Bread

Honey Oat Bread

Honey Oat Bread Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple, delicious, and healthy homemade sandwich bread that is sweetened with honey and has old fashioned or quick oats in there. It's a soft, white, chewy bread that makes two loaves. Find the recipe for this simple yeast bread on thewoodandspoon.com

This time last week, I was very pregnant. 37 weeks, large and in charge, swollen feet, hot flashy… pregnant.

This time last week, I had plans to get a mani/pedi, finish the baby’s nursery, and type up a few blog posts before my maternity leave.

This time last week, unbeknownst to me, I was very much so in labor.

Birth Photography Dreamtown Co

I am overjoyed to announce that last Wednesday, May 11th, at 1:52 pm, Brett and I welcomed a baby boy into the world. At 6 pounds and 10 ounces, 19 inches, and a shade that would be best defined as mauve, our son, a few weeks early, took his first breaths of this world’s air.

Birth Photography Dreamtown Co

Birth Photography Dreamtown Co

I don’t know if I believe in love at first site, but I will tell you that there is nothing quite like holding your newborn child for the first time. The sight of a tiny person made up of your own flesh and blood provides a rush of emotional adrenaline that is the perfect mix of exhaustion, joy, and heart explosion. We still hadn’t picked a name, but after he was taken away to be cleaned up, Brett and I settled on George Ellis Wood. George, a nod to Brett’s grandfather and uncle, and Ellis, which means “mouthpiece of God” and “the Lord is my God”, was chosen after a few minutes of deliberation, and week into his golden little life, I will tell you I couldn’t be more excited about our choice.

Birth Photography Dreamtown Co

George experienced some difficulty breathing almost immediately, and after a few hours of observation by our pediatrician, it was decided that he would require treatment at a facility about an hour away. After being held by his mama only once, George was whisked away by ambulance and I was left to recover in my original hospital room, completely overwhelmed by the day’s events.

Fast forward to today.

George is still in the NICU, but he’s doing splendidly and getting closer and closer to breathing on his own. I’ve held him three times since then (4 if you count holding hands), and every time feels like the first.

Birth Photography Dreamtown Co

Birth Photography Dreamtown Co

When unexpected things happen, it’s easy for me to become overwhelmed, ask “why?”, and to question God’s sovereignty in my life. This past week, however, has been a uniquely different experience.  While overwhelming at times, we have been supported and covered in prayer in a way unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. We’ve been on the receiving end of hundreds of calls, texts, and hugs, and I feel so at ease and peace with leaving our son in the care of his medical team. I’ve seen answers to prayers and evidence of God’s action over the course of this week, and instead of “why?”, I’m just really grateful to have a little baby’s hand to hold. We’re not home yet, but baby George is doing well and that’s all I could hope for at this point. If you have been joining us in prayer- thank you. You have given us the greatest gift you have to give. 

Birth Photography Dreamtown Co

Also, can we take about these photos? My best friend, Jesse, of Dreamtown Co. flew to Alabama the morning I went into labor. Friends that will cancel their entire week of plans to hold your sweaty hand while you push a baby out are a rare commodity. She’s a terrific lady with photography skills to boot, so check out her site here. Also, as you can see, she’s a babe. 

Birth Photography Dreamtown Co

And ok, I know what you’re thinking: “Um, hello, where’s the food? Where’s the recipes” 

I couldn’t agree more.

Honey Oat Bread Recipe

Today I’m sharing with you my recipe for honey oat bread. As luck would have it, I baked several loaves to store in our deep freezer just three days before baby George decided to wiggle in to the world. It’s a good thing too because we would all be lost without this bread. Jesse, who stayed at my house while I was in overseeing George at the hospital, texted me asking, “WHERE IS THIS BREAD FROM, I’VE EATEN THREE SLICES ALREADY?!”

I was proud to tell her that I was the one responsible.

