Gluten Free Puff Pastry and Apricot Almond Danish

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It has taken three tries, but I have finally mastered gluten free puff pastry! In the end, it was not too hard thanks to Gluten Free Girl, who’s fabulous recipe guided me to some buttery flaky goodness. Now I can tackle some of the lovely danish that adorns the pages of Baking with Julia!

Gluten Free Puff Pastry

Adapted from Shauna Ahern’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (137 grams) potato starch
  • 1 cup (137 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup (52 grams) white rice flour!
  • 1/3 cup (52 grams) superfine rice flour (mochi)
  • 2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. fine salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 (or more) ice water

Cut the butter into 1/4-1/2″ cubes. Place cubes on a plate and freeze until solid, about an hour.

Combine the potato starch, cornstarch, white rice flour, super fine flour, xanthan gum, salt and sugar together in a bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients to lighten and aerate.

Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the frozen butter. Turn the mixer on the mixer on the lowest speed and begin to mix. Be, the flour will begin to fly so you may want to hold bowl a clean dish towel on the very outside of the bowl. Turn mixer on and off a few times until the butter begins to soften. Alternately, you can use a pastry blender to do this job. Pour in the ice water and turn mixer on again. Mix until flours have absorbed the water. The dough will look rough. Pour dough out onto a piece of lightly floured (use the super fine rice flour for rolling) parchment paper. Knead dough for a few times until it comes together.

Square off the dough with your hands , and place a piece of parchment on top and roll into a rectangle. Be gentle and go slowly as you create a roughly 8×12″ rectangle, rolling from the center out.

Using the parchment paper, fold the bottom third of the dough towards the middle, and then the top third on top of that. It will have a rough look at this point. Rotate the dough, one -quarter turn to the right, clockwise. This is your first turn! Chill for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough out again to a 8×12″ rectangle. Use a gentle rolling motion and be patient, as this process is a slow one. Once the dough is rolled out, fold it in thirds again. Rotate the dough one-quarter of a turn, clockwise to the right. This is your second turn. Chill for 10 minutes.

Continue to roll the dough in this manner until you have completed four turns. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

When you are ready to use the dough, take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes. Complete two more turns (the 5th and 6th) and then your dough is ready to use. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days or freezer for 1 month.

Apricot Danish

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking with Julia”

Almond Filling

  • 1 cup blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Put the almonds, sugar and butter in the a food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. Scrape the side of the bowl and add the almond extract and egg white. Process to mix. This filling can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Apricot Filling

  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract

Stir the apricots, water and sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Place in the microwave and set to full power and cook for ten minutes, stirring often, until the apricots are soft and puffed and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Place mixture into the food processor and puree , scraping the bowl as needed. Place the puree in a bowl, add the lemon juice and almond extract. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Danish Braid (makes 1 long braid, 6-8 servings)

  • 1/2 recipe of the gluten-free puff pastry dough
  • 1 recipe of almond filling
  • 1 recipe apricot filling
  • 1 large egg white, beaten
  • Sliced almonds, toasted, for topping
  • 2-3 tsp. cold strong coffee for glaze
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted, for glaze

Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 10″ x16″ rectangle. Lift rectangle onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Spread some apricot filling down the length of the center third of the dough. Top with the almond filling, leaving some of the apricot filling peeking out of either side of the dough.

Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut 12 to 14 slanting lines down each side of the dough, angling the cuts from the center of the pastry to the edge of the dough. The flaps you are creating should be 3/4″ wide. Fold the strips of the pastry into the center, criss crossing the filling by alternating one strip from the left with one strip from the right. Lightly press the ends to seal.

Brush the the braid with beaten egg white and sprinkle with the toasted nuts. Cover with a towel and all to rise at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. The braid will look puffy, but will not double in size.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the braid in the center of the oven and bake fro 15-20 minutes or until golden. Cool and prepare the glaze.

Stir the coffee into the confectioner’s sugar, adding just enough coffee to create a smooth glaze. Spoon the glaze into a small zipper-lock plastic bag, seal top, and snip a small corner to create a decorating tube. Glaze braid with zigzags and allow to set before serving.

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