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 as a shortcut. 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!
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.
- Danish Dough – You can use either a Quick Danish Pastry Dough or Sourdough Danish Pastry to make Apple Danish. Using frozen puff pastry is also a good option if you don’t want to make your own dough.
- Apples – Granny Smith apples hold their shape when cooked, have a nice acidity and are widely available. Use any firm apple that has some acidity.
How to Apple Danish Pastry:
- Whip the whites to full peak. Whisk in the yolks and vanilla.
- Sift the over the batter and gently fold it in.
- Fold just until all the flour is incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Pipe the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet into 4″ long x 2″ wide “fingers”.
- Lightly sprinkle the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar.
- Bake until light brown and spongy about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.
- Cook the custard over medium/low heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour the custard into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
- Sandwich the ladyfingers with the preserves.
- Cut a ladyfinger sandwich in half, lengthwise.
- Stand the ladyfingers on end, with the cut side to the outside of a glass trifle bowl. Continue cutting and arranging the ladyfingers until the entire perimeter of the bowl is lined with a “striped” pattern.
- Use half of the remaining uncut cookies to the line bottom of the bowl. You can break them up to fit pieces into any gaps between the cookies.
- Sprinkle a ½ cup of the sherry over the cookies on the bottom and sides of the bowl. Pour half of the custard into the bowl. Arrange the remaining cookies over the custard and sprinkle with the remaining sherry.
- Pour the other half the custard into the bowl.
- Top the trifle with whipped cream and refrigerate at least 6 hours (preferably overnight) before serving.
- Macerate the apples with sugar, spices and apple cider.
- Cook the apples until tender.
- Add corn starch and cook until the juice is thickened.
- Roll the pastry dough to a 10″ x 14″ rectangle.
- Spread the apple filling to a 3″ wide strip. Cut angled strips on either side of the filling.
- Remove the top and bottom strips to create a “tab” of dough at either end.
- Braid the strips.
- Brush the risen Danish braid with egg wash and bake until golden brown.
- Brush the hot Danish pastry with apple jelly.
- Cool for 20 minutes then drizzle with glaze.
Pastry Chef tips for making Apple Danish
- 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.
- 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.
Apple Danish Recipe
- 1 ½ pounds apples (peeled, cored and cut into 1/2″ cubes)
- 2 oz brown sugar (¼ cup)
- 4 oz apple cider (½ cup, or apple juice)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Make the Apple Filling
- Combine1 ½ pounds apples with 2 oz brown sugar, 4 oz apple cider, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon,½ teaspoon vanilla extract. 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 1 tablespoon cornstarch 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.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.