Sour Cherry Danish Braid

If you have been following over the last week you must have known this was coming. Sour Cherry Danish Braid.I have made this in the past with canned cherry pie filling and it was pretty good. It must be better with home made sour cherry filling.I used a recipe in Baking with Julia to bring together my previous posts on:
Sour Cherry Danish Braid

For this recipe I used:

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Danish Pastry Dough

I have been following Joe Pastry for about a year now. He has some great tips and history on baking.

With reading a blog like Joe Pastry it was inevitable that I would need to make pastry. So Danish pastry it was. It had to be at least 10 years since the last time I made it so it was time.

I decided I would use the same recipe that I had used before from Baking with Julia.

Danish Pastry Dough

For this recipe I used:


1/4 Cup Warm Water – 110˚ – 115˚ F
2 1/2 Teaspoons of Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup of Milk – room temperature
1 Large Egg – room temperature
1/4 Cup of Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Salt
2 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Cup of Unsalted Butter (2 Sticks) – Cold, cut into pieces

Danish Pastry Dough – The Ingredients

In a large measuring cup I added the yeast to the warm water and let the mixture soften for a minute.

Danish Pastry Dough – Softening the Yeast

I then added the milk, egg, sugar, and salt and whisked everything together. Then I set the mixture aside.

Danish Pastry Dough – Yeast Mixture with the Milk and Egg

In a mixing bowl I added the flour and chilled butter.

Danish Pastry Dough -Adding the Chilled Butter to the Flour

I worked in the butter with a pastry blender until the pieces of butter were about 1 cm in size (1/2 inch).

Danish Pastry Dough – After the Pastry Blender

I added the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and worked it together into a nice dough with a rubber spatula.

Danish Pastry Dough – Adding the Yeast Mixture
Danish Pastry Dough – After a good Stir

Once mixed, I covered the bowl and put it in the fridge overnight (at least 4 hours).

Danish Pastry Dough – Ready for the Fridge

The next morning I removed the risen dough from the fridge.

Danish Pastry Dough – After Overnight in the Fridge

I put the dough onto a floured counted and brought it together into a square.

Danish Pastry Dough – Forming a Square

I next rolled the dough out into a 16″ square.

Danish Pastry Dough – First Roll
Danish Pastry Dough – First Fold

Now it was time for a fold into 1/3’s.

Danish Pastry Dough – Finished First Fold

Then I rolled out the dough again into a 10″ x 24″ rectangle.

Danish Pastry Dough – Second Roll

And then I folded the rectangle into 1/3’s.

Danish Pastry Dough – Second Fold

Then I rolled out a second 16″ square and folded it into 1/3’s again.

Danish Pastry Dough – Third Roll

Then for the last time I rolled out the dough into a 16″ x 10″ rectangle.

Danish Pastry Dough -Third Fold

I folded the dough into 1/3’s again. I cut the final fold into 1/2.

Danish Pastry Dough – Splitting to Use now And Later

I was going to use 1/2 of the recipe right away and I froze the second 1/2 for later.

Danish Pastry Dough – Ready for the Freezer

I refrigerated the dough for use later in the day.

Baker’s Notes:

  • although there were a few folds that was really the only “technical” part of making the dough
  • if at some point the dough gets too warm, wrap it and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • be sure to measure the temperature of the warm water 110˚ – 115˚ F. Too cold and it wont proof correctly and too warm the yeast will be killed off
  • the dough will freeze easily for up to 1 month

Almond Filling

To go with the Sour Cherry Filling I made the other day I searched for a recipe for an almond filling.

I found one in Baking With Julia. I was inspired by this recipe. A pretty awesome book.

Almond Filling

For this recipe I used:

1 Cup of sliced Almonds
1/2 Cup of Icing Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter – room temperature
1/2 Teaspoon of Almond Extract
1 Large Egg – beaten

Almond Filling – The Ingredients

In my food processor I added the almonds, butter, and icing sugar.

Almond Filling – Almonds, Icing Sugar, and Butter

I processed the almonds as much as I could without turning it into almond butter.

Almond Filling – Processed as Finely as you can

I added the egg and almond extract

Almond Filling – Adding the Extract and Egg

And processed again until well blended.

Almond Filling – It’s Ready!

With the egg… you need to use this right away.

