Danish Braid -- Daring Bakers

This months Daring Bakers Challenge was the Danish Braid. This was my first attempt at making a pastry dough. I was so looking forward to the end product and I must say I was not disappointed in the least. The sheer joy of biting into a flaky home baked pastry is something I will remember for a long time to come! :)

The recipe is from the book Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking.


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.

>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.

>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.

>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.

>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.

We were allowed to use a filling of our choice, sweet or savory. If I made a sweet one I knew hubby dear wouldn't come within miles of it :D so I made a savory one, with an Indian touch to it...err...a little more than just a touch! :P

Peas & Potato Filling:
Makes enough for two braids

You will need:

3 medium sized Potatoes, cubed and boiled
1/2 cup Peas, boiled
2 Onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp Corriander powder
1 tsp Cumin powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp Crushed Kasthuri Methi
2 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions and minced garlic.Saute till onions are soft and garlic is fragrant. Add the cumin, turmeric, corriander and red chilli powders. Saute for a minute. Now add the boiled potatoes and peas. Combine well and cook for a minute more. Season with salt and let the mixture cool completely.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough (see above)
2 cups Peas & Potato Filling (see above)

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

>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.
>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.
>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
>Spray cooking oil 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.
>Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
>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.

The pastry dough was extremely simple and the instructions were so precise that there was no reason to go wrong. I was very happy when the braid took shape and it actually looked like a braid :D I also halved the dough recipe and made only one braid.

Thanks to Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’? for the wonderful challenge. I definitely enjoyed this challenge a lot, and learned a few things too.

Tres Leche

Tres Leche or "three milk" cake is a Mexican dessert. A spongy cake, soaked in three types of milk and topped with lots of whipped cream and fresh fruit, this is the ultimate dessert to beat the summer heat. Its good for any occasion and will surely have your guests clambering for seconds :D

You will need:

For the Cake:
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups Sugar
2 cups All purpose flour (Maida)
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream topping:
1 (14 oz) can evaporated milk
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Whole Milk

1 (12oz) tub Cool Whip or 1 cup Whipping cream
Fresh fruit – mangoes/pineapple/strawberries

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually with the mixer running and till stiff peaks are formed. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk. (Do this quickly so the batter does not lose volume.) Add the vanilla. Bake until golden, 25 minutes.

To make the cream topping: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and milk, blend on high speed.

Remove the cake from the oven and while still warm, pour the cream mixture over it. Let sit and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

To assemble: Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the cool whip evenly across the top. Arrange the cut fresh fruit (whatever you are using) and serve. If you are using whipping cream, beat the cream till it forms peaks and then spread it over the cake. Refrigerate for an hour or two so that the topping can set and then serve.

Sabudana Thalipeeth - One Hot Stove

This month, Nupur's One Hot Stove is in the spotlight for the Tried and Tested event. Nupur has a mouth watering array of recipes on her blog and it was a hard choice to make while cooking for this event. I finally decided to make the Sabudana Thalipeeth, something I have never eaten before. You can find the original recipe here.

You will need:

1 Cup Sabudana ( Sago)
2 Potatoes, boiled and mashed
1/4 Cup roasted Peanuts, chopped
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 Green chillies chopped
1/4 cup Cilantro chopped
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Soak Sabudana for 4 hours, till its soft. Drain the water and reserve in a bowl. To this add the mashed potatoes, chopped roasted peanuts, cumin seeds, green chillies, cilantro and salt. Combine.

In a non stick skillet, heat a tbsp of oil. Make golf sized balls of the mixture and pat on an oiled plastic sheet or foil. Roast in the oil on both sides, till crisp.

These tasted good by themselves so I didn't bother making an accompaniment. It was absolutely lip smacking!!!

Thanks Nupur for a wonderful recipe. This is off to Zlamushka over at Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen.

Channa (Chickpea) Chaat

Street food is the best way to eat when you are in a country as diverse as India. From chatpati Chaat to mouth watering desserts like Falooda and ice candy, there is something fun about standing on the road side and munching on these good eats!

Chaat of any kind is always welcome and I haven’t come across any Indian yet (is there one?) who doesn’t like chaat.

I was blog hopping in search of a dish for this month's MBP, in the nth moment (like always!) and finally decided to look in my bookmarked recipes. And there it was….Lahori Channa Chaat or Chickpea Chaat. Just the name made me drool. We had an informal house warming party and chickpea chaat was on one of the sides on the menu.

The original recipe is from here. I made a few changes to suit our taste, the recipe is as follows.

You will need:

2 (8 oz) cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 Cup Channa, soaked overnight and boiled)
4 Green Chillies cut lengthwise at an angle
¾ cup chopped Red onion
1 tbsp Lemon juice
Chopped Cilantro
2 Tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp Chaat Masala powder
Salt to taste

Mix all of the above ingredients except the salt and refrigerate for a couple of hours or more. Add the salt right before serving, this ensures that the salad doesn’t become a watery mess and stays together.

