Prune Danish Braid (use up your leftover lekvar)

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I had leftover lekvar and I mulled over all these creative options for using it up in a dessert. When I presented these options to my husband, along with the option of a simple prune danish, my husband voted for the danish.

The filling for this danish can be straight-up lekvar spooned out from the jar, but I decided to make it a little more interesting. Walnuts, mini mocha chips and an orange-vanilla glaze add extra texture and flavor.

As far as the dough is concerned, I use a few tricks to make and bake the dough extra quickly: (1) putting the dough in a warm oven to push it to rise faster; (2) folding the dough at intervals to strengthen it instead of kneading; and (3) putting the shaped dough in the oven after a very short (15 minute) rising period. With these tricks, the recipe will take about 1 3/4 hours from assembling your ingredients to pulling the danish out of the oven. If you take things a little slower or allow for a slightly longer rising time, it will take closer to 2 hours from assembling your ingredients to pulling the finished danish from the oven.

If you double the dough, you can make two small challahs plus the danish.

 

100 Minute Prune Danish Braid
The dough is tweaked a bit from a recipe for challah that appeared on a website that seems to have disappeared. The recipe I started from was by Andew Zajac, who seems to have removed his website. The recipe lives on at CookEatShare thanks to a posting by Linda. For my earlier posts about this, go here and here. If you prefer to use your own challah dough, you will need the amount you would use for a medium challah (16-20 ounces). You can use a smaller piece of dough, such as a 12 ounce piece, but you will have to adjust the amount of filling and the baking time. I note at each step how much time should have elapsed (e.g, the step for mixing the dough is minutes 2-10, meaning that when you mix the dough, 2 minutes should have already elapsed and the mixing should take another 8 minutes).

Combine (min. 1-2):
1/2 cup warm water (you might need 2/3 cup water if the dough seems a little dry)
3/4 tsp. yeast

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and combine ingredients in mixing bowl (min. 2-10):
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
2-3 Tbl. sugar (either amount is fine)
2-3 Tbl.  oil (either amount is fine)
2 cups unbleached flour (all-purpose or bread is fine)

If the dough is a bit dry, you might need to add a little extra water. The dough should be a little sticky, not dry.

Turn off the oven and place the (covered) bowl of dough into the oven for 14 minutes (min. 10-25). It also works to place the dough on a baking sheet lined with greased parchment. This is my preferred method. If you do this, cover the dough with another piece of greased parchment or use a piece of parchment large enough to completely cover the dough, top and bottom.

Take bowl of dough (or the baking sheet with the covered dough) out of oven and place dough on floured surface (not necessary to move dough if it is on the baking sheet–the main advantage of this method–you can fold the dough right on the greased baking sheet). Flatten dough and fold like an envelope (fold in thirds top to bottom and then in thirds side to side). Put back into bowl, cover, and put bowl (or baking sheet with the covered dough) into oven for another 14 min. (min. 25-40).

Take bowl (or baking sheet with the dough) out of oven and repeat the above folding process. Put back in oven for another 9 min. (min. 40-49).

Prepare a surface for shaping the dough (you can use the baking sheet for this).  Grease or flour the surface for shaping the dough (min. 49-50).

Shape the dough into a 1/4″ thick rectangle that is close to the size of the baking sheet, about 11″x16″ and spoon lekvar down the center third of the dough (note: if you are using a smaller piece of dough, you might need to shape it into a 11″ square instead). Sprinkle over chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. Slash the two outer thirds of the dough into strips which you braid  (go here or here to see a tutorial on braiding danish dough (min. 50-60):
1 cup lekvar (approximately, you need enough to cover the center third of the dough with a 1/8″-1/4″ layer of filling)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (approximate amount–can add a little more or less as desired or leave out entirely)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (approximate amount–can add more or less as desired or leave out entirely)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover the braid to let it rise (min. 60-70).

Beat egg & brush over braid (min. 70-75):
1 egg

Bake danish at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (min. 75-100).

When the danish is cool, you can drizzle over a glaze made from 1/2 cup of powdered sugar mixed with 1 Tbl. orange juice and 1 tsp. vanilla. If the glaze is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a little more liquid.

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One Response to “Prune Danish Braid (use up your leftover lekvar)”

  1. Couldn't be parve Says:

    What a beautiful and delicious way to use up the levkar!

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