puff pastry (Blätterteig in German) or for that matter made it myself. Nor this Danish pastry (Plunderteig in German).
So, this weeekend, despite having a lot to do: I had an invitation to a birthday party for my son (he is still too small for me to leave him alone) and taking care of the household and cooking for the weekend and so on, I still managed to somehow sqeeze this recipe into my time schedule. "Now or never!" I thought.
I did one part of the recipe (also here), of preparing the pastry dough on Saturday and the proofing and baking part on Sunday. I must admit, quite a few things did not run the way the should have. But, if you know me, I do not give up so easily. And since this was my first trial, I think they were not bad at all. (I'll surely make them again!) Right now my freezer is full of these yummylicious braids, already cut into pieces, so that I can take out the amount I need and when I need. Although, they will not last very long!
Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures before I cut them up or, for that matter, before I put powdered sugar on top of them, but maybe you can still make out the braid.
I used the apple filling as given in the recipe and prepared a quick fix raspberry marmelade (or jam, as you would say in English) with the raspberries I had bought along with the fresh orange for the dough.
For the jam, I mixed 250 g (about 1/2 pound) raspberries, mixed them with 2-3 tbsp sugar and about 100 g jam sugar in a deep plate and microwaved again and again while mixing in between until the right consistency was there (approx. 10 - 15 minutes) and the jam was ready. Check in betweeen the sugar content, if more is required. I let it cool down open, so that the rest of the heat makes it become even more thicker, which it did become. There are surely many much better and fancier recipes out there, but they will have to wait till I plan to make these braids again.
They were wonderful, despite all that, that went wrong! Delicious! We enjoyed it to the full.
Since I never liked egg washes on pastries. I always leave them out. I think the pastry tastes as good even without the egg wash.

Here is the recipe from Ben's What's cooking?:


Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes enough for two braids

4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.