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FIORE Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars Giveaway

 Balsamic Berry and Ricotta Bruschetta

Think of your favorite olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Now imagine those oils bursting with flavors like Meyer lemon and tart lime, or raspberry, blueberry or peach balsamic. And more! Think of how you could enjoy them on so many foods--especially with summer upon us. The fresh vegetables and fruits that are so bountiful this time of year, and not to mention grilling. A splash of a flavorful oil or vinegar can take any dish from good to “oh-my-word-what’s-your-secret-ingredient?!”

A while back, Billy and I were having dinner with friends at their home. It’s always a lovely feast when we dine with Mars and Allison. This one time was different, though. Allison made a vinaigrette that I literally could not get enough of. Seriously. I had it on my salad. I had more salad just to have more vinaigrette. She made fresh bread with oil for dipping. I skipped that and poured some of her vinaigrette in a dish to dip my bread in. I ran my grilled chicken through more of it that I’d poured in my plate. I could not stop inhaling this dressing. there was something about it that made me not able to stop eating it. 

When I asked what it was made with, she told me how simple it was. Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar from FIORE Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars. She did a 50/50 blend of the two and shook it up in a jar. That was it. I knew right then and there that there was no way I could go on at home without these magical ingredients. That Monday, I contacted Nancy O’Brien at Fiore and asked if she’d be interested in sponsoring a giveaway here on my blog and she said yes. I was over the moon because I just want to tell everyone how fantastic these oils and vinegars are. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! I'll never have a FIORE-free home again--these will always be stocked and ready to go.

You can read more about FIORE here on their site. They’re located in Maine in two locations, Bar Harbor and Rockland. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area, you can enjoy the tasting rooms at both locations for a truly delicious experience. You can also order directly from their site. If you’re planning a trip to Maine this summer, be sure to add FIORE Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars to your itinerary! From their site:

“FIORE, which means "blossoming flower" in Italian, truly captures the essence of our venture into the education and exploration of extra virgin unfiltered olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars in our tasting room. From Tuscany to Greece, Tunisia to Portugal, Spain and Northern California in the northern hemisphere then from Chile to Australia and New Zealand in the southern hemisphere, our tasting rooms enable you to go on a global tour of the purest, freshest oils and the most flavorful balsamic vinegars of Modena while benefiting from the numerous attributes of health first-hand.”

I’ve had the opportunity to test drive a few of these oils and vinegars, and let me say--there are so many ways to enjoy these! I’ll show you a few here, but don’t let me limit your imaginations. We’ve had them in salads, of course, but a bit of the vinegar splashed in a pan sauce is wonderful! Drizzle some piping hot grilled meats or vegetables with a flavored oil and some fruity vinegar and you’ll be in heaven. Marinades will never be the same when you use these--you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them, like I did.

First up, homemade white pizza which is basically pizza dough, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with cheese and perhaps some good Italian seasoning. Basic, right? And good in it’s own right. But how about some fresh, tender Spring greens drizzled with Organic Persian Lime Olive Oil and Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar piled up on top of your hot, fresh pizza? Oh man, it’s like you’ve died and gone to heaven.

White Pizza topped with Green Salad

A couple of weeks ago, we grilled some sausage and I made veggie kabobs to go along with them. I didn’t season the kabobs first, but after they were grilled, tender and steamy, I removed the peppers, onions and small potatoes from the skewers and tossed them with salt, pepper, FIORE Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and fresh chopped rosemary. It took grilled veggies over the top with flavor!

Grilled Veggie Kabobs drizzled with Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

I made a couple of desserts, too. They’re both incredibly simple to make, but people will think you worked hours on them. The first is a Berry and Ricotta Bruschetta. There isn’t even a recipe--that's how simple it is, but here’s what I did:


Balsamic Berry and Ricotta Bruschetta


  1. Mix a little honey and orange zest into some ricotta cheese, to taste. Set aside in the fridge.

  2. Slice some strawberries and toss them with some blueberries, honey or a bit of sugar, and some Fiore Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar.

  3. Toast some baguette slices and then spread them with some of the ricotta mixture, then top with some of the fruit. Drizzle with a bit more vinegar if you like, then add some fresh cracked black pepper over the top and enjoy!


Balsamic Berry and Ricotta Bruschetta


Raspberry Balsamic Truffles

These are incredible and only get better with age. Store them in the fridge, of course.


  1. Follow this easy truffle recipe, leaving out the Chambord. Instead of adding the Chambord, add 2 ½ tablespoons of FIORE Raspberry Balsamic (or balsamic flavor of your choice) and 2 teaspoons of Fiore Roasted French Walnut Oil when the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

  2. You can form these into round truffles if you prefer, but I find this method easier, less messy, and also--when someone’s got a fabulous tasting truffle melting on their tongue, they don’t generally care if it’s round or square. I'm still snacking on a stash of these in the fridge, and they're so tart, sweet and rich!

