This recipe is both elegant and low-effort, not to mention delicious. The puffed pastry bakes into an airy pastry that is both buttery and flaky, with an almost tissue paper crispness. And that's what makes the texture so fun to eat, in my opinion. Inside, warm raspberry preserves; outside, a drizzle of vanilla bean icing and orange zest--divine. I love this for breakfast with company or on a special day, but it also works well for dessert with coffee, mulled wine, or an aperitif.
Notes: Raspberry preserves are Smucker's all-fruit.
PUFFED RASPBERRY BRAID
Ingredients: 1 sheet of thawed puffed pastry, 1/2 cup raspberry preserves, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. milk, 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or seeds from a whole pod, zest of 1 small orange, 1 beaten egg.
1. Preheat and prep pastry: Preheat the oven to 400* F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour a surface and gently roll the sheet of puffed pastry into a rectangle, flipping over a few times. I do this with the fold marks going up and down, like opening a brochure, rather than a letter. Using the fold marks as a guide, slice horizontal 1-inch strips down each side--the left third and the right third--leaving the center section uncut--this is where the jam will go. You can cut the strips at an angle or straight across.
2. Assemble: Spread the raspberry preserves down the center. I usually stop 1/2 inch or so from each end to minimize spillage when it bakes. Lift the side strips up and over the center, alternating each side, to make a braid shape. Transfer the braid to the lined baking sheet.
Brush well with beaten egg.
3. Bake and finish: Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until puffed and browned. (If you remove it early, when only lightly golden, the inside will be raw.) Remove to cool on the baking sheet.
Stir the powdered sugar and milk together until you have a thick drizzling consistency. Add more powdered sugar or milk, if needed. Stir in the vanilla paste. Drizzle over the pastry. Sprinkle over orange zest. Slice and serve.
Substitute lemon zest for the orange if you like.
Try with different preserves, cherry, strawberry, blackberry, etc.