Honey Oat Bread Recipe

In creating honey oat bread, I started with my no fail whole wheat sandwich bread recipe and then modified it a bit to include oats and honey. It’s not 100% whole wheat, but the extra gluten from the all purpose flour makes it soft and chewy which is perfect at breakfast time under a shmear of peanut butter or jam. I highly recommend this bread toasted with salted butter and honey or a little cinnamon and sugar. I also highly recommend making multiple loaves at a time and cramming them in your freezer in case you happen to go into labor unexpectedly. 

Honey Oat Bread Recipe

Please continue to love on little George. It makes my mama heart glow. And happy bread baking!

 

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Honey Oat Bread

Honey Oat Bread Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple, delicious, and healthy homemade sandwich bread that is sweetened with honey and has old fashioned or quick oats in there. It's a soft, white, chewy bread that makes two loaves. Find the recipe for this simple yeast bread on thewoodandspoon.com

This honey oat bread is light, fluffy, and slightly chewy. I recommend toasting and serving warm!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 90
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm (but not too hot) water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup milk (I use 2%), room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 cup quick cook oats, plus more for sprinkling on top of loaf
  • 5 (or more) cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream

Instructions

  1. Pour water in a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer,and sprinkle the yeast over top of it. Allow to sit for 5 minutes while yeast dissolves and activates.
  2. Meanwhile, combine milk, honey, and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the activated yeast water and stir until combined.
  3. Add the oats, 1 cup of the flour, and the salt and stir until loosely combined. Add the remaining 4 cups of flour and mix until combined.
  4. Using the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer, or by hand, knead the shaggy dough together until a soft ball of dough is formed. Add additional flour 2 tablespoons at a time if it remains too wet, however, keep in mind, this is a fairly moist bread dough. When finished, it should feel tacky to the touch and won’t be completely smooth because of the oats. I knead for 3-4 minutes on low speed on my stand mixer.
  5. Place dough ball into a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise in a slightly warm environment for about 1-1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Once doubled, dump dough out on to a floured surface and separate in to two equal pieces. Form dough into a loaf shape and place each piece in its own lightly greased bread pan (8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 2 3/4″).
  7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover bread pans with dough inside with plastic wrap and allow to rise for a second time, about 1- 1-1/2 hours, or just until the dome of the bread has risen one inch above the lip of the pan.
  8. Lightly brush the top of bread with cream and sprinkle with remaining oats. Place in the oven and immediately lower heat to 375 degrees. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool for ten minutes inside the pan on a cooling rack, then remove from pan and cool completely before packaging.

Strawberry Shortcake

roasted strawberry shortcake with honey whipped cream recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. These are simple drop biscuit style shortcakes made with butter and cream. The strawberries are roasted and made into a delicious filling and topping. The whole thing can be topped with a honey whipped cream that is sweet and fluffy, the perfect accent to the shortcakes and berries. Find this simple summer recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

If I ended up on death row and tonight’s dinner was destined to be my last meal, I would you ask you for an over-sized portion of my mom’s baked spaghetti. It’s nothing fancy, really- diced onion, ground beef, and canned tomato sauce, baked together with cooked spaghetti noodles under a blanket of shredded mozzarella and parmesan- but to me, no baked spaghetti could ever taste as good to me as hers. Other contenders for my last meal just may include something similar to today’s recipe: strawberry shortcake .

roasted strawberries

One of the first foods I can remember learning to make is biscuits. Growing up, my Mimi would prepare her famous chicken and dumplings, and I would watch her cut the fat into the the flour, rolling out the dough and cutting each biscuit round out with the lip of a slender drinking glass. Mimi’s take on chicken and dumplings included baking the biscuits in the oven and smothering them with the chicken and thickened sauce. If we were lucky, she would prepare extra biscuits and these would become the foundation pieces for a dessert of strawberry shortcake. We would macerate berries in sugar and make a generous bowl of whipped cream to dollop over the sweet berries and warm biscuits. The words “strawberry shortcake” will always be synonymous with Mimi and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And isn’t that the one of the coolest things about food? Food can take you somewhere- to a place, to a time, to a feeling. Just the smell of certain foods make me feel like I’m a kid again, or on a first date, or fanning the kitchen after scorching something on the bottom of the oven. Foods jar memories, emotions, and a range of other things because those moments become apart of us. Baked spaghetti and strawberry shortcake, to me, is more than just a meal- it’s a memory of home.

