Braided Tart Cherry & Chocolate Danish Pastries

Summary

Total Time: 2 hours
Prep: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 twists (8-10 servings)
Level: Advanced

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces frozen Montmorency tart cherries
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 package (two sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate chunks, divided
  • 1 egg
  • Raw or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

Place frozen Montmorency tart cherries in a sieve or strainer and set over top of a bowl. Let thaw, catching any juices that drain off in the bowl below. Measure out 2 tablespoons juice (or, if there is not that much juice in the bowl, add enough water to equal 2 tablespoons) and place in a small bowl. Whisk in cornstarch until smooth and no chunks remain.

Place semi-thawed cherries in a saucepan along with granulated sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once mixture begins to boil, stir cornstarch juice again to re-mix, and pour into saucepan. Return to a boil and cook until thickened, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly cooled. (Filling can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to assemble).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out one sheet of puff pastry until it is about 10 inches square. Using a ruler or (if your pastry was folded) the fold lines to lightly mark the square into thirds vertically.

Then, again using the ruler, divide the pastry horizontally into even sections. Approximately 12 to 16 depending on how thin you’d like your braids. I simply used the width of the ruler to divide mine into 6 sections, then split the distance and divided it into thinner sections.

Using a knife or rotary cutter, cut along the horizontal markings, just on the left and right thirds of the pastry. Leave the center section intact and uncut.

Trim and remove the corner sections from each of the 4 corner strips. Transfer the sheet of parchment with the pastry to a baking sheet.

Spread half of the cool cherry filling evenly in the center section of the pastry. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of chocolate chips.

Fold the top flap down over the filling. Then, gently lift and drape the top left strip over the center filling, folding it slightly on a diagonal so it matches up with the next section down. Press lightly to adhere. Then fold the top right strip over the center and down in the same manner. Repeat with the remaining strips, alternating left and right down the length of the pastry to form a braided pastry. Before you fold the second to last row, fold up the top flap over the filling, then fold one of the second to last strips diagonally over it, pinching the edges to seal. Trim off the last strips and discard.

Whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon of cold water until even. Brush on a thin layer of egg, then sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake pastry for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and flaky. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Repeat as desired for second pastry (filling will also keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or the freezer for up to one month if you’d like to save the rest for later).

Recipe courtesy of Lindsay Landis, LoveandOliveOil.com