Sunday, June 29, 2008

This is me trying to look like a Daring Baker

My first month into the Daring Bakers clique has been a tasty/time-consuming one.  Maybe they are all like that and maybe that is the life of a true baker.  The question on my mind is "was it worth it?" This month's challenge was Danish Braids hosted by Kelly and Ben.  My brain had a power outage for a second or two when I realized I'd be dealing with yeast laminated dough. May I remind you that I am not much of a baker, I think partly because I have a working knowledge of the time and effort that goes into the really good baked goods. However much I wanted to back out of my first challenge, I stuck with it and am glad I did.






The dough was amazing!  Sure it takes some time folding and chilling it but when your star ingredients are ground cardamom, orange zest/juice, and vanilla bean, you'd be better off making it.  Otherwise you start thinking about it constantly.  I did - I had all month until I finally buckled down and went to work.  I ground my own cardamom seeds (hey, high-five!).  If you make this you must follow the recipe exactly - the taste is not worth sacrificing. 






We were allowed to be creative with our fillings and the first thing that came to mind was my long-standing unfulfilled craving to make a peach melba pie.  I had gone for quite some time under the delusion that the original Peach Melba had alcoholic origins but was pleasantly surprised to find out that is not the case.  Wikipedia says: "The Peach Melba is a classic dessert, invented in 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, London to honour the Australian soprano, Dame Nellie Melba, the stage name of Australian opera singer Helen Porter Mitchell (1861 - 1931). It combines two favorite summer fruits: peaches and raspberry sauce accompanying vanilla ice cream.  He had heard Nellie Melba perform at Covent Garden one night and was inspired to create a dessert just for her. Rumour had it she loved ice cream, but did not dare eat it often, believing it would affect her vocal cords. Escoffier created a sauce of raspberries, redcurrant jelly, sugar and cornstarch. In Peach Melba, the ice cream, being only one element in a whole, would not be as cold and thus not harm her vocal cords. He served it at a dinner she was hosting, presented in an ice sculpture of a swan inspired by the performance of Lohengrin he had seen." Hhhmmm... it makes no mention of a love affair but why else would you make such a lovely dessert presented in an ice sculpture for someone?  This same chef also made the Melba toast for her and "the term is thought to date back to 1897, a year when the singer was very ill and this kind of toast became a staple of her diet." 




Well, so really the only Melba thing about this was the fact that I used peaches and raspberries. I sweetened it with brown sugar, and added a little nutmeg for fun.  I attempted to thicken the juices and where it would have worked wonders in a pie setting, it was still too runny for a braid filling, giving my dainty braid a bleeding effect. 






The recipe makes enough dough for two braids and I had some apple pie filling I had canned a few years ago (yes, still good) and that worked out really good.  The glaze was very much needed and I think if I were to do it again I would go a nutty route, at least on the top.  The dough was nice and flaky and I really liked doing the fruit filling. 





 the apple filled braid





the peach melba filled braid





The dough recipe can be found here and I would have to say it was worth the effort but it is definitely a once or twice a year recipe for me as I just don't have two days to spare very often.  We usually do cinnamon rolls for General Conference weekend and I just might have to work this one into the rotation.

10 comments:

  1. great job on your 1st challenge. your braiding looks very good and love the filing.

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  2. GORGEOUS! Wish I was there to help you eat it. Bravo on your first challenge!

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  3. Oh Yes! Peach Melba sounds awesome! Great job on your first challenge!

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  4. I am so impressed!!! That looks so, so good and I can't imagine myself making something like that. Great job!

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  5. Terrific job. the berries look yummy.

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  6. Wow! this looks amazing! I'm glad you took on the challenge

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  7. Jackie, You will make Neal and Aedan so fat!!!!!
    Is this group going to tackle any Chinese pastries or sweat breads?

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  8. You are my hero! I can't even bake cookies without screwing them up somehow!!!

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  9. That looks delicious! I love when food not only taste good but looks good as well.

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  10. Your braid looks amazing! Your peach melba filling sounds mouth watering too, great job.

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