This beautiful Apple Danish Braid is made with real Danish pastry dough and filled with fresh apples. You can let the Danish pastry rise in the refrigerator overnight and bake it first thing in the morning.
You can find lots of Danish braid recipes that use puff pastry dough or even phyllo dough as a shortcut.
Those are not bad options and, honestly, if you don’t want to make your own dough go ahead and make this recipe with pre-made puff pastry. I am not the food police!
But, I will say that true Danish pastry is made with a special type of dough.
The addition of yeast, sugar, milk and an egg yields a rich, slightly cakey dough that is the perfect wrapping for a fresh apple filling.
Here, I show you how to make a large braided Danish. If you want to use this apple filling to make individual Danish pastries, you can see how to cut and form them in this post for Glazed Cheese Danish.
Scroll through the process photos to see how to make an Apple Danish Pastry from scratch:
A timeline for making an Apple Danish Braid
- The Danish pastry dough can made be early in the morning of day 1, the day before you’re ready to assemble the Danish or up to several weeks before and frozen. If the dough is frozen, defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
- Early on day 1, make the apple filling and refrigerate until chilled. The filling can be made up to 2 days ahead. Do not freeze the filling.
- Roll the dough and the assemble the Danish late in the afternoon or early in the evening of day 1. Wrap the Danish on the sheet pan and refrigerate overnight.
- First thing in the morning on day 2, take the Danish out of the refrigerator. The dough should have risen during the night. The Danish will not double in size but should look puffy and lighter.
- Preheat the oven while the Danish comes to room temperature.
- Bake the Danish and enjoy slightly warm or at room temperature.
- To make and bake the danish in one day, you can skip the overnight refrigeration step. As soon as the braid is assembled, cover it and leave it 1 1/2 – 2 hours at room temperature to rise (the rise will take longer if you’re using Sourdough Danish Pastry).
- Preheat the oven and bake once the dough is risen.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
- 1 1/2 pounds (672g) apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 156g) brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 120ml) apple cider or juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Make the Apple Filling
- Combine the apples with the sugar, cider, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Set aside to macerate for at least 1 hour and as long as 3 hours. Drain the apples, saving the juice. Combine 1/4 cup of the juice with the corn starch and set it aside.
- Put the apples and the rest of the juice in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high until the juices begin to boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the apples are crisp-tender, stirring often. The apples should still hold their shape. The exact time will depend on the type of apple, estimate 10 minutes.
- Add the corn starch mixture to the apples. Increase the heat to medium-high and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until the juices are thickened and become translucent. Transfer the apple filling to a container and cool to room temperature. Chill until ready to use. The filling can be made 2-3 days ahead.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to a 10” x 14” rectangle. Roll the dough onto a rolling pin and transfer onto a ½ sheet of parchment paper. Transfer the paper with the dough to a 1/2 sheet pan.
- With the short side of the dough facing you, spoon the filling into the middle of the rectangle. Spread to a 3” wide strip down the middle of the dough, leaving a 1” border at the top and bottom.
- Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut ¾” wide strips in a angled pattern on either side of the filling. Remove the top and bottom strips creating a tab of dough at each end.
- Fold the top tab over the filling, then “braid” the cut strips of dough by folding them into the center in a criss-cross pattern then fold the bottom tab over before braiding the last strips.
- Cover the braid with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. The dough should look lighter and a little puffy but won’t double in size. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Brush the entire braid with egg wash. Bake in the middle rack of the oven until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. After 10 minutes, if it looks like the bottom of the Danish is browning too fast slide another sheet pan under the Danish. As soon as the Danish comes out of the oven, brush with the apple jelly. Let the Danish cool for 20 minutes.
- Stir together the milk and confectioner’s sugar. The glaze should have the texture of pancake batter. Add more sugar if it’s too loose or more milk if it’s too thick. Use a fork or whisk to drizzle the glaze over the Danish.
- Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
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