Makes 2 Braids:
2 (9 oz) puff pastry sheets, thawed and chilled in the refrigerator
Egg wash: 2 egg yolks plus 2-3 tablespoons water
5 apples (combination gala and granny smith) peeled, cored, and cubed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 heaping teaspoons corn starch
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
Optional: 1 teaspoon orange zest, ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins, 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Begin by making the apple filling. In a large, shallow saucepan melt butter and add apples. Add the brown sugar, white sugar, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon. Mix well and cook over high heat for a few minutes while constantly stirring to break up the sugar and combine all of the ingredients. Once the apples release some juices and the sauce begins to thicken it is ready. Do not overcook or the apples will break down and become mushy. Keep in mind that they will continue to cook in the oven. Cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 400 °F, 200 °C.
Lightly dust your work surface with some all-purpose flour. Roll out each puff pastry to a 12” by 15” rectangle. Place each puff pastry sheet on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Make an even number of diagonal cuts down each side (approx. 1 inch apart) of the rectangle.
Divide the apple filling equally between the two pastries and spread the mixture down in the center of each puff pastry.
Fold the diagonal strips of dough in a criss-cross pattern over the apple filling, forming a braid.
Press the ends together to seal the top and bottom.
Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar over the top of the pastries.
Bake in the center rack of the oven until puffed and golden brown. About 30-35 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before serving.
Make ahead tips:
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