June 29, 2008

Chestnut Pumpkin Danish

A June Daring Baker's Challenge

This month's challenge was hosted by the lovely Kelly of Sass & Veracity and the fabulous Ben from What's Cookin'?. They selected the "Danish Braid" from Sherry Yard's "Secret of Baking". Kelly and Ben chose for us to make danishes for a variety of reasons, one of them would allow us as Daring Bakers to get creative with our fillings and the shapes of our braids.

Pumpkin is a favorite flavor in my house, attaining a level of popularity that out shines any fruit including apple. When I started contemplating what flavors to use, my kids wanted to know what was wrong with using pumpkin. Absolutely nothing, I assured them, so pumpkin it is.

The dough was easy to make and worked very well with all the changes I made to make it gluten and dairy free. The finished dough turned out flaky and flavorful as well. I made a braid and several smaller pinwheel danishes with the dough, but the pinwheels were devoured by my eager family when they first came out of the oven.

This was a wonderful challenge for a gluten free baker with learning to make laminated dough and then make different shapes with the dough. My family loved the danish, everything from the crisp flaky dough to the pumpkin custard filling. I served it on Father's Day for breakfast and we almost ate the entire danish at one sitting. Simply delicious.

Thanks Kelly and Ben for a great challenge!



½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup chestnut flour
¼ cup + 1 Tb arrowroot starch
¼ cup + 2 Tb sweet rice flour
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp chia seed meal
½ tsp pectin powder
1 pkg dry active yeast
¼ cup + 2 Tb almond milk
Pinch monocalcium phosphate powder *
3 Tb cane sugar
1 Tb chestnut spread **
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, chilled & beaten

Shortening Block

1/3 cup vegetable shortening
2 Tb coconut oil
2 Tb sweet rice flour


1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flours, salt, chia seed meal and pectin. Stir and make sure the chia seed meal and pectin are thoroughly incorporated through out the flours.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the yeast, almond milk and calcium powder. Start mixing on low speed. Slowly add the sugar, vanilla extract, chestnut spread and egg. Continue mixing and slowly add the dry ingredients into the bowl. If the dough is sticky add a tablespoon of flour.

3. Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper and wrap it. Then place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Shortening Block

1. In a mixing bowl, dump in the vegetable shortening, coconut oil and flour. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape the sides down and beat for 1 more minute.

2. Transfer the shortening mixture to a small bowl. Leave at room temperature.

Layering the Dough & Shortening Block

1. Once the dough has chilled for 30 minutes, turn it out on a parchment paper covered surface. Sprinkle with flour and then cover with parchment paper. Roll out the dough into a rectangle that is ¼ inch thick. If the dough is sticky, keep sprinkling it with flour. After it is rolled out, slightly score the dough into thirds. Spread some of the shortening block on the middle and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left side into the center and then the right side on top of the left side. Wrap in the parchment paper and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. This is the end of the first turn.

2. Remove from the freezer and rotate the dough. Repeat the above steps and place back in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes. This is the end of the second turn. Repeat the same for the third and fourth turns.

3. Once the fourth turn has been completed, leave the dough in the freezer for at least 5 hours or overnight. The dough is now ready to be used. If you aren’t going to use it within 24 hours, roll out the dough until it is about 1 inch in thickness. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and place back in the freezer. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Making the Braid

1. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. On another sheet of parchment paper, sprinkle it with some flour and then lay down the Danish dough. Sprinkle the top with flour and cover with parchment paper. Roll out into a rectangle that is ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes and then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.

2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 3 - 4 inch long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the other side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.

3. Spoon the filling in the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom flaps, fold down the top flap over the filling to cover it. Then, fold the bottom flap up to cover the filling. This helps to keep the braid net and to hold in the filling. Begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Chestnut Pumpkin Danish Filling

2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp chia seed meal
¼ cup arrowroot starch
½ tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture has thickened.

2. Spoon the mixture down the center of the danish dough.

3. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container if you are not planning to use the filling right away.

Chestnut Glaze

1 Tb chestnut spread

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 Tb almond milk

1. Place the ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. Work the mixture with the back of a spoon to work out any lumps that might remain.

2. Pour over the top of the warm danish.

Proofing and Baking

1. Set the baking sheet with the Danish on it in a warm location. Cover the Danish and allow it to rise for 2 hours or until it has doubled in volume.

2. Near the end of the time the bread needs to rise, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

3. Bake the Danish for 10 minutes then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake about 15 – 20 minutes more or until it is golden brown.

4. Cool and serve the braid either warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze for 1 month.

* The monocalcium phosphate powder is part of the Pomona’s Universal Pectin package.

** Chestnut Spread is by Clement Faugier (crème de marrons de l’ardeche).


Cheryl Harris said...

as usual, that looks luscious! You're so creative.

