Danish pastries are one of my simple joys in life, in particular apricot & custard danish pastries. As beautiful as they are to eat, making them from scratch is a little less joyful.
It isn’t often that I make the pastry from scratch, it’s a long process and I often find that the results don’t pay off from all the hours I put in, and so my now go-to method for making these beauties is to use store bought puff pastry. Now I know that puff isn’t necessarily the same as danish dough- the main difference being the absence of yeast in the puff, however I find that the difference isn’t that noticeable in the finished product.
Using puff pastry gives you much more room for error and so is great for inexperienced bakers ( or lazy professionals like me.) No proving or resting time is required, so you can go from start to finish in under two hours.
The best puff pastry I’ve found is the just roll puff, and guess what, it’s vegan so super versatile with different fillings.
The custard in these danish is a creme patissiere, nice and thick so it doesn’t run out during baking. you can make this in advance, or make a big batch to use throughout the week. as long as you keep it covered and refrigerated it should keep well for around five days.
This same method works well for different soft fruits, so have fun experimenting with seasonal fruit throughout the year.
- 1 block store bought puff pastry
- 6 ripe fresh apricots
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
- 1 egg
- splash milk
For the creme patissiere
- 250ml whole milk
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 40g unsalted butter
- pinch salt
Start by making the creme patissiere. Pour milk into a sauce pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Meanwhile whisk together sugar, vanilla, eggs, yolks, flour and salt. Pour hot milk gradually over egg mix until fully combined. Return mixture to pan and mix constantly on a low heat until mix begins to thicken. Once noticeably thicker- start adding the butter bit by bit until fully combined and your custard is smooth and silky. Transfer to a cool container and apply cling film directly to the surface of the custard to prevent forming a skin. Chill until firm and cold.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius.
Roll the puff pastry out on a floured surface until around half a centimeter thick and rectangular. Cut into squares about the size of a coaster.
Make cuts into the pastry. start at one corner, about 1cm in and cut nearly all the way to the adjacent corners. You should have two lines starting from one corner going out to the two corners either side. Now do the same thing but starting from the opposite corner. you should be seeing a square with two right angle incisions either side.
Make an egg wash using one egg beaten with a splash of milk and a pinch of salt. Lightly brush the inner edges of the cut sides of the square. Take the cut out section of one corner and pull it over to the egg washed side of the opposite corner. press down gently to adhere to the egg wash. Do the same with the opposite side.
You should now have a diamond shape with a raised inner diamond.
Spoon a tablespoon of your chilled custard into the dip of the inner diamond and smooth keeping it inside the lines. Repeat on all pastries.
Half your apricots and remove the stones. Place one apricot half on top of the custard in each pastry. Arrange all pastries