Baker’s Notes:

  • this is a small batch recipe if you have a small insert bowl for your food processor, or a mini food processor, use it
  • this pretty close to marzipan, but in my opinion tastes better
  • use immediately

Sour Cherry Filling

The one pie, tart, cake, or turnover filling I love best is Sour Cherry. Its one of those flavours we rarely has as a kid.

I had some sour cherries in the deep freeze that I needed to use so I decided to try my hand at a sour cherry filling.

After reading some old recipes I came up with what I though would be a great filling.

Sour Cherry Filling

For this recipe I used:


2 Pounds of carefully pitted Sour Cherries
2 Pounds of Sugar
6 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

I added everything to a big heavy bottomed pot and mixed well.

Sour Cherry Filling – Ready to Boil

On medium high heat I let the mixture boil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching.

Sour Cherry Filling – Boiling Away

Once it was boiled I poured the mixture into a medium bowl and let it cool to room temperature. Then it was off to the fridge to let it fully cool to use later.

Sour Cherry Filling – Chilling

Baker’s Notes:

  • enjoy!

Macarons – Part 5 – Eureka!

Yet another trial in my quest for a perfect macaron. If you have been following, this is trial number 5.

Building on my progress in part 4 I decided to try the Italian meringue again. This time I would use a mixing bowl and my hand blender rather than my mixer. The bowl on my mixer was too big for one batch of macarons and left at least 1/4 of the syrup on the side of the bowl.

I am using the book “i ♥ macarons” by Hisako Ogita.

Macarons Part 5

For this recipe I used:
30 ml of Water
65 Grams of Sugar
85 Grams of Almond Meal
150 Grams of Icing Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites – at room temperature
5 ml of Vanilla

Macarons Part 5 – The Ingredients

Following the recipe I use my food processor to grind the almond meal and icing sugar together and then double sifted the mixture.

Macarons Part 5 – Double Sifted Almond Mixture

In a medium bowl, using my hand mixer, I started whipping the egg whites until slightly frothy.

Macarons Part 5 – Slightly Whipped Egg Whites

Over on the stove, in a small pot, I combined the water and sugar and heated the mixture.

Macarons Part 5 – Water & Sugar

I boiled the syrup until it reached 235˚ F.

Macarons Part 5 – Bringing the Syrup to Temp

Once the sugar was at temperature I slowly drizzled the syrup into the egg whites while beating them on high.

Macarons Part 5 – Finishing the Egg Whites

After about 10 minutes of beating the meringue was cool enough to add the vanilla.

Macarons Part 5 – Adding the Vanilla

When the vanilla was mixed in I switched to a large spatula and folded in 1/2 of the almond mixture.

Macarons Part 5 – The first 1/2 of the Almond Mixture

Then I added the second half of the almonds and gently folded them in.

Macarons Part 5 – The second 1/2 of the Almond Mixture

Then it was time for macaronage – the final 10 folds.

Macarons Part 5 – Macaronage

And it was off to the pastry bag.

Macarons Part 5 – Filled Pastry Bag
Macarons Part 5 – Ready to Pipe

I piped a round of macaron batter in each of the marked circles, then gave the pan a hard rap on the counter to disperse any air bubbles.

While the oven heated to 400˚F,  I let the macarons rest on the counter to form a slight skin. Then it was off to the oven for 11 minutes.

This time everything came together.  No excessive spreading and perfect feet!

Macarons Part 5 – Perfect Pied

I filled this batch with Meyer Lemon Curd. For a more traditional macaron use a filling like Swiss Buttercream.

Macarons Part 5 – Eureka!!

Macarons – Part 4 – i ♥ macarons

Still working towards an elusive perfect macaron I decided to put my 3 previous unsuccessful experiences (found here, here, and here) behind me an start again.

By the time I got to this point I had watched the Great British Bake Off Season 1 and had seen success with the Italian meringue method of macarons.

Using my book “i ♥ macarons” by Hsiako Ogita, I used the section on the Italian meringue method.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons

For this recipe I used:
30 ml of Water
65 Grams of Sugar
85 Grams of Almond Meal
150 Grams of Icing Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites – at room temperature
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

I gathered all of the ingredients together.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – The Ingredients

I used the marked parchment paper I used on the last batch of macarons for the new batch.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Marking the Parchment

I once again ground the almond meal and the icing sugar together in my food processor

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Processing the Almonds and Icing Sugar

Next I double sifted the almond mixture twice to ensure the finest possible flour consistency.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Double Sifted Almond Mixture

Next I placed the water and sugar in a saucepan with a candy thermometer and heated it until 235˚F – hardball stage.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Bringing the Syrup to Temperature
Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Just about there

While the syrup came to temperature on the stove, I placed the egg whites in the bowl of my mixer and whipped them for a minute or so until foamy. As soon as the syrup was at 235˚F I turned the mixer on medium high and added the syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites. I continued to beat on medium high until thick glossy peaks had formed.