I want to create moments like that with my kids. I want them to grow up and say their version of some food was better because it was apart of their memories… because eating that food was like sharing a meal with their mom again.

Okay, I swear I’m not crying over here. (Read: I am.) #pregnancyhormones

We should move on. Let’s get to the good stuff. The nitty gritty. Let’s talk strawberry shortcake.

roasted strawberry shortcake with honey whipped cream Starting with my Mimi’s biscuit recipe and modifying to make a sweeter, more scone-like shortcake, this strawberry shortcake recipe features  roasted strawberries and really, realllly good honey whipped cream. Roasting the strawberries intensifies their strawberry-ness and makes an otherwise ordinary dessert really something to talk about. And the honey whipped cream? Well, let’s just say I’m putting this bad boy on everything now.

roasted strawberry shortcake with honey whipped cream

If I were you, I’d double the batch of shortcakes and plan on eating those little nuggets for breakfast all week long. Monday could be butter and honey, Tuesday could be fresh preserves and left over honey whipped cream, Wednesday could be hazelnut spread and marshmallow fluff… the possibilities are endless. The bottom line is that with summer just around the corner and fresh berries on the verge of taking over your grocery store, you NEED a strawberry shortcake recipe that is for the books. Done and done.

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Strawberry Shortcake

Roasted Strawberry Shortcakes recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. These are simple drop biscuit style shortcakes made with butter and cream. The strawberries are roasted and made into a delicious filling and topping. The whole thing can be topped with a honey whipped cream that is sweet and fluffy, the perfect accent to the shortcakes and berries. Find this simple summer recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

This strawberry shortcake recipe features roasted strawberries and really, realllly good honey whipped cream.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
Scale

Ingredients

For the shortcakes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 11/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup whipping cream

For the roasted strawberries

  • 2 pounds of strawberries, stemmed, hulled- cut large berries in half and leave petite ones whole
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the honey whipped cream

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 11/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

To prepare the shortcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Using a pastry cutter or the back of a fork, cut in the butter until well combined and with pea-sized clumps uniformly throughout.
  4. Add the cream, stirring until a soft, shaggy dough is formed.
  5. For rustic shortcakes, use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to portion out 1/4 cup mounds of dough and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand. For more biscuit-like shortcakes, gently pat dough out on to lightly floured surface until 3/4″ thick. Using a 3″ biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of dough. Lightly brush the remaining cream over the mounts of dough. Sprinkle a little extra sugar on top, if desired.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until shortcakes are golden and cooked throughout. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

To prepare the strawberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Toss together the strawberries, sugar, and salt on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes or until juices are released and strawberries are fragrant. Add two tablespoons of water to the berries and juices and stir with a spatula. Allow to cool slightly.

For the honey whipped cream

  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until most clumps are smoothed out, about one minute. Add the honey and sugar and beat to combine, about one minute.
  2. Add about 1/4 of the cream and beat just slightly until the cream cheese mixture is thinned out, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining cream and beat until cream is whipped to stiff peaks. Avoid over-beating.

To assemble the shortcakes

  1. Set aside about 1/2 of the strawberries, leaving the juices behind with the other half. Using a potato masher, mash the half of strawberries with the juices remaining until all large bits of strawberry is smooshed. Fold in the other half of intact strawberries.
  2. Slice each shortcake in half, removing the tops. Spoon a generous dollop of whipped cream on top of the bottom.
  3. Spoon a generous helping of strawberries over the cream, saving enough liquid and intact strawberries for the rest of the shortcakes.
  4. Replace the top of the shortcake and enjoy immediately!

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Whole wheat sandwich bread recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a fluffy, healthy, 100% whole wheat sandwich bread that is fluffy and mild tasting. This is a homemade bread good for kids to eat. Makes great toast and sandwiches. Made soft with vital wheat germ. Naturally sweetened with honey. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

Everyone has their things.

