. . . (layers_of_eli) wrote in cooking,
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Honey-Drizzled Cranberry Brie Pastry Braid

If you're having a New Year's Eve party (or even if you're just staying home in your jammies), this has to be on your table! This Honey-Drizzled Cranberry Brie Pastry Braid is totally gorgeous, absolutely delicious, shockingly easy! No, really, it's super simple to make.

Toast pecans for this recipe by baking them on a baking sheet for 4-6 minutes at 350 degrees F, tossing occasionally, until fragrant. If you wish, you can prepare this braid in advance: just complete all steps to assemble the braid, cover it with plastic wrap on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate overnight. Set it out on the counter in the morning as the oven preheats, egg wash it, and then bake as usual. I included some photos on the blog that show the process of marking and assembling a Raspberry Almond Braid as an example. It’s super easy to do, but a little fiddly to explain in just words, so hopefully the photos will help.

Honey-Drizzled Cranberry Brie Pastry Braid

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, inspired by The Law Student's Wife
Yield: 6-8 servings

Filling Ingredients:
1 cup fresh cranberries
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt

Braid Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into cubes
½ cup milk, minus ½ teaspoon
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon of water for egg wash
8 ounces cold Brie cheese
½ cup chopped toasted pecans, plus extra for topping
extra honey (for “glaze”)

Make the cranberry sauce: Bring cranberries, orange juice, water, honey, cinnamon, and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the cranberries break down and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Allow this to cool. I set mine in the fridge to chill after a few minutes.

Make pastry braid: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In the bowl of a food processor, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the cream cheese and butter into the flour mixture and pulse to cut the fat into the flour (about 6 pulses). Add the milk and almond extract and blend until it’s just starting to come together into a loose dough.

Turn the dough out onto a big sheet of lightly-floured parchment paper and knead each very lightly for just 4-5 strokes (be careful not to overwork the dough or it’ll be tough! Don’t worry about getting it smooth — just knead for these few strokes and let it stay a little rough.)

Very lightly flour the top of the dough and place another sheet of parchment paper on top. Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll the dough to an 10- by 12-inch rectangle (I lift the paper off every now and then and flip the dough and repeat on the other side, to ensure the dough isn’t sticking). Remove the top sheet of parchment and discard. Measure and mark the dough lengthwise into thirds. Fill the middle third with slices of brie. Top these with your chilled cranberry sauce.

Continue assembling the braid: (Remember, there are photos below to help visualize this step!) Make diagonal cuts at 1-inch intervals on each the long sides. Do not cut into the center filling area. Fold strips, first one from one side and then one from the other side in an alternating fashion, over the filling. It will now resemble a braid. Use the sheet of parchment to carefully transfer your braid to a baking sheet. At this point you can cover and refrigerate the braid overnight, or you can continue to the next step.

Bake the braid: Brush the pastry braid with the egg wash mixture. Bake in the 425 degree oven for 14-17 minutes, until the dough is cooked through and the filling is bubbly. Don’t worry if some oozes out. Let the braid cool for 30 minutes before generously drizzling honey over top, sprinkling some extra pecans, slicing, and serving.

To read about how I was an accidental jerk in fourth grade, see braid assembly photos, and continue to bask in the glow of my blog redesign, come see the full post on Willow Bird Baking!

x-posted to food_porn, picturing_food, cooking, bakebakebake
Tags: dairy: cheese, fruit: cranberry, snacks
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