Follow these easy instructions and create flaky, buttery raspberry Danish braids at home. You can be a master in the kitchen too, I promise!
I’ve spent the past four days trying to master light-as-air Danish pastry. My apartment smells like a bread factory. Not that I’m complaining. If you follow me on Instagram, surely you’ve been seeing me in action.
Danish pastry has been on my baking bucket list for quite some time. I have always loved those fruity danishes at bakeries, catered breakfasts, office meetings, and hotel breakfasts. I mean, look at that puffy dough! Danish pastries are so hard to resist. It was only a matter of time that I put on my big girl pants and attempted my beloved pastry at home.
I’ve studied, tested, and retested dough this past week. I’ve taken 1,000 pictures and have gone through a few pounds of butter. (Thank goodness for the butter sale I caught at my grocery store.) My resulting dough is a quick-method to Danish pastry. It’s an adaption of several trusted sources: Cooking Illustrated, Joy of Cooking, and pastry master Beatrice Ojakangas. I sort of mish-mashed all of the recipes I studied and made my own version of this flaky, buttery dough. Then I turned it into a beautiful braided pastry. By my 3rd try, I was incredibly pleased with my braiding skills! Practice makes perfect, after all.
In an effort to keep this post from being way too long, I’ve created a separate post for how to make this pastry dough. Filled with in-process photos and tips so you can have a visual of what you’re supposed to be doing. You’ll find the Iced Raspberry Danish Braid recipe below, but there will be a link to how to make the dough itself (again, with in-process photos).
Alright, let’s talk dough.
What is Danish Pastry?
Danish pastry is made from flour, yeast, milk, eggs, and copious amounts of butter. The texture is similar to croissant dough, but tastes sweeter (and has the addition of egg in the dough). Like croissants, typical Danish pastry dough is rolled out thinly, then folded into numerous layers with a butter square. Flaky, buttery layers. That’s what makes it so good!
My Shortcut to Danish Pastry
Rather than laminating the dough with a butter square like Danish and croissant dough typically requires, I cut the cold butter into the dough. Which is a method I use for making my favorite pie crust. You’ll still get the flaky, buttery layers you love about Danish pastries, but you’ll cut a lot of work from the process.
Before you begin to make your Danish braid, I suggest reading through my entire dough recipe. The recipe takes some planning ahead. Certain ingredients must be at room temperature, certain ingredients must be warm, certain ingredients must be cold. Temperature is very imperative to the success of your Danish pastry dough! So be sure to be prepared by reading my instructions first. The dough must be sufficiently chilled whenever you are working with it.
There are two stages of chilling:
- Chill the dough right after you prepare it. Chill it in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours. (And up to 3 whole days.)
- Chill the dough after the “roll and fold” process (of which I detail in the pastry dough recipe) and before you braid it. Chill for at least 30 minutes. During this second chilling time, you could actually keep the dough frozen for up to 1 month. Then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Because of all the chilling, this pastry is a wonderful recipe to begin the night before and serve as brunch the next morning. Or even prep the dough a few days in advance so your work can be cut down. Or if you’re super organized (I’m jealous), make the dough 1 month ahead of time. I detail make-ahead instructions in the pastry dough recipe.
It’s important to know that the dough recipe makes 2 lbs of dough, which equals 2 braids. The filling and glaze recipes below are enough for 2 braids. 1 braid should serve 4-6 people. Make 2 braids for company. If you don’t need that many tempting danishes around, freeze the second half of the dough for a later time.
I chose an easy raspberry filling for my Danish pastry. Raspberry danishes are my pick of the litter, though cream cheese danishes steal my heart too.
(Updated: here’s my cream cheese version!)
The raspberry filling is made from scratch on the stove. You’ll need fresh or frozen raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and water. That’s it! You could certainly use store-bought raspberry jam instead (1 cup per braid). But homemade is always better, right?
The raspberry juices will lightly spill out of the sides as it bakes.
The homemade raspberry filling isn’t overly sweet. With my first braid, I found that a lot of the pure raspberry flavor was lost with too much sugar. Easy fix. I just reduced the amount of sugar in the homemade filling with my second try. (The recipe below reflects that.)
You don’t want a too-sweet filling because you’ll be covering the danish with vanilla glaze.
Let’s talk about the glaze for a second. Only 3 ingredients – cream (or milk), confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix it all together. You’re done! Give the warm pastry a drizzle of the glaze and watch as it seeps into every buttery dough crevice. Glaze is not an option; it’s completely necessary for my danishes. 😉
This homemade pastry is a far cry from those dull-tasting, sticky, and overly sweet danishes you’re used to finding at the store. My mom put it perfectly “store bought danishes taste so old.” Yes, they do. And they’re filled with a bunch of gunk I can’t even pronounce.
It’s simple to create a tender, flaky pastry dough at home. Truly, it is. Just take some time to read through the easy instructions before you begin. And plan ahead. That will make the whole pastry-making-process much easier for you! It’s not rocket science, it’s fruity pastry. Don’t be overwhelmed by my wordy instructions. The more thorough I am, the more help you have to make a successful braided pastry.
You can do this!
Iced Raspberry Danish Braids
- 1 recipe Homemade Danish Pastry Dough (step-by-step photos included)
- 2 and 1/2 cups raspberries, fresh (300g) or frozen (340g)
- 3 Tablespoons (40g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) warm water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream (or milk)
- The first step is to make the raspberry filling. Whisk together the warm water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir and allow the raspberries to break down, about 4 minutes. Mix in the cornstarch/water. Gently simmer for 3 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Set aside to come to room temperature before using. You can also keep it chilled in the refrigerator.
- Make the pastry dough through step 10.
- As the braids are baking, prepare the vanilla glaze by whisking all of the ingredients together. After 10 minutes of cooling, drizzle the braids with glaze and serve immediately.
- Braids taste best served on the same day. Dough may be prepared in advance. See "make ahead" instructions in the pastry dough recipe.
Did you make a recipe?
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