apple walnut danish

Apple Walnut Danish

Last weekend, Josh and I went apple picking and came home with more apples than I care to admit (ok, I’ll admit it: approximately 25 pounds).  In my defense, Jonagolds are my favorite cultivar apples and they seem to only ever be available for about 2 weeks a year.  Since we were too late to pick any last year, I might have overcompensated juuuuust a bit this year.  Three gallons of home-canned apple pie filling later, I still had more apples left than any normal person should eat in a week.

While this apple walnut danish barely made a dent in my apple supply (and bit into my canned apple pie filling a little bit), every little bit helps.  Both versions I tried are super easy, but the one which uses canned pie filling takes barely any effort at all.  All you have to do to make the filling is stir pre-made apple pie filling and chopped walnuts together.  Done.  Store bought puff pastry is another major time saver (and ever since I attempted to make it from scratch, I’ve regarded doing so as a fool’s errand anyway).

Danishes are usually drizzled with a powdered sugar icing, but I couldn’t resist pairing apples and caramel, so I swapped it out with a store bought caramel sauce.  If this isn’t your thing, you’re free to use the powdered sugar icing instead (mix ½ cup of powdered sugar with 1 tsp. of water and add a little bit more water at a time until it is drizzly), or leave it off entirely.

You will need the following ingredients:

For the easy version:

apple walnut danish ingredients (version 1)

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 cup pre-made apple pie filling
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup caramel dip (or caramel syrup mixed with 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar)- not pictured

For the fresh apple version:

apple walnut danish ingredients (version 2)

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 cup baking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (1 large apple is enough)
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. apple pie spice (substitute cinnamon if you don’t have any)
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup caramel dip (or caramel syrup mixed with 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar)- not pictured

For baking ambiance:

  • Let’s pretend for a moment that I didn’t put on the same tired old funk cd I’ve been listening to for months at this point (seriously, even Josh recognizes it now).  Instead, I’m going to suggest some Supertramp for this bakeventure.  Why?  Well… I don’t really know.  The connection eludes me, but “The Logical Song” did pop into my head while peeling my apple even with the aforementioned funk cd playing, so there must be something to it.  Regardless, their music is catchy and fun, which makes it an excellent candidate for a bakeventure soundtrack.

Let’s get baking!

Preheat your oven to 400°F.  Grease a cookie sheet or line it with foil (if you line it, you might also want to grease the foil to make it easier to remove the finished danish).

Thaw one sheet of puff pastry according to the package directions.

If you are making the easy version of this danish, stir together the pie filling and walnuts in a small bowl and set it aside.  If your pie filling is unseasoned, you can add some apple pie spice or cinnamon if you’re feeling fancy.

easy filling

If you have a bit more time on your hands (or would just rather use fresh apples), stir together the brown sugar, cornstarch, and pie spice in a medium bowl, then stir in the walnuts.

sugar and spice mixture    sugar, spice, and nut mixture

Peel, core, and chop your apple(s).  I found the useful to to use a melon baller for coring apples to prevent waste, and I must say that it has proved invaluable.  I highly recommend trying it if you have a melon baller and an apple that needs coring.  Regardless of the method you use, chop the apple into chunks and stir those into the sugar, spice, and nut mixture.

Whichever filling you choose to make, the procedure is the same from here.  When your puff pastry is just supple enough to work with, unfold the sheet and place it on the cookie sheet.  Using kitchen shears or another cutting implement of choice (sharp knife, pizza cutter, etc.), cut diagonal strips at a 45° angle out of the left third of the dough.  Mine are about 1″ wide, but you can adjust yours depending on the look you want.  Repeat with the right third of the dough (see the photos for a clearer description of how to do this).

Cutting Strips in Puff Pastry    prepared puff pastry

Now pile the filling onto the middle strip of dough, leaving about 1″ on each end.

Fold the top and bottom of the dough inward to cover the filling and fold the attached outer strips inward as well.

ends folded in

Starting on the left, fold one strip of dough over the filling, then fold a strip from the right over the filling, overlapping the tip of the previous strip.  Continue folding alternating strips inward to form a braid.

braided danish

If your dough has become too floppy, refrigerate your danish for 20 minutes at this point.  When you are ready to bake it, beat the egg with 1 Tbsp. of water until it is smooth.  Brush the egg wash over the top of the danish.  Try not to let too much run off the side because it will burn on the pan.

egg wash

Bake the danish for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and it has become a bit puffy.

baked danish

Carefully remove the pastry to your serving dish to cool.  When it is cool enough to touch without being uncomfortable, prepare the glaze (if using).  Put the caramel dip in a small bowl and microwave for 3 seconds.  Add water, a little bit at a time, until the dip is runny enough to drizzle over the danish.  If you are using caramel ice cream topping instead, add some powdered sugar until you have the right consistency.  Drizzle your glaze over your danish, slice, and serve.  Store it in an airtight container and eat within 3 days (the puff pastry goes stale pretty quick).

Enjoy!

apple walnut danish

You can download the printable PDF recipe here: Apple Walnut Danish

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