I feel that with something as good as this blueberry cream cheese danish braid, I should keep the talking to a minimum so you can hurry up and get to the recipe asap. I’m still going to talk about how seriously amazing this danish braid is but I won’t be offended at all if you skip right to the end of this post :P
It all started when I had a craving for pastry. I’ve made croissants and chocolate croissants before so just thinking about those made me really want something perfectly flaky and buttery crisp. I wanted to play around with different flavours and fillings though, so it wasn’t long before I thought of this spiced apple cream cheese danish braid and decided that I wanted to make a blueberry version.
Making pastry dough can be a little daunting if you have never tried it before, but it really isn’t hard at all! The only thing to keep in mind is there is a lot of waiting time in between when your dough is chilling in the fridge. I planned this danish braid ahead of time so that I could make the dough and the fillings the night before, and so all I had to do the next morning was roll out the dough, assemble and bake!
Knowing that I had this beauty of a treat to look forward to was the only thing that kept me running home after a long 27km run…but let’s not go there, my hip hasn’t quite recovered from that just yet! My longer runs usually leave me pretty drained once I’ve gotten back home, but I definitely had enough energy to put this braid together and pop it in the oven. And ohmygoodness. Fresh from the oven, each slice is made up of delicate layers upon layers of buttery goodness that envelopes a sweet blueberry pie-like filling perfectly complemented by a cream cheese filling with a lemon tang. All of that coated in a light and sweet sugar glaze.
The best part is that even if you have leftovers, this still tastes so good the next day and the day after. I kept mine chilled in the fridge and even enjoyed it chilled, but it also tastes just as good after a quick zap in the microwave or if you have more time, after a few minutes in the oven.
This would be the perfect treat to serve for a breakfast where you really want to impress! So go out there and knock some socks off! Actually, if it’s breakfast at home, then your household might not be wearing socks. Unless they are one of those weird people that wears socks when they sleep. I’m shuddering thinking about it.
Also, the braiding of this danish might make it a little tricky to cut perfectly straight pieces. But that’s totally okay, because if you’re quick enough you can just snag a bigger piece. ;)
Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish Braid
For the Danish dough:
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1½ tsp. instant yeast*
¼ cup sugar
¾ tsp. salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
For the butter square:
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
For the cream cheese filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. sugar
For the blueberry filling:
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water
For the glaze:
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 tsp. milk, plus more as needed
For the drizzle (optional):
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp. milk, plus more as needed
*Instant yeast = rapid rise yeast = bread machine yeast
To make the dough, combine 1¼ cups of the flour in a bowl with the yeast, sugar, and salt. Place the milk and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and knead until a smooth ball of dough forms, about 7-8 minutes. (The dough should be sticky but if more dough sticks to the bowl than the dough hook, add the remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the butter square, toss together the butter pieces and flour on a clean work surface. Smear the butter back and forth using a bench scraper against the work surface until they have combined into a smooth homogenous mixture. Wrap the butter mixture in plastic wrap and use the edges of the plastic to form it into a 5-inch square. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Lay the chilled dough on the work surface and roll into a 9-inch square. Place the butter square diagonally on top the dough and remove the plastic wrap. Fold the corners of dough over the butter so that they meet in the middle of the butter square. Pinch the ends of the dough together to seal. Using a rolling pin , tap the dough from the center outward until the butter begins to soften and become malleable. Gently roll the dough into an 11-inch square, re-flouring the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking. Fold the outside edges of the dough in toward the center in thirds, one overlapping the other, like a business letter. Repeat this process folding the other direction to make a square. (This completes two turns.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Roll the dough into an 11-inch square once more and repeat the two turns as before (business letter, then square). Wrap in plastic wrap again and chill once more for at least 4 hours. (At this point the dough can be refrigerated overnight).
To make the cream cheese filling, combine the cream cheese, lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well until smooth and blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the blueberry filling, combine the blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Mash about half of the blueberries as the mixture gets heated, and bring it a boil. Once the mixture is bubbling, lower the heat to medium and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring until it thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool before using.
When you are ready to shape and bake the danish, preheat the oven to 400˚ F. On a large, very well floured sheet of parchment paper roll the chilled dough into a 14-inch square. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly down the middle third of the dough. Lay the blueberry filling over the top of the cream cheese mixture (you may not end up using all of the filling*). Using a pizza cutter or a paring knife, cut the outer thirds of dough into ¾-inch strips so that the cuts are diagonal to the filling. Alternating sides, fold the strips of dough over the filling, crisscrossing the strips over the center, until the entire Danish is braided. Transfer the braid, still on the parchment, to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rise at room temperature until slightly puffy (it will not double), about 30 minutes.
Bake until the braid is golden brown, 22-26 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. To make the glaze, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed to thin the glaze. Transfer to a cooking rack and brush with the glaze while still hot. Cool to room temperature. To make the drizzle, combine the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed to make it a drizzle-able consistency. Drizzle over the finished braid. Slice crosswise and serve.
*leftover blueberry filling is excellent served over yoghurt, pancakes or waffles, ice cream, in smoothies, the options are endless!
based off of this Spiced Apple Cream Cheese Danish Braid recipe