Oh the shame! If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that we have just started some renovations on the house. While the work is on we have had to empty out rooms to allow the tradespeople in unhindered to do their jobs. This means, of course, we have filled the remaining rooms of the house with piles of boxes and furniture. If there was a clear surface to be had it has since been filled and now we have even encroached into the kitchen area. We are currently waiting for the plasterer to come so there has been no point moving our stuff back to their original rooms only to have to move it all back out again. At the same time we have had recurring problems with our internet connection and Telstra came today to fix the fault on the line and this is where the shame part comes in. In order for the technician to finish the job he had to come inside to look at the modem which, of course, meant I had to bring him through the side of the house that has stuff piled all the way through it. I did my usual spiel of “excuse the mess we are in the middle of renovations”, usually this gets you a look of commiseration and understanding this time however I got a look of “sure you are darling, personally I think you are in denial and are a candidate for tv’s ‘Secret Hoarders’ programme….” He seemed to fully expect an army of cats to appear at any moment.
Luckily, I did have just enough bench space to make this week’s “Baking with Julia” challenge: a Danish Braid. The first step is to make a rough Danish pastry, I chose to use this version by Dan Lepord rather than the recipe in the book, mainly because it was on my list of recipes to try and it looked relatively easy. Once the dough is made it is simply a matter of choosing your fillings. I went with a black cherry jam and topped it with crème patissiere. I’m a big fan of individual portions so I made smaller versions rather than one big one. I did have a couple of casualties with the first two attempts. The first one I put too much filling in the centre and the second I made too small so it was too hard to do the braid. Third time was a charm and I managed to get just the right amount of filling ratio to pastry. The end result was a delicious jammy and custard filling encased in a flaky pastry. These are definitely best eaten the day they are made.
The original recipe can be found on page 205 of Baking with Julia.
Check here to see how the others in our baking group fared.