Love and Olive Oil

Braided Tart Cherry & Chocolate Danish Pastries

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Tart Cherry & Chocolate Danish Twist Breakfast Pastry

Twisted and flaky, fruity and chocolatey, this pastry is all I ever want for breakfast from here on out (Cereal? What is that?)

This pastry is serious business. I mean, I’ll be honest, it’s basically pie. But pie that you’re allowed to eat for breakfast (see what I did there? By calling it a Danish I made it perfectly fine to eat dessert for breakfast. That’s winning right there.)

Chocolate and Tart Cherry Danish Twist Breakfast Pastry

One of these days I’ll master making homemade Danish, but for now, puff pastry is a perfectly suitable substitution and lord knows it’s way easier to deal with. So easy in fact that you might just impress yourself with your fancy new pastry skills.

Tart Cherry & Chocolate Chunk Braided Danish Pastry

Let’s talk about the tart cherry filling for a second, because that’s where this pastry, as pretty as it is on the outside, really shines.

It’s not much different than my Cherry Pie Filling, just a little bit thicker and with a little bit of vanilla in addition to the almond extract. It highlights the bright tart cherry flavor at the same time as the sugar mellows it, a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

The chocolate, well, let’s just call that a little bonus. :)

You can make the filling a day ahead of time, then braid and bake your pastries in the morning, slicing and serving them while they are still perfectly warm and melty.

As for the braiding, there are a number of different techniques for doing this, and quick google search brings up numerous tutorials with videos and pictures galore. But it’s really quite simple, easier even than braiding hair (WAY easier than braiding your own hair… that is a skill I doubt I’ll ever master).

I used the folds of the puff pastry and a ruler to lightly mark my strips before cutting, giving me straight and even lines. Yes, I used a ruler, but I didn’t actually do any measuring. Rather the width of the ruler became the template for my sections. It doesn’t really matter how many sections you end up with, so don’t hurt your brain with any complicated puff pastry math. Just know that fewer, thicker sections will yield a thicker braid, and thinner strips will make a smaller more delicate pattern. I ended up with (lucky) 13 and it was just about right.

How to Make a Braided Danish Pastry

Many braided Danishes are drizzled with sugary glazes, and I opted not to in this case, feeling the rich fruit and chocolate filling was more than enough sweetness to go around. The raw sugar sprinkled on top gives the pastry a little extra sparkle, and a delightful crunch.

Tart Cherry Danish Twist Breakfast Pastry

I’ll go ahead and say it now: this might just be the year of tart cherries. Last year saw a passionfruit overload, the year before that was decidedly hibiscus. My fruitful obsessions seem to permeate all sorts of things, from dinner to dessert to breakfast, and this is obviously no exception. I’m very excited to be working with the Cherry Marketing Institute, to bring you all sorts of tart cherry goodness over the course of the year. I couldn’t be more excited about this partnership, and I hope you are too! I may as well just hang a big sign around my neck that says: WILL WORK FOR FRUIT.

But hey, when you’re dealing with something as deliciously unique as a tart cherry, can you blame me?

Braided Tart Cherry & Chocolate Chunk Danish

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces frozen tart cherries
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 package (2 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:

  1. Place frozen 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Spread half of the cool cherry filling evenly in the center section of the pastry. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of chocolate chips.
  9. 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.
  10. Whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon of cold water until even. Brush on a thin layer of egg, then sprinkle with raw sugar.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).
All images and text © Lindsay Landis /

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20 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. I prepare something quite similar with pears and chocolate instead. But my braiding technique is ridiculously terrible compared to yours. hahaha! Thanks for sharing because I’ve finally learned how to get that flawless result!
    xx,
    E.

  2. Oh my goodness, this looks amazing! We were just in Copenhagen last week and I could definitely see something like this selling in their bakeries. :) 

  3. This looks so delicious! This might be Valentines Day Breakfast. I will more thank likely sub in raspberries as cherries really aren’t our thing in my house.  Great tutorial! 

  4. Wow this looks incredible! Agree with Rachel – perfect for valentines day.

  5. This is SO pretty!! My mind is racing with all of the different filling possibilities for this pretty braided pastry!

  6. Can this danish be my Valentine? :-)

  7. I love Danish and I love tart cherries. In fact I just had dried tart cherries in my oatmeal this AM. I love this recipe!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Yum! Flaky, sweet, tart, chocolate goodness. I think this means I need to find an excuse to host a brunch. Or like…Tuesday or something. 

  9. this is so lovely… braided pastries always look so intimidating, but you made it look so simple! thanks for the inspiration and lovely recipe!

  10. This danish looks so incredibly delicious, Lindsay! And your photos are just perfect. <3 

  11. Hiya i’m interested in purchasing your recipe book (The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook), but am really not sure. Can i ask ,are most, if not all, your recipes in said cookbook suitable for those on a strictly halal/kosher diet?

  12. I tried this recipe and was so happy with how it turned out. I am very scared of the oven and baking in general, your step by step instructions were so helpful for a beginner like me.
    Ofcourse mine did not turn out even half as pretty but it was still good and tasted good as well.

  13. That Danish looks incredible! …beautiful photos, too :D

  14. This recipe called to me but I didn’t have any cherries – tart or otherwise – so I improvised and filled the pastry with apple pie filling from the can that I chopped into smaller pieces .  I added softened craisins and some cinnamon.  The instructions for braiding were flawless and it came out amazing.  I hope to try the cherry version one day but the apple version was terrific.

  15. tart cherry breakfast pie that I don’t have to make homemade pastry for? I’m in! Seriously, everything about this is fabulous! <3

  16. I made this today and it’s beautiful! just fyi though – you forgot to mention in the recipe instructions when to add the extracts.

  17. Made this for my family for Valentine’s Day. Not only was it delicious but made a beautiful Valentine addition to my table.

    Now I’m wondering if it would be as good made with blueberries. I have a freezer full of handpicked blueberries.

  18. VERY GOOD DETAIL ON THE BRAIDING OF THE PUFF PASTRY. WHEN DO YOU ADD THE ALMOND AND VANILLA EXTRACTS? BEFORE OR AFTER THE BOILING?

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