Sadly my attention was on the mixing of the hot sugar and not on documenting the next bit.

As in my Macaron’s Part 3 post I added 1/2 of the almond mixture, then the vanilla, then the second 1/2 of the almond mixture. Folding after each addition.

Then it was time for the 10 folds with a big spatula called Macaronage.

I then transferred the macaron mixture to a pastry bag and piped the batter onto the circles on the lined baking sheets. I then gave the baking sheets a firm rap on the counter to release any air bubbles. I let the pans set for 15 minutes while the oven heated to 400˚F.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Piped Macaron Batter

This version of macarons produced a batter that stood up! A great  start. Then I noticed that there was a lot of hard ball sugar syrup residue in the bottom of the mixer bowl.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Syrup Residue in the Mixer Bowl

I baked the macarons for 11 minutes until they were showing a little bit of colour. As you can see the macarons held their shape, mostly. You can also see that the macarons cracked. The best part was… they had a foot. This was the best version of macarons so far.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Baked

I was close but I needed to master this cookie!

Baker’s notes:

  • I used a mixing bowl that was much too big for this recipe causing a bunch of the sugar syrup not to be incorporated in to the macaron batter

Macarons – Part 3 – i ♥ macarons

So now I have tried the MS recipe twice (here and here), and the recipe did not turn out. I am thinking it might be my proximity to water, but I am not sure.

 

In my travels in the past year I picked up a small book called “i ♥ macarons” by Hisako Ogita. This book has really detailed descriptions on how to make macarons and fillings.

Hisako describes 2 methods for making macarons: The meringue method and the second is the Italian meringue method.

The two recipes have a lot more steps that one I had tried before. I set out this time to try the meringue method.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons

For this recipe I used:
85 Grams of Ground Almonds
150 Grams of Icing Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites
65 Grams of Sugar
5 ml of Vanilla

I started by marking circles on a sheet of parchment paper using a 2″ cookie cutter and a marking pen. Be sure to turn the parchment over!

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Drawing Circles

In the small bowl of my food processor I further ground the almonds and the icing sugar together.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Further Processing the Almonds and Icing Sugar

After processing I sifted the almond mixture twice. Ensuring the resulting flour was as fine as possible.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Double Sifting the Amonds

In the bowl of my mixer I beat the egg whites while slowly adding the sugar.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Egg Whites and Sugar

I continued beating until stiff peaks had formed.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Stiff Peaks

I scraped the edges of the egg whites with a large spatula and mixed in the vanilla at the same time. Next I added 1/2 of the almond mixture and gently folded it in.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Adding the Almonds
Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – First Almond addition just mixed

I then added the rest of the almond mixture and folded again. And here is where I learned a new term: macaronage. This is where you fold the batter 10 times after the almonds have been incorporated. No more than 10 though!!

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Final Almond addition and Macaronage

Once fully combined I added the macaron batter to a pastry bag.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Getting the Pastry Bag Ready

This mixture was a little runny and a little easier to control while piping. I gave each pan a couple of solid raps on the counter to release any air bubbles. Then I let the macarons rest for 15 minutes while the oven heated to 375˚ F.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Pans Resting for 15 Minutes

I baked the macarons for 11 minutes and they were pretty dark. The recipe stated 15 to 18 minutes. The recipe time was probably right for macarons where the batter was thicker.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Just out of the Oven

This recipe for macarons did not work for me either! The results were none the less tasty!

Time to try something new.

Baker’s Notes:

  • as mentioned in a previous post, it is really difficult to over beat sugar and egg whites – this was undoubtedly a factor in my experience
  • I still think being close to water plays a role in the making of macarons
Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – The Book

Macarons – Part 2

Just after I moved to the new place last year, I committed myself to successfully making a macaron. Since then I made one attempt. I failed – tasted OK but still failed. It wasn’t until this year that I got the time to try again.So, again, I try the Martha Stewart Recipe for Macaron’s from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. I must have done something wrong last time to it was worth trying again. I usually have great success with Martha’s recipes!

