|Blackberry Braid appears in TakeRoot Magazine. Feature photo by Debbie Duhn|
If you're like me, you've got plenty of recipe options for jam and pie, so try something a little different.
This simple puff pastry braid is easy to make (beginners will like this one), looks fancy enough to impress the neighbors and, best of all, it's versatile. Try option 1 if you love the lemon and blackberry combination, or option 2 for an orange liqueur version.
Enjoy the summer, and have some dessert!
Time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: One 12 inch braid
1 frozen puff pastry
1 egg white (for egg wash)
1 1/4 cup blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest (approx. 1/2 of a medium lemon)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Filling Option 2
1 1/4 cup blackberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp orange liqueur
Dash of cinnamon
Thaw puff pastry overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from outer packaging while the filling is cooling.
Heat the oven to 400°F. Beat the egg white and milk in a small bowl with a fork and set aside.
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on low heat 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally until the berries have lost their shape and the mixture has thickened. The mixture should be very think to minimize the chance of the filling oozing out of the pastry while it's baking. Let cool completely. If you're making this on the day you're serving, cool the filling in the refrigerator to speed the process. It should be cold and spreadable when you assemble the pastry.
Lightly flour your work surface. Unfold the pastry sheet and gently roll the pastry into a 14 x 16-inch rectangle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pastry on top.
Spread the filling down the center of the pastry, leaving 1 inch at the top and the bottom. Cut slits slightly diagonally, and 1 inch apart, down the sides of the pastry. Fold the top 1 inch of pastry down over the filling. Fold the pastry strips over the filling, alternating sides, so it looks like a braid. Trim any excess dough as you work. Fold the bottom 1 inch of pastry up over the filling. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (optional).
Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Leave the pastry on the baking sheet but put that on a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.