SQUASH DANISH CHEESE BRAID

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Winning Dessert Recipe submitted by Lynn Hennigar

½ recipe of Danish Pastry Dough or 1 sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry

Squash Jam Coarse Sugar for the top

Cream Cheese Filling 1 egg white, beaten

Danish Pastry Dough

¼ cup warm water (105-115F) 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast

½ cup milk, room temperature 1 large egg, room temperature

¼ cup sugar 1 tsp salt

2 ½ cups unbleached flour 8 ounces of cold butter cut into ¼ " slices

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a bowl to soften for 1 minute. Add the milk, egg, sugar and salt. Whisk to mix well.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the flour and then the butter. Pulse 8-10 times until the pieces of butter are less than half of their original size. Do not overmix.

Combine the flour/butter mix ture with the yeast mixture and fold the two together until just moistened. The butter should remain in pieces as this is what crates the flakiness. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Squash Jam

2 cups of Butternut squash cut into pieces 1 cup water

1 cup sugar 1 Tblsp lemon juice

¼ tsp cinnamon freshly grated nutmeg

Cook the first 4 ingredients over medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan until most of the water has evaporated, the squash is glossy and the consistency of jam. About 30-40 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl to cool. Add spices to taste.

Cream Cheese Filling

1 8 oz package cream cheese 1 tsp pure vanilla

1 large egg 1/3 cup sugar

Beat all ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.

Assembly of the Danish

On a lightly floured surface roll the chilled dough into a 10"x16" rectangle. Position on a piece of parchment paper. Spread the Squash Jam covering the middle third of the dough. Spread the cream cheese over the squash allowing some of the Squash Jam to be visible. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife cut 12 -14 slanted lines down each side of the exposed pastry about ¾ " wide strips. Fold the strips over the filling to crisscross the filling and leaving some filling visible. Press ends together gently to seal. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cover with a towel in a warm place and let it rest and rise slightly for about 30 minutes.

Slide parchment onto a baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.