Macarons Part 2

For this recipe I used:

1 1/4 Cups of Sifted Icing Sugar
4 Ounces of Ground Almonds
3 Large Egg Whites – Room Temperature
1 Pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla

I started by gathering all of the ingredients together. I lined 2 baking sheets with parchment and marked 12 circles on each sheet with icing sugar and a 2″ cookie cutter.

Macarons Part 2 -Marked Baking Sheets

In a large bowl I whisked together the ground almonds and sifted icing sugar.

Macarons Part 2 – Almonds & Icing Sugar

Next in my mixer, I added the egg whites and started whipping them I added the salt, then  I slowly added the sugar and continued to whip until the mixture had what I thought were medium stiff peaks.

Macarons Part 2- Whipping the Eggs Whites and Sugar

After the egg whites had been whipped, I added the 1/2 of  the almond mixture and folded it in.

Macarons Part 2 -The first Almond Addition

After the almond flour had been just mixed in I added the vanilla.

Macarons Part 2 -Adding the Vanilla

Then it was time to add the rest of the almond mixture and fold it in. Once folded in I firmly tapped the bowl on the counter to release any air.

Macarons Part 2 -Final Almond Addition

At this point I noticed the mixture was much too liquid. There was nothing else to do but continue!

Macarons Part 2 -Ready for the Pastry Bag?

I loaded up the pastry bag. The clip at the end held the liquid mixture back.

Macarons Part 2 -Ready to be Piped

As carefully as I could, I piped the mixture on the sheets.

Macarons Part 2 -Trying to keep in the Lines

I baked the macaron’s in a 300˚ F oven for 20 minutes, turning the pans in the oven to ensure an even bake.

As you can see these macaron’s did not turn out, but I did get the “Pied” or foot! This in itself was a success.

Macarons Part 2 -Baked with Feet!

I was the proud recipient of cracks too! Time to try another recipe.

Macarons Part 2 -Wrong but Tasty!

Baker’s Notes:

  • with this recipe I think the egg whites should have been beaten into very stiff peaks
  • I have since found out that it is very hard to over beat egg whites and sugar
  • it’s possible that humidity is a big factor in making macaron’s – I have no proof, but I do live within 200 meters of the water

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I needed a filling for some upcoming projects. I needed a filling that would be stable – out of the fridge – and tasty. Swiss Meringue seemed like it would fit the bill but I had never made it.I have to say,  for cakes, I do prefer French Butter Cream – and it takes about the same amount of time. It will not, however; be stable outside of the fridge.

When searching my cookbooks for a good recipe I chose one out of Martha Stewart’s – Baking Handbook.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

For this Recipe I used:


4 Large Egg Whites – Room Temperature
1 1/4 cups of Sugar
3 Sticks of Unsalted Butter – Room Temperature (see tip here)
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Ingredients

From my previous experience with other butter cream recipes, I decided to whip the butter in my mixer to ensure it was light and fluffy. I placed the whipped butter in another bowl and set it aside for later.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Whipping the Butter

After I cleaned out the mixer bowl, I brought a pot of water to a light simmer – small bubbles. I placed my mixer bowl over the hot water and added the egg whites and sugar. Using my whisk, I continually mixed the egg whites until all of the sugar had been dissolved and the mixture measured at least 160˚ F.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Heating the Egg Whites & Sugar

Once the egg white mixture had reached it’s temperature and consistency on the heat, I transferred the bowl to my mixer with the whisk attachment.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Whipping the Heated Egg White Mixture

I beat the hot mixture until it was cooled and light and fluffy. The recipe suggest 6 minutes mine took 10 minutes.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Whipped & Cooled

Next I changed the mixer attachment to the flat beater. I beat in butter a couple of tablespoons at a time and beat it well after each addition.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Adding the Butter

I continued to beat and add butter. The process to about 10 minutes. I then added the vanilla and mixed well again. Then it was done!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Ready to Go
The Book

Bakers Notes:

  • ensure the butter is at room temperature
  • make sure there are no granules of sugar in the final heated egg white mixture – they will not disappear
  • should you inadvertently make a grainy butter cream, flavour it with a nut butter or a jam. The crystals will mostly dissolve
  • this recipe stores easily in the fridge (just a few days) or freezer

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