Growing up, my mom was a stickler for writing thank you notes.

If someone gave you a birthday present, you wrote a thank you. If someone gave you graduation money, you wrote a thank you. Heck, if someone gave you a piece of gum or shared a glass of water, that was probably worth a note too.

My dad had his things as well. He believed in waking with the sun. Sleeping in, according to him, was a waste of perfectly good morning hours and an obvious sign of laziness.  So on Saturday mornings around 6:30 a.m., he would call up the stairs, “Good morning, Kate,” and I was expected to be downstairs ASAP. This was incredibly painful for 14 year old me as I had probably stayed up till 2 am watching reruns of “Saved By The Bell” or “TRL” (I see you, Carson Daly).

photo of whole wheat sandwich bread

I remember, at the time, hating these things my parents believed in. I would complain about having to awkwardly write a long, drawn out note instead of just calling to say thank you like all my other friends did. After all, I had a super fancy, brand new Nokia phone, and it was good for things other than playing Snake… maybe, I think.

Similarly, I was always the weirdo kid awake at 7 a.m. at slumber parties and church lock-ins, laying in my sleeping bag for hours, pretending to still be asleep and not the girl whose stomach was growling in protest from the delayed breakfast hour.

I never really got my parents. Now, so much makes sense.

My abhorrence for thank you notes has been replaced with a deep spirit of gratitude. Scouring TJ Maxx for discount stationary or spending $5 on a fancy letter-pressed card  is totally acceptable to me because there’s something  so romantic and sincere about putting pen to paper.  In the same way, I am now a tried and true morning girl. A creature of habit, my recipe for a perfect morning (every morning) is 10 ounces of coffee, 1 tablespoon of almond coffee creamer, and a few moments of quiet before the baby wakes up and the opening credits of a busy day starts rolling.

Thank you notes and early mornings fit me like a glove. They’re familiar and feel good to my soul. They’re my bread and butter.

whole wheat sandwich bread

On that note, I have a recipe for you. This is my go-to recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread. It’s excellent toasted with peanut butter and honey, and equally delicious with thick slices of tomato, cheese, and basil sandwiched in between. It’s 100% fluffy, moist, and (hooray!) whole wheat.  If you’ve never made bread before, this is a great recipe to start with as no bread machine or stand mixer with dough hook is required.

Read the instructions carefully before starting and make sure you set aside enough time for the proper rise. If you don’t let you bread rise enough prior to baking, you won’t get the height and fluff we’re looking for here. And let’s be honest- bread without fluff? Why bother? 

Watch this quick tutorial for a how-to on shaping sandwich bread loaves if you need the run down.

 

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Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Whole wheat sandwich bread recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a fluffy, healthy, 100% whole wheat sandwich bread that is fluffy and mild tasting. This is a homemade bread good for kids to eat. Makes great toast and sandwiches. Made soft with vital wheat germ. Naturally sweetened with honey. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

100% whole wheat sandwich bread that is super simple, slightly sweet, and totally delicious.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 90
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 mL) warm water
  • 2 teaspoons (10 gm) active dy yeast
  • 11/4 cup (300 mL) milk (I use 2%), room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) honey
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) light oil (canola, vegetable, or extra light olive oil)
  • 5 cups (600 gm) of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons (20 gm) of vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tablespoon (20 gm) salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over the water and allow to dissolve, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the milk, honey and oil. Add 2 cups of the flour, salt, and gluten, stirring just until combined. Add the remaining flour and stir until dough is a fairly uniform, shaggy dough.
  3. Allow the dough to rest 30 minutes.
  4. In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (or by hand, if preferred) knead dough until dough is smooth and only slightly tacky, about 7-8 minutes. If dough is too sticky, add up to 1/2 cup of additional whole wheat flour.
  5. Spray a large bowl lightly with baking spray and place dough inside, covering tightly with a sheet of Saran wrap. Allow to rest in a warm spot for about 1-1/2 hours, or until dough has risen and is approximately double in size.
  6. Once risen, remove dough from bowl and separate in to two equal pieces, handling the dough as little as possible. Gently form the dough balls in to small loaf shapes.
  7. Place dough in to two separate loaf pans (8.5″ X 4.5″ X 2.75″) that have been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with Saran wrap and allow to rise again for about 45 minutes, or until the dough has just barely risen over the top of the pan. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  8. Once risen, place loaves in the oven and immediately decrease the heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until loaves have browned and sound hollow when tapped on the top.
  9. Allow to cool in pan for ten minutes and then remove to finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Notes

