I've recently been making this delicious recipe for breakfast the last couple weekends! They are so good and everyone LOVES them!! :-) It takes some planning ahead, and some extra time and effort to make the dough, but it's DEFINITELY worth it! If you love Danishes, then these will be right up your alley. ;-)
This recipe makes two braids: enough for a medium size family and/or company. I doubled the recipe for my family and it was the perfect amount!
So without further ado...Here's the recipe!
- 1/4 cup (60ml) warm water, 105F-115F degrees
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 standard package)
- 1/2 cup (120ml) milk, at room temperature*
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/2 cups (315g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 14 Tablespoons (210g) unsalted butter, cold
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8oz (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds (optional)
- 1 c. Frozen or fresh blueberries
- 2 TB. Sugar
- 1 Tb Corn Starch
- 1 TB. Lemon juice
- 2 TB Water
- 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) heavy cream (or milk)
Directions for the Dough:
- Whisk the yeast and warm water together in a large bowl. Allow to sit for 3 minutes until foamy. Add milk, egg, granulated sugar, and salt. Once these wet ingredients are mixed together, set the bowl aside and make your butter/flour mixture.
- Cut butter into 1/4 inch slices and add to a food processor or blender. Top with flour. Pulse the mixture 10-12 times, until butter is fairly crumbled.
- Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Very gently fold the two mixtures together. Do not be angry with the dough! You want to be very, very, very gentle when you are folding the two together. Fold *just until* the dry ingredients are moistened. The butter must remain in pieces, which creates a flaky pastry. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough up tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- After 4-12 hours, take the dough out of the refrigerator to begin the "rolling and folding" process. Flour a work surface. The dough will be sticky, so make sure you have flour nearby as you roll and fold. Using the palm of your hands, gently flatten the dough into a small square. From there, roll out into a 15 inch long rectangle using your rolling pin. You may have to continue to lightly flour the counter as you are rolling. Fold the dough together as if it were a business letter. And roll it out into a 15 inch long rectangle again. Then, fold again into a business letter. You'll repeat rolling and folding 1 more time for a total of 3 times.
- Fold the dough up tightly, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
- After at least 30 minutes, take the dough from the refrigerator and cut it in half. Wrap 1 half up and keep chilled as you work with the first half. Roll out your dough to make a 12x6 inch rectangle. I rolled this dough out onto a floured work surface, but I suggest you roll it out onto a lined baking sheet. (Lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.) It is tough to transfer the braided dough from the counter to the baking sheet, unless you are very careful!
- Cut off two corners of the dough and then two small triangles at the other end.
- Cut slanting strips (3/4 inch - 1 inch each) along both sides. I used a very sharp knife, but a pastry wheel or pizza cutter will work just fine. I find this video VERY helpful.
Directions for Filling, Baking, and Icing
- Make the cream cheese filling: in a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and egg yolk together on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
- Meanwhile add all the blueberry sauce ingredients together in a saucepan, and cook until thick and bubbly. Blueberry sauce should be very thick.
- Spread 1/2 of the cream cheese filling down the length of the center of the strip. Spread 1/2 of the blueberry sauce on top of that by dropping small spoonful's over the cream cheese filling.
- Fold the strips one by one over each other until you reach the bottom, then fold the bottom end up to "seal" the filling in and allow the braid to rest for 15-20 minutes as you preheat your oven. Repeat with the second half of the dough and the rest of the filling.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Beat the egg wash ingredients together. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash. There will be enough egg wash for both braids. The egg wash gives your pastry that beautiful sheen.
- Bake each braid for 15-16 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to rotate the pan at least two times to ensure the braid is browning evenly.
- Meanwhile, wisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth.
- Remove the braids from the oven. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Drizzle with glaze, slice, and enjoy!