Monday, October 26, 2009

Cranberry Cream Cheese Braid

This festive braid falls into my favorite category of baking: yeasted and shaped sweet breads. Like a loyal I love the way the dough waits patiently for you in the fridge if you're not ready to use it immediately. You can do things on YOUR schedule

Cranberry Cream Cheese Braid
Makes 2 Braids

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups all-purpose flour (approx.)

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce***

1. Dough: In large bowl, stir 2 tsp of the sugar with warm water until dissolved. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, heat milk, remaining sugar, butter and salt until butter is melted; let cool to lukewarm. Stir into yeast mixture along with eggs. Stir in 3 1/4 cups of the flour, about 1 cup at a time, to form shaggy dough. Dough will be soft.

2. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding the remaining flour as necessary. Transfer to large greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

3. Filling: While dough is rising, beat the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla together until smooth. The cranberry sauce should be thick, not runny. If yours is too runny place it in a pot on the stove and add flour or cornstarch (1-3 tsp depending on how runny it is) and simmer to thicken. Cool before using.

4. Assembly: When dough has risen, gently punch it down. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 15" x 9" rectangle. Place on greased baking sheets. Spread the cream cheese filling lengthwise down center third of each rectangle. Spread the cranberry sauce on top. On each side, cut 1-inch thick strips towards the centre - do not cut through the filling. Starting at one end, "braid" the strips by folding them alternately at an angle across filling. Seal ends. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes. Optional: Brush with heavy cream or egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet.

***I have also seen similar recipes that use blueberries or pineapple. I'm pretty sure any fruit would go well with the cream cheese filling.


Anonymous said...

That looks so delicious! You did a wonderful job of braiding it too.

Barbara Bakes said...

I've made fruit braids before, but never with cream cheese and fruit. It sounds heavenly1

Cathy said...

I have to work this whole weekend, but guaranteed I'll be trying to find time to make this!

Unknown said...

Looks amazing! I will definitely be trying this one. I bet any fruit would be terrific in this "braid"! Great job!

Lynne said...

Yum! Might have to try this to bring home for Thanksgiving morning...

Anonymous said...

I make this for Thanksgiving yesterday. I used my KitchenAid MIxer to do most of the kneading and it came out great. Instead of the cranberry, I made the blueberry sauce found here: The combination of blueberry and cream cheese was yummy.
I also drizzled a powdered sugar glaze on the top after it had cooled.
Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I have always been a bit afraid of yeast recipes, but I'm going to try more of them now.

Anonymous said...

Im a 20 year old from Pakistan, and I am absolutely in love with you. I just got off from university and have holidays and I've been going crazy trying your recipes, I made the monkey bread, the vanilla chocolate bundt, and I made the panda express orange chicken too and and and I made this cream cheese braid with strawberry jam instead !!!
Overexcited much I know =p Hahahaha
Just wanted you to know, I LOVE YOU! You've made everything seem effortless and it really is!