Thursday, July 14, 2011

Apple Braid

On Saturday, I was feeling a little bit domestic. I cooked a pretty yummy dinner (ok, so I only marinated the chicken and then made Stephen BBQ it, but the baked broccoli was all me), and even got started on some dessert. While we were waiting for the broccoli to bake, Stephen turned to me and asked, “What’s for dessert?” I asked what would even make him think that there would be dessert, and he said that “we’re dessert people”. I guess we sort of are. I mean, I bake. It’s just what I do. Birthday coming up? I’ll bake! Just passed your driver’s test? I’ll bake! Been feeling under the weather lately? I’ll bake! As you can see, we’re dessert people. Luckily for Stephen, I had spent the afternoon on Pinterest (why must I be so addicted?) and found a recipe for this apple braid. Pinterest also happens to be where I found my recipes for the chicken and broccoli. So actually, my afternoon on Pinterest was productive. Yay!

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My intentions were to prep the apple braid before dinner, right up to the point where you throw it in the oven, so that after dinner, I could bake it and we could have fresh out of the oven apple braid. However, the dough was stubborn. It came together easily, but when it came to the point here you’re supposed to turn it out on the counter and knead it, it just wasn’t cooperating. The dough was extremely tough, so I couldn’t roll it out. After a few choice words and a lot of frustration, I discovered the problem; the dough just needed time to rise. The recipe I used didn’t call for this, but that’s all it took to get my dough to cooperate. I let it rise while we were eating, then proceeded with the recipe. Worked like a charm! I’ve added the rising time to the recipe below, but you can always leave that out if your dough is soft and c0mpliant.

Apple Braid
Adapted from La Fuji Mama via Eat, Live, Run!

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp instant yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp vegetable oil

1. Whisk together bread flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Mix in water and oil.
2. Using the dough hook on a stand mixer, mix for about 6 minutes.
3. Turn out the dough onto a well greased surface and knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Let rise for about an hour.

Just before the dough has finished rising, prepare the filling.

3 Granny Smith Apples
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Mix together with cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice, then place in a baking dish.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside. Keep oven on.

Once the dough has finished rising, Roll it out into large rectangle, 12”x16”. Place on a greased baking sheet.
Using a pizza cutter, cut each side into strips approximately 1” wide. Leave the middle third of the dough intact.

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Spread the apple filling along the middle of the dough.

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Fold the strips of dough crisscross the filling by alternating strips from each side, making sure to press the ends down to seal.

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Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

1/3 cup icing sugar
5 tsp whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of nutmeg

1. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.
2. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the top of the apple braid. Let cool before serving.


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