This chaat was out of this world and I’m glad I got a chance to make it.

This is my entry to MBP – Street Food guest hosted by dear Sia of Monsoon Spice and originally started by Coffee of The Spice CafĂ©.

Spicy Chickpeas & Eggplant Curry

This curry combines simple flavours to make a great tasting dish. I had no idea eggplant could pair so well with chickpeas until I tried this dish.

You will need:

1 large Eggplant cubed
4 Tomatoes cubed
1 (8 oz) can Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) or 1 Cup soaked overnight and boiled
½ tsp Cumin powder
½ tsp Corriander powder
1 1/2 tsp Chilli powder (adjust to suit taste)
1 Onion chopped
2 Garlic cloves chopped
3 tbsp Olive oil

For the Garnish:
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 onion sliced
1 Garlic clove chopped
Sprigs of fresh coriander (cilantro)

Heat the 3 tbsp Olive Oil in a pan. Add the chopped garlic and onion, cook until soft. Add the spices and cook, stirring for a few seconds. Now add the cubed eggplant, stir and let cook till eggplant is soft. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas. Add ½ cup water and season with salt. Cover and and simmer for 15 minutes.

To make the garnish, heat oil in another pan and sauté the sliced onions and garlic. Fry until golden and crisp.

Serve the curry with hot rice, topped with the onion garnish and sprigs of cilantro. The onion garnish was out of this world, absolutely lip smacking!

Mom’s Pav Bhaji

The last time I made Pav bhaji was using the Pav Bhaji masala powder which is readily available. When I told my mom, she said, that’s not how I make it…we use our own masala. I was wondering why I hadn’t learned this one dish from mom yet. So this is mom’s version of the Bhaji in Pav Bhaji.

You will need:

4 Tomatoes
1 lb Potatoes (about ½ kg)
1 cup Green Peas (fresh/frozen)
2-3 Green Bell peppers finely chopped
2 Onions finely chopped
6-8 Green Chillies
4-5 pods of Garlic
½ stick Butter
½ Cup fresh Corriander, chopped

Dry Masala Powders:
1 tsp Cumin Powder
2 tsp Corriander Powder
1 tsp Red chilli powder
¼ tsp Amchur (Dried Mango) powder
¼ tsp Chaat Masala
A pinch Garam Masala powder

Salt to taste
Juice from 1 Lemon

Boil the potatoes, peel and grate. Set aside. Boil fresh/frozen peas, drain.

In a blender, puree the tomatoes, green chillies and garlic. Blend to make a smooth paste.

Heat 2 tbsp Butter in a pan. Add the chopped onions and bell peppers. Saute till onions are soft and translucent and the bell peppers are cooked through. Now add the puree and all the dry masala powders. Bring to a simmering boil on medium heat and let boil for 10 minutes. This helps bring all the flavours together. Add the grated potato and season with salt. Let boil for another 5 minutes and check for seasoning. Add water if the bhaji is too thick. Lastly add the the lemon juice and 2 more tbsp of Butter. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with buttered, toasted Pav.

I’m glad mom told me how to make this, I know I am not going to miss the instant Pav Bhaji masala anymore!

Heads up for Appetizers

This month’s theme for the Monthly Mingle is Appetizers and bite sized food. I have made several appetizers in the past and decided to send them in for MM.

Black Bean and Corn Cutlets

Santa Fe Wraps

Peas and Spinach Rolls

Ribbon Sandwiches

All of these make great finger food no matter what the occasion.

Monthly Mingle is an event started by Meeta of What's for Lunch Honey, now guest hosted by Mansi of Fun & Food.

Kesar Mango Kulfi:

Mango Kulfi brings back sweet childhood memories of summers spent in my granny’s house in Bangalore with my cousins. Summers brings a bounty of mangoes in all shapes, sizes and of course shades of yellow and green. Mom always had her ice cream classes during the summer, and that meant different flavours of ice cream for us to dig into throughout the blazing season. She even taught Kulfis and Ice candies, we waited for these classes more eagerly than the students taking them!! :-D

Mom used to make the Malai Kulfis as well as the Mango ones. And the Kesar Mango Kulfi was everyone’s favourite.

You will need:

2 Cups Mango Pulp
½ Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk (adjust acc to taste)
3 tbsp Chopped Pistachios
3 tbsp Chopped Cashews
½ tsp Saffron Strands
1 Tsp Gelatin powder or Agar Agar cut into small bits
2 tbsp Water

Dissolve gelatin or agar agar in hot water. Let cool and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Check for sweetness and add more condensed milk if required.

Pour into moulds or small containers and freeze for 4-6 hours. Let sit on the counter for 5 minutes before unmoulding and serving.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin