Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Easy Pastry Braid

Are you looking for a breakfast treat to serve over the holidays? This pastry braid is easy and delicious. It also makes a beautiful presentation, making it special for company. My mom has made this recipe for years, but I don't know where it originated from.
You can use any filling you like. Make your own, or use store-bought pie filling. I came up with this pumpkin filling, because I just can't get enough pumpkin these days. This recipe makes two, so you can make two different flavors if you want.

Pastry Braid (makes two)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 package yeast
1 tsp sugar
Set this aside.

In another bowl, mix:
3 egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
Set this aside.

Stir together in large bowl:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
Cut in 1 stick of butter.

Pumpkin Filling
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1-2 TBS sugar
2 TBS half and half
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
pinch of nutmeg
Just whisk it all together. This really only makes enough for one braid; I don't think you could stretch it for two. I made my other one blueberry, which I didn't photograph, because it didn't look as pretty, so we promptly ate it!

Mix wet ingredients together then mix that into flour mixture. Just stir until well blended. Refrigerate dough for one hour. Divide dough into two pieces. Roll each half into a long rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Important! Do this one at a time and after you roll it out and before filling the dough, place your rectangle on a cookie sheet. I always line it with parchment paper first, but you may be able to just spray it instead.

It's much easier to move your rectangle than to move it after you've filled it; I learned this the hard way. Now, your rectangle is facing you vertically. You want to visually divide it into three sections. You can divide them with a pizza cutter lightly without cutting through, if that helps. Spread your filling of choice down the center. You only need about a cup, by the way. Overfilling is a big mistake! Okay, now take your pizza cutter or knife and cut about six slits on each side. The amount will vary. Now just braid them, overlapping the pieces of dough. Allow the braids to sit about 20 minutes. I forgot to do this once and they still tasted great, but I think it improves the texture to let them raise a bit. Bake on 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until golden. Let cool, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Hope you enjoy this favorite of mine!


gina said...

Mmmm! So glad I stocked up on pumpkin.

Jessi said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! I almost made some yesterday but didn't have any whipping cream...so glad I read this post 'cause I'm definitely going to use the pumpkin filling.