The Show Must Go On

Greetings from 30,000 feet above Earth! That’s right- I’m currently on my way to Portland, staring out the tiny reinforced plastic window at the clouds below. Up above the thunderstorms that are brewing back at home, the weather (or lack thereof) is bright, sunny, and quite lovely*. But never mind the location; there’s nothing that would stop this Daring Baker from posting on time!

Venturing closer to the territory of puff pastry, croissants, and other meticulously layered pastries, the Daring Bakers chose to take on the impressive Danish braid. Although not difficult per say, it does take a good deal of patience and advanced planning. Requiring two hours total to rest between the four turns, and then a final stay in the fridge overnight, this is no last-minute project. Naturally, I waited just about as long as possible to create my second braid.

Second? Yes, second. Sure, the first one worked out just fine and my cherry-chocolate filling tasted great, but I was dead-set on redoing the challenge before the deadline. You see, it was the pictures that were total failures! Knowing that there would be so many beautiful braids on display, I could hardly feel good about sharing something as amateurish as this:

Of course, I had halved the dough figuring that the extra would only waste space in our already pastry-filled kitchen, so I had to start back at the beginning again. Instead of going exactly by the book as per my first Danish, I decided that in this revised version I would omit the cardamom and orange zest, and just for comparison, replace the egg with soy yogurt instead of flax seed as I had previously. Sad to say, this made for a wetter and more finicky dough, and the photos came out even worse this time around, but all said and done, I couldn’t have cared less; it was drop-dead delicious.

Going against tradition and specifically creating a filling that wasn’t fruit-based, this concoction inspired by the flavors German chocolate cake, featuring a wallop of coconut and dark chocolate chips. Thankfully, all the hassle was more than worth the effort, as everyone raved that this version was even better than the first. I have to agree- That filling was so good, I must sheepishly admit that I ate a good portion of it plain, on a spoon. The good news is that the recipe, adapted from the Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen, makes much more than will fit inside a Danish braid, so the extra bites won’t be missed!

German Chocolate Filling

1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Soymilk, Divided
1/3 Cup Cornstarch
1 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 Cups Sweetened Desiccated Coconut
1 Cup Chopped Pecans

1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Thoroughly mix together 2 tablespoons of the soymilk with all of the cornstarch so that there are no lumps, and set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the remaining soymilk and sugar, and set it on the stove over medium heat. Pour in the cornstarch slurry and whisk vigorously so that the contents of the pot are homogeneous. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it has significantly thickened and bubbles begin to break on the surface. Turn off the heat and mix in the coconut and pecans. Let it cool completely before stirring in the chocolate chips. Stuff into pastries, use it to top cupcakes, or eat it on toast!

*Coming back down into that stormy atmosphere was a whole different story… I’ve never experienced lightning quite like that before!

62 thoughts on “The Show Must Go On

  1. Chocolate and cherry…and German chocolate cake?!! – the awesomeness is overwhelming :) Your braids are beautiful, as are your photos, you perfectionist. Knock ’em dead in Portland!!

  2. OMG, what a champ you are! Blogging from a plane and doing the challenge twice!? Well, both braids came out beautifully and I love both of the fillings you chose. Great job and have a good time in Portland! :)

  3. Both of your pictures look amazing! They have me drooling. And your fillings are so creative. Cherry chocolate and German chocolate- YUM!

    Have a great time in Portland!

  4. I dunno… I find your photos delightfully rustic, like something that might have emerged from my grandmother’s oven. And they certainly tempt the taste buds! Great job.

    Travel safe!

  5. Your danish look totally delicious and I love your chocolate coconut filling! Nothing wrong with your photos at all in my eyes!

  6. Great looking braid! I used yogurt as the egg substitute and had pretty good results. I love the cherry chocolate filling idea!

  7. Oh wow, that filling sounds and looks incredible. And I’m glad you landed safely!!

  8. my husband & i were totally planning to go to herbavore to meet you, unfortunately our pup wasn’t feeling great and i was nervous about leaving her alone while we gallivanted around town. sorry we missed you! hopefully you loved portland so you’ll visit our neck of the woods again soon!

  9. Have fun in Portland!
    And you say your picture looks amateurish….it looks wonderful and delicious! Love your filling.

  10. i think your danish looks gorgeous – and super tasty! the combination of cherries and chocolate sounds divine!

    you had me drooling over the pictures! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  11. Wow, I thought your first picture was amazing! It’s too funny, I made both my braids but didn’t get to enjoy either of them straight out of the oven because I was so concerned about pictures. :-) Both fillings sound really delicious. Hope you had fun in Portland! Wish I could have been there to have you sign my copy of MSV!

  12. I hope you had a great time in Portland and at your book signing!

    And if you call your photos amateurish, you will give the rest of us bloggers a serious complex. So quit it! ;-)

  13. wow, that looks truly delicious! I just came across your blog today (I must have been living in a cave?) anyways I added you to my blogroll so I don’t miss out anymore ;)

  14. Any vegan danish is beautiful to me! Hope you had a great time in Portland, seems it would be hard not to.

  15. Your braid looks yummy! And I looooove the sound of the German chocolate filling. Definitely saving that for another day.

  16. Hi Hannah,
    I have selected your blog to receive an Arte Y Pico Award. I have posted a link to your site and other info here:
    You may not recognise the web address as it is my jewellery making blog but I am the person that swapped the felt strawberry for one of your sweet crocheted cakes (which is proudly displayed on my dining room dresser).
    Best wishes

  17. You did a fabulous job on your danish. I love your filling too…german chocolate. It sounds simply scrumptious and it’s making me drool.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  18. I think your photos look great! It might also be that I’m a huge fan of the chocolate & cherry combo and cannot see beyond how delicious your pastries sound : ) I’m going to have to try the dough myself with ground flax seeds since they’re favorites of mine!!

  19. Mine weren’t so pretty either, but I used cherries as one filling and that braid was delicious. Serves me right for trying to make danish pastry in 85+ humidity.

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