    Raspberry Balsamic Truffles


Nancy at FIORE has been very generous and is giving away three pairings of her lovely olive oils and vinegars to three lucky readers! I have three separate pairings for you guys:

These are all 375 mL (12.7 oz)  bottles and can be shipped in the US only. 


  1. Summer Peach Balsamic paired with Roasted French Walnut Oil

  2. Raspberry Balsamic paired with Organic Persian Lime Olive Oil

  3. Blueberry Balsamic paired with Meyer Lemon Olive Oil


    Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! I’ll choose three random winners next Friday, May 24th and let the winners know by email. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blueberry Lemon Lime Corn Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Lime Corn Muffins

Today is National Blueberry Muffin Day, did you know? 

Blueberries have been available in abundance in my area lately, and they’ve been so sweet and juicy, so I’ve been buying a lot. We’ve just been eating them by the handful, but this past weekend, the baking mood hit me. I needed muffins, and fast!

I did a quick Google search for something different and found a recipe here that used orange juice and zest. I didn’t have either of those things, but I did have some pink lemonade in the fridge, and a lime in the crisper. Where are the damn lemons when you need them? Ah well, doesn’t matter, because the lime zest added a nice flavor kick.

Super simple muffins as always--mix the dry, whisk the wet, mix the two, fold in the extras.

Blueberry Lemon Lime Corn Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Lime Corn Muffins

Makes 11-12 muffins, adapted from this recipe.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lemonade
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
grated zest of one lime
2 1/4 cups fresh blueberries (frozen is fine if that's what you have)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a standard muffin tin, or line with papers. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the first six ingredients (flour through the salt).

In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, lemonade, butter, egg and zest. Add to the dry mixture and stir just to moisten. Fold in the berries.

I always use my ice cream scoop to fill the muffins tins. And I used a heaping scoop this time, so I ended up with 11 muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the pan--5-10 minutes or so. Remove to a cooling rack.

  • These are such nice muffins--I love the texture that the cornmeal adds. I’m sure they’d also be wonderful with the OJ and OZ*, but they’re very versatile.
  • I think they could have used some vanilla or other extract, so I’ll try that next time.
  • They’re something a little different than your average blueberry muffin. The citrus always adds a nice touch!

*Orange juice and orange zest, of course.

Blueberry Lemon Lime Corn Muffins

May212012 Virtual Memorial Day Potluck


Boneless Pork Back Ribs w/ Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


Pork boneless back ribs. Pork country style boneless ribs, too. Oh, and a fantastic velvety, savory (and a little sweet) Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry Barbecue Sauce. Yeah, you know you want to taste them! All juicy and tender. Yes, let’s dig in.


Memorial Day is right around the corner! Are you planning your menus? I can’t say that I am yet. I’m always a last minute person. But is holding a Virtual Memorial Day Potluck with appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, cocktails/beverages and desserts--so I’m sure you’ll find something that you’ll like! If you haven’t checked out Celebrations yet, you should! They have everything you’d need to think about for any celebration that comes up.


My contribution to the potluck is ribs--two kinds. We have the petite boneless pork back ribs, and the hefty boneless country style pork ribs. They’re priced reasonably, and kids love them, too. No bones to mess with. These ribs and the sauce I made got thumbs up from all four of my kids. They even wanted seconds!


Boneless Pork Country Style Ribs w/ Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


The barbecue sauce is made with my favorite hard cider, Woodchuck. I used the Summer Cider for this sauce, which has a balance of cider and blueberry in it, so pairing it with fresh blueberries was a natural progression. The Summer Cider is seasonal, so if you can’t find it, go ahead and use any of the other varieties. The berries will still go beautifully with any of them. Let’s get to the recipes.


All Purpose Grilling and Smoking Rub


Makes about 1/2 cup, maybe a bit more.


2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Kosher salt
2 1/2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp thyme
3 tsp Chinese Five Spice
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon


Mix all ingredients in a small airtight container or zip top bag. Rub on pork, chicken or beef before grilling or smoking. (If you don’t have Chinese Five Spice, you can make your own: Combine equal parts Szechwan (or black) pepper, star anise (or anise), cinnamon, cloves, and fennel, all ground.)


To use on ribs, sprinkle some of the rub all over the ribs, and rub it in with your hands. Let the ribs sit with the rub on for a couple of hours or overnight. In the fridge!


Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


Makes 3 cups. Set aside two hours total for simmering the sauce!


1 tbsp oil
4 shallots, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (12 oz) Woodchuck Summer Ciders
2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen is ok, too)
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
2 1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tbsp spicy mustard
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp chili powder (the seasoning blend, not plain ground chilies)
1/2 tsp cinnamon


In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until nice and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the two bottles of cider and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium high and simmer (a good bubbling action, but not a rolling boil) for about 25 minutes.


Add all remaining ingredients (blueberries through cinnamon). Stir well, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Keep it at a good simmer.


I don't have an immersion blender (I know! What am I waiting for?!) so I pureed the sauce in my blender. Do it in two batches. Hold a dish towel over the lid of the blender to catch any drips and also to hold the lid down. Puree half of the sauce for a few seconds until smooth, transfer to a bowl, and do the second half of the sauce, and add it to the already pureed sauce. It's really not as complicated as it may sound. Then again, if you have an immersion blender, it's even easier! Just get all the lumps out of the sauce--you want it velvety smooth.


Use immediately with your favorite grilled meats, or cool completely and store in the fridge.


  • Don’t be scared by the ingredient list. It’s really very simple and comes together quickly.

  • And homemade barbecue sauce? Hello! It’s fabulous. Your friends and family will all be impressed that you actually made it yourself, with no weird chemicals. This isn’t spicy, by the way. If you want, add some heat in whatever form you like.


Boneless Pork Country Style Ribs w/ Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


To Cook The Ribs:


After you’ve rubbed the rub blend into the ribs and prepared the sauce, it’s time to cook.


We smoked the boneless back ribs for two hours total. They’re not very big, and rather small compared to the country style monster sized ribs! Cover with foil and set them aside while you wait for the other ribs to finish.


Smoke the larger country style ribs for 4-5 hours.


Get your grill ready--get the coals going and all that. When the coals ready to go, put all of the ribs on the grill and get some color and char on those babies. They don’t need much time, you’re just getting the flavor of the grill on them.


In the last few minutes, brush the barbecue sauce over the ribs, both sides. Use as much or as little as you like. We like a lot. When they’re done to your liking, remove from the grill and serve. You can serve some sauce on the side for dipping or drizzling over the top. We also do that.


Boneless Pork Country Style Ribs w/ Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


Check out the other Virtual Potluck Dishes from the rest of the guests! And thank you to for putting this party together!


Melissa at Celebrations: Buffalo Chicken Dip


Erin at Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts: Quinoa Salad with veggies and a lime, garlic cilantro dressing


Beth at Hungry Happenings: Patriotic Biscuits


Rowena at Aprons and Sneakers: Speck Skewers with Herb Mayonnaise and Grilled Mediterranean Aubergine Bundles with Provola


Katrina at In Katrina's Kitchen: Picnic Tablecloth Cookes






Valerie at Une Gamine dans la Cuisine: White Chocolate Mint Cake



DB'ers June Challenge--Danish Braids

I so wish that I could bottle scents and sell them. If I could do that with this month's challenge, I'd sell a ton. We made Danish Braids this month, and the dough--not only was it a dream to work with, but it's scented with orange zest, vanilla bean, and cardamom. It just doesn't get any better than that, folks. The aroma while the braids were baking was heavenly! But that doesn't even compare to the taste. It was out of this world delicious! So good, in fact, that I had to send most of these to work with my husband. They were dangerous! Dangerously delicious, hehe! Fillings were up to us entirely, so I decided to go with half the apple filling recipe for one, and cooked down blueberries with a bit of sugar, layered over almond paste for the second braid. Both were fabulous, but the blueberry almond was my favorite, and I was sad to see it walk out the door to go to the office with my husband. But I seriously could have eaten all of these. OINK! They had to go.


This month's challenge was chosen and hosted by Kelly at Sass & Veracity, and Ben at What's Cooking.

A few facts:

• Danish dough is in the family of butter-laminated or layered doughs with puff pastry being the ultimate. Danish dough is sweet and is yeast-leavened, however, where as puff pastry is not.
• The process of making Danish dough is less complex than that of puff pastry, but equally as important to achieve best results, and a great starting place to begin to learn about laminated doughs in general.
• Danish dough is extremely versatile, and once made can be used for a variety of baked goods. The possibilities are endless.

There are a lot of steps involved, and it seems overwhelming, but it really isn't. The most important thing to remember, I think, is to let the dough rest for the 30 minute intervals. It needs three 30 minutes rests, and then the final rest of 5 (yes, 5!) hours. So plan to either start early in the day, or give the dough, and yourself, a rest overnight, and start again the next day. This recipe makes two braids. The time to divide the dough has varied in the posts I've read, but I split mine after its overnight rest in the fridge. Divide it, then roll each portion into a 10x15" rectangle. You'll cut parallel strips on each side, remove the extra dough in the corners (you'll see what I mean in the photos), add your filling down the center, fold in the 2 end flaps, then braid the strips. Make sure when you cut the strips that you leave a large enough base to hold the fillings--make sure your rectangles are 10x15 to start, and you should be all set.

Braiding was a bit stressful at the beginning, hoping I'd do it right, and have beautiful baked braids that held their shape--but it was a cinch to do! Make sure to cut your strips long enough so that they reach all the way over the dough on the other side, and give them a pinch to stay in place. Tuck your last braid under the previous one and give that a little pinch, too.

I've got lots of step by step photos, so here we go!

Some extra, but helpful info:
• Laminated dough – is layered dough created by sandwiching butter between layers of dough
• Detrempe – ball of dough
• Beurrage – butter block
• Turn – each “fold & roll” of the dough produces a single turn in a 3-step process where the dough is folded exactly like a business letter in 3 columns. Each single turn creates 3 layers with this method.

For Your Consideration:
• This recipe calls for a standing mixer with fitted attachments, but it can easily be made without one. Ben says, “Do not fear if you don’t own a standing mixer. I have been making puff pastry by hand for many years and the technique for Danish pastry is very similar and not too difficult.” Look for the alternate directions in the recipe as appropriate.
Yard recommends the following:
• Use well-chilled ingredients. This includes flour if your kitchen temperature is above 70 degrees F (~ 21 degrees C).
• It is recommended that long, continuous strokes be used to roll the dough rather than short, jerky strokes to make sure the butter block is evenly distributed.
• The 30-minute rest/cooling period for the dough between turns is crucial to re-chill the butter and allow the gluten in the dough to relax.
• Excess flour accumulated on the surface of the dough after turns should be brushed off as pockets of flour can interfere with the rise.
• Yard calls for a “controlled 90 degree F environment” for proofing the constructed braid. Please refer to this chart to assist you in this stage of the challenge:

Proofing Temperature For Fresh Dough
(room temp) For Refrigerated Dough
Degrees F Degrees C
70 ~ 21 1-1/2 to 2 hrs. 2-1/2 to 3 hrs.
75 ~ 24 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hrs. 2 to 2-1/2 hrs.
80 ~ 27 1 to 1-1/4 hrs. 1-1/2 to 2 hrs.
85 ~ 29 45 min. to 1 hr. 1 to 1-1/2 hrs.
90 ~ 32 45 min. 1 hr.

• When making cuts in the dough for the braid, make sure they are not too long and provide a solid base for the filling.
• Ben on Cardamom: It can be very expensive as some stores, but if you have an Indian store nearby, it can be considerably less expensive than at your local grocery store. If you can’t find it or it is still cost prohibitive, then you can use a substitute. Many people would say that there is no substitute for the unique flavor of cardamom and it is better to leave it out. But I’ve found out that combining cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in equal portions words pretty well. Of course, it doesn’t come close to the cardamom taste, but it worked just fine for one of my test batches.
• Kelly’s Two Cents: I had some green cardamom pods on hand and used 16, cracking and emptying the contents into a grinder to get the quantity called for in the recipe for the dough. The quantity barely put a dent in my 1 oz. bottle. If you don’t have an Indian store near by, you may consider on-line spice retailers like … -and-black or
Yes, there’s postage involved, but you’ll have cardamom for many other
recipes for a fraction of the cost, even with postage.


Danish Braid

Sherry Yard, The Secrets of Baking


Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes enough for two braids

4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now 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.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake 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 F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.



Butter Block



First roll out of the dough, and butter block spread over 2/3 of it.



Fold end with no butter halfway over buttered dough. You're folding in three, like a business letter.



Here is your folded business letter, and your first completed turn of the dough!



****This is where you let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Take it out of the fridge, roll to a 13x18" rectangle, fold the open ends in, like a business letter, and let it rest for 30 minutes again, in the fridge. This is your second turn. Two more to go, and after the last turn, give it a rest for 5 hours or overnight.


After the 5 hour rest period, divide the dough in two. Refrigerate one while you start on the other. Roll to a 10x15" rectangle, and continue on.


Apple filling cooking down. Blueberry filling was done the same way. Three cups blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, cook down until syrupy and thickened. Add about 1/2 cups blueberries at the end for a few whole berries in the filling.



Almond paste waiting for blueberries.



Blueberry filling over almond paste.



Apple filling.



Finished braid.



Finished braids, proofing. I preheated my oven to 175 F, then shut it off and put the braids in to proof. After about one hour, they were ready to go.



Finished braids.



Glazed with a mixture of powdered sugar, water, and vanilla bean seeds.




I encourage everyone to try this recipe! You'll be thrilled to complete something like this, and so happy when you take that first (second, third, fourth, fifth, etc....)bite! It's not as difficult as it may seem. Just follow the steps, and you'll be fine.

Thank you to Kelly and Ben for choosing this recipe! I never in a million years would have thought I could do this, but I did! Another huge accomplishment and another DB Challenge chalked up. Whew! hehehe!

A few helpful links: