Dutch Almond Cherry-Filled Braids

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This picture is from my book that I’ve been reading for awhile, Off the Shelf Baking. I love this book because the desserts in it are easy for me and yet very creative.

1 17.3 oz. pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed (2 sheets)
1 8-oz. can almond paste
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg, separated
1/2 c. cherry preserves
1/4 c. sliced almonds
Coarse sugar

Step 1: Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Unfold pastry sheets; place 1 pastry sheet on each prepared baking sheet.

Step 2: for almond filling, in a medium bowl beat almond paste, sugar, and egg white with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Divide almond mixture between pastry sheets. Spread mixture over the center of each sheet in a 3-inch-wide strip, leaving a 1/2 inch on each end. Spread preserves over almond filling.

Step 3: Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, make cuts at 1-inch intervals toward the filling about 3 inches long. Starting at one end, alternately fold opposite strips of dough at an angle across the filling, overlapping ends of strips in middle. Press down gently to seal.

Step 4: Beat egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush over braids. Sprinkle with almonds and coarse sugar. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove and discard plastic wrap.

Step 5: Bake, one braid at a time, in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until tops and bottoms are golden brown. Cool braids on a wire rack about 15 minutes. Cut each braid into 6 slices; serve warm.

Makes 2 braids (6 servings each).

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Kim McDougal