Anonymous said...

You had me at chestnut pumpkin danish. Sounds absolutely out of this world delicious :) Bravo for an awesome GF success!

VeggieGirl said...

Your choice of filling is definitely the most innovative one I've seen out of everyone else's DBC pastries - love it!!

DaviMack said...

Congratulations on making this gluten-free! And the pumpkin is truly an inspired idea. Next time... it'll be a toss-up between pumpkin and nutella, is all I'm sayin. ;)

Lauren said...

Wow. Your braid looks amazing. You completely re-invented the recipe. Good Job!

Jeanine said...

Looks yummy! No surprise that it was all gobbled up so quickly. :)

Dianne's Dishes said...

That looks great! And pumpkin is always a good choice! :)

Jen said...

sounds fabulous!!

Anonymous said...

I love your flavour choices! And it looks so lovely- great job! And extra bravo for the gluten-free factor!

Mary Frances said...

mmm...flaky pastry. I've missed that. I was just reading about laminated dough this week and realized that it should be possible to do it gluten free. And now you've done it! I can't wait to give this a try =)

Mary Frances

glamah16 said...

Pumkin sounds wonderful. I always love the way you susccesfully adapt these recipes .

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh my yes! Chestnut and pumpkin for father's day!!! That should have been grand!!

breadchick said...

OK, you have finally done it! I just wrote this recipe out and while I don't have to bake gluten free, I'm making this version this week and taking it into the office. Based upon your pictures, I'll bet no one knows...

Natalie, your challenge recipe conversions are always a wonder!

kitten said...

this sounds so delicious... chestnut and pumpkin,.... i would never have thought of using that for this danish, but good job kids in suggesting pumpkin !

Lorrie said...

yum, pumpkin! your danish looks so good!

Anonymous said...

Mmm, those flavors sound to die for! It sounds like it would make an excellent addition to a Thanksgiving/holiday dinner, too.

Sea said...

Wow! Excellent. :) I thought about making it dairy and egg free this time around and just gave up and went full fledged dairy with it. *sigh* I might try a vegan version next time. Love the idea of a pumpkin filling. :)


~Amber~ said...

Your danish is beautiful and the filling sounds divine. Congratulations on yet another successful challenge.

Aparna said...

Your braid looks delicious. I just can't get over the innovative way in which you veganise the challenges and come up tops.

Vegan_Noodle said...

What a unique and delicious filling!! Your braid looks amazing. Not surprising that is was almost demolished in one sitting!

Dana McCauley said...

Wow - it worked with rice flour. Impressive!

Gabi said...

Wow- I love the flavour combination you used- smart kids :)
I know I always say this about your work but you AMAZE me !!!

J.J. said...

Chestnut and pumpkin? Very creative choice! Sounds wonderful!

Dolores said...

I love your pumpkin cream idea; I'll definitely repeat that in my kitchen this fall.

I'm glad you were able to make this one successfully gluten free.

Jane said...

Your filling sounds fantastic. I'm definitely making this recipe again, and hubby loves pumpkin, so I'll have to try your filling.

Jane of VeganBits.com

linda said...

Unusual filling but delicious nevertheless!

Emilia said...

That looks great and chestnut spread is so good, I would imagine that this was really good :)

It has been great to see with this challenge how everyone made this gluten-free. I did imagine not so long ago that it would very difficult or actually almost impossible to make this kind of dough gluten-free, but I'm glad that I was wrong on that.

Andrea said...

That pumpkin filling sounds divine, something my family would definitely go for. Great job on the challenge!

Lis said...

You had me at "pumpkin" - never would I have thought of using it and now I'm kicking myself in the arse. Thank GAWD there is always next time - phew!

I don't care how many challenges you end up conquering - you never cease to amaze me in what you come up with!


Claire said...

Such a good job! I'm continually impressed with what you can do gluten free.

Simply...Gluten-free said...

Looks delish. I have been toying with the idea of using chestnut flour. I have never tried it but it has a long history - you have inspired me to get off my butt and get to work!

White on Rice Couple said...

Another great dish for the event! All I need now is a cup of coffee with our dish and I'm set!

Megan said...

I love pumpkin and never even thought to make a pumpkin braid. Genius!

Jon said...

The picture and the ingredients look absolutely fabulous. Pumpkin is a winner here as well, though we've never experimented with chestnut flour or chestnut anything. Before reading your posts, I'd never heard of chia seed meal. Where do you get it?

One of these days Cindy and I may try one of these Daring Bakers Challenges.. sounds fun :)

I came to your blog via our Visit a Random Gluten Free Blog Widget. We developed the button to make surfing the gluten free blogosphere simple and fun. If you're interested, the install is as easy as clicking a button!