  • It is vital that bread rises well prior to being baked. If your bread is not rising well, place loaves in a slightly warmer spot in your kitchen. I let my bread rise next to a warm oven.
  • Allow bread to cool completely prior to slicing.
  • Bread will keep on the counter for several days but will keep best in the refrigerator for up to 6-7 days. There’s no preservatives in this stuff so it won’t last as long as your supermarket bread- eat fast!
  • Wrapped securely in aluminum foil, bread will keep in a freezer for up to four months.

Breakfast Danish

breakfast danish by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a rough puff pastry made by laminating dough, rolled out and filled with winter fruits like apples, cherries, cranberries, and other bourbon soaked fruit. Learn how to make laminated dough and how to braid a danish dough. Turns into golden, flaky, pastry once baked. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

Brett made a scrunchy face at me and meticulously picked through the remains of his breakfast danish. “There’s a lot of fruit in here”, he said.

“Get out of the kitchen”, I replied.

I usually encourage constructive criticism when it comes to recipes and baking, but this danish had taken so much research, preparation, and use of my spare time that I wanted nothing short of glowing reviews. My husband, though, sometimes a bit more honest than my pride can bear, had already given away how he really felt about the pastry that contained hours of my love, sweat, and flour. He went on the lament of all of the “raisins” in the danish, even as I repeatedly confirmed to him that they were dried cherries.

“CHERRIES. They are dried cherries. It’s legitimately dried fruit soaked in bourbon and then baked into a delicious, flakey crust. How is that ever a bad thing? Explain. Now.”

I usually try to heed most of my husband’s likes and desires but this was one instance where the degree to which he was wrong was no match for how oh-so right the pastry was.

braided breakfast danish fruit filling

At the start of this year, we visited Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. I high recommend it. Anyone who would kind of consider themselves a foodie, or even anyone that just really likes to eat, would find themselves at home among the never-ending parade of seemingly perfect meals that we were served the entirety of our stay. The resort is small, intimate, and classically Southern, and they are known for their culinary and wine program.

On the last morning of our trip, we sat down for brunch and my attention was immediately directed to my left where BJ Novak (you probably know him as Ryan, the temporary hire on “The Office”) was dining with three other people. I was literally seconds away from approaching him to ask if we could FaceTime Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapour) so I could fangirl  her and talk about her new book that had me near-pants-wetting the entire time I read it. Right about that time, our waitress brought to our table a complimentary treat: breakfast danish. Let’s talk about that danish.

Actually, I may need a minute to just cherish the memory of that pastry.

Blackberry Farm- you know how to do it. You see all the other restaurants and resorts serving club crackers and cold biscuits as their complimentary bread basket and you decide to Michael-Jordan-slam-dunk-from-the-free-throw-line all over their faces. No, this was not your run of the mill bread basket. 

That danish was of another world. That danish tasted as though it was made entirely of butter and fairy dust. That danish was melt in your mouth, rich, buttery, flaky, tender pastry wrapped around a tart and spicy fruit filling.

braided breakfast danish fruit filling

It was beyond. And I knew I had to have it. After scouring the internet for a recipe that seemed worthwhile, I ran across a recipe by efore I tell you the recipe, a few thoughts that I will share in rhetoric:

  • Is this a ridiculously simple recipe? No. This recipe can look a bit overwhelming from the front end and it is not a mere one or two steps.
  • Is this a recipe that I can prepare in an hour start to finish? Absolutely not. This will take you a chunk of time and is best worked through in short phases throughout the day.
  • Is this a recipe that will melt my face off? Yes. Prepare your face for its day of melting. This is a recipe that is worth every second of meltage and more.

braided breakfast danish fruit filling

I recommend reading the recipe start to finish a few times so you’re kind of prepared for what’s ahead. For additional notes, be sure to check out the original recipe for the pastry as well.

