This Danish pastry ring is well worth the work for its buttery, flakey pastry stuffed with almond filling, icing drizzle and candied cherries. *Please note that you can print without images by checking a box in the printer prompt.*
candied cherries or sliced almonds, for garnish and optional
Make the Dough:
In a medium bowl, beat the butter and 1/4 cup flour until smooth, fluffy and butter lightens one shade.
Spritz a medium rimmed baking sheet and cover with wax or parchment paper.
Mark a 12x8 rectangle lightly with pencil and spread butter mixture into this shape. Place in the refrigerator. It will need to chill for a minimum of 1 hour to re-firm.
Scald the milk by placing in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow it to simmer for 2-3 minutes (never to a boil) and then decrease heat to low and stir in the sugar and salt until dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Place the yeast and 1/2 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl. Allow the yeast to bloom for 10 minutes. Stir in the cooled milk mixture, eggs, and the remaining 3 3/4 cups flour. Beat until combined and smooth, but do not overmix. Dough will be soft and sticky. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead the dough with your hands a few times. Flour a rolling pin and flatten into a 12x16 rectangle. Remove cold butter mixture from the refrigerator and set onto one half of the dough. It will look like an open book. Carefully pull up non-butter side of dough and cover (like you are closing a book). Press edges together so it resembles a closed book.
Continue to generously flouring rolling surface to prevent sticking. Rotate the dough so it fits better on the mat. Roll out the dough again to a 16x8 rectangle. Fold this rectangle into thirds, pinching edges together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Remove dough and roll again to a 16x8 rectangle. Fold into thirds and chill again for 30 minutes. Roll out one more time, fold into thirds one more time, then wrap dough in plastic wrap with a little slack and refrigerate overnight.
Make the Filling:
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, almond paste, water and almond extract in a bowl, blend until it is smooth and soft, which can take up to 5-7 minutes. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use. This will be used for both rings, so divide into two equal halves.
Stuff & Braid the Dough:
Divide the dough into two equal portions. Wrap and return one half to the refrigerator. Roll the remaining dough into a 22x9 inch square on a floured surface. Cut dough lengthwise into 3 equal strips, 3 inches wide.
Measure out 1/3 cup and roll into ropes, placing down the center of each strip.
Fold over and pinch all edges together. If the dough is too floured, use a pastry brush with water to make it stick together.
Braid the strips using a general braiding technique. Gently form into a circle with a 6-inch diameter center. Pinch ends together to connect.
Place the ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a slightly moistened towel and set aside to rise for 45 minutes. Continue with second set of dough.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the pastry, without moistened covering, for 30 minutes. Every so often, spray a water bottle into the oven to create steam. If the top starts to brown too fast, place a leaf of aluminum foil over the top. Also consider rotating throughout baking to evenly brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Drizzle & Garnish:
Whisk the powdered sugar, almond extract and half of the milk in a small bowl. Add remaining milk in small volumes until it is a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled pastry.
While the icing is still tacky, decorate with candied cherries and/or sliced almonds.
If you've tried this recipe, please come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!