To prepare sponge, combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let stand 15 minutes.
To prepare dough, weigh or lightly spoon 75 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour and pastry flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, sour cream, butter, salt, vanilla, 1 egg, and sponge in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute or until well combined. Add flours; beat at low speed 3 minutes or until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes), adding remaining 15 ounces all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour and 15 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indention remains, dough has risen enough.)
To prepare filling, combine cream cheese and the next 4 ingredients (through dash of salt) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
Punch dough down; roll dough into a 12 x 15-inch rectangle on lightly floured parchment paper. Spread cream cheese mixture down center of dough, leaving about a 5-inch border on each side and a 1-inch border at top and bottom of rectangle. Make 5-inch cuts about 1 inch apart on both sides of dough to meet filling using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Remove 4 outer corner strips of dough from rectangle; discard. Fold top and bottom 1-inch portions of dough over filling. Fold strips over filling, alternating strips diagonally over filling. Press ends to seal. Transfer braid and parchment paper to a baking sheet. Cover and let rise 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°. Combine 1 teaspoon water and 1 egg; stir with a whisk. Brush braid with egg mixture. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes.
Combine powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons milk in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over braid; sprinkle with nuts.
Very close to bakery Danish without all the calories. My hubby does not like cheese so I used 1/2 can of almond paste. Could not find pastry flour in our area, so I used ½c from substitute mixture of 1-1/3 flour and 2/3 cake flour mixed well. The cake was amazing. As noted by our neighbors who also loved the Danish Braid and asked for the recipe. Thank you, Cooking Light for providing us another great recipe.
This went together easily. We do not like super sweet things, but this filling had a total lack of sweetness. Next time I will add 1/3 cup of Splenda to the filling and maybe a few drops of jam onto the filling just before braiding.
The dough was refrigerated over night. It was very light and flavorful. I sprinkled the four corner "discard" pieces with cinnamon sugar and baked with the braid for 5-7 minutes. My husband devoured those while waiting for the braid. Will definitely make again.
This was an excellent recipe for a cheese danish. I've never made one before so I had to youtube how to braid it because the braiding instructions weren't clear enough, but it turned out great! There may have been a bit too much filling and I used full fat ricotta and cream cheese because that's what I had but would use low-fat next time. After reading a review that the filling wasn't sweet enough, I increased the honey by a 1/2 TBSP but I didn't think that was necessary after tasting it. It baked up in about 13 minutes, although the bottom was slightly too white. Does not taste low-fat whatsoever!
It's very good. I made extra filling because I thought extra filling is always good--but I was wrong, it was too much. Even without the extra filling I wouldn't call it 5 star, it's a lot of work, and pretty tasty, but I probably won't be making it again.
I have made this recipe twice now and will continue to make it as often as I can. The first time I made it I added sugar to the filling, this made it way too sweet, but still tasty. The second time I made it I used really good honey and I added cherry pie filling to it and it was amazing.
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