And by the way, BJ Novak, if you ever read this by some random strike of luck or coincidence, tell Mindy Kaling I say what’s up and that we should be best friends. That is all. 

braided breakfast danish fruit filling

 

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Breakfast Danish

breakfast danish by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a rough puff pastry made by laminating dough, rolled out and filled with winter fruits like apples, cherries, cranberries, and other bourbon soaked fruit. Learn how to make laminated dough and how to braid a danish dough. Turns into golden, flaky, pastry once baked. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

A tender, flaky pastry crust braided and baked around a sweet and tart blend of winter fruits.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 90
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

For the danish dough (Recipe by Samantha Seneviratne)

  • 1 ½ cups bread flour, plus more for rolling dough
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 14 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup cold whole milk

For the winter fruit filling

  • 13 dried apricots, diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons good quality bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg

Instructions

To prepare the dough

  1. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, yeast and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse to combine until butter is distributed in pea-sized pieces throughout the flour. Put the flour mixture in a medium bowl.
  2. In a separate, small bowl, whisk the egg and milk with 2 tablespoons of water. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Fold the mixture until the liquid is evenly distributed, being careful to not overwork the dough. Dump the contents of the bowl out on to a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle. Chill for at least 3 hours, and up to 2 days.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to an 8-by-15-inch rectangle. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat the rolling and folding process. Dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking, rotate, roll, and fold a final time, ending with a small, rectangular piece of dough. Wrap the dough in Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Repeat the entire rolling and folding process one more time. You will have rolled and folded the dough six times. If the dough becomes loose or tacky, place in the fridge to rest for a bit. Wrap the dough and place in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight.

To prepare the filling

  1. Combine the apricots, cherries, and bourbon in a 4 quart saucepan over low heat with just enough water to almost cover the fruit. Allow to simmer over low heat until fruit has plumped and some of the liquid has been absorbed. This should take about 15 minutes total. Set aside the fruit and its liquid in a separate bowl.
  2. In the same pan over medium heat, combine butter, apples, brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, dried fruit, and lemon juice. Bring to a bubble and reduce heat to low, cooking for 5-7 minutes or until apples have softened slightly but are not mushy. During this time, slowly add liquid reserved from the dried fruit so that the filling remains a moist a syrupy consistency but never watery. You may not use all of the reserved liquid. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Allow to cool in the refrigerator.

To assemble the pastry

  1. Roll the pastry dough out in a 11×14″ rectangle on a lightly floured piece of parchment.
  2. Using the back of a knife, mark off a 3″ section of dough running the length of the pastry. Be careful not to break all the way through the pastry. This will serve as your guideline of where the fruit filling will go.
  3. Starting at one end and working your way the entire length of both sides of dough, make 1″cuts perpendicular to the lines you first created, dragging your knife from the barrier line to the end of the dough.These will be the pieces of dough you braid over the top of your fruit filling. Cut off the top and bottom 1″ strips, leaving just a center “flap” on either end.
  4. Beat an egg in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of water and apply a thin coat of this egg wash over the braiding strips and end flap.
  5. Spoon your filling in to the 3″ partitioned section of dough, discarding any extra watery liquid that may have gathered in the bowl.
  6. Fold the center end flaps up and over the fruit. Starting at one end of the pastry, braid your strips, in a slightly downward angle. When you get to the end of the pastry, fold your strips over and lightly press to ensure that the pastry has adhered and sealed.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Move the parchment to a cookie sheet and cover with saran wrap, allowing the pastry to rise. It will puff up slightly and bounce back at your touch.
  8. Brush the remaining egg wash all over the top of pastry. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, gently turning the pan halfway through. Remove from oven when the pastry is flaky and golden. Cool on a cooling rack until just warm. Serve warm with a simple powdered sugar or brown butter glaze.

Recipe Adapted From: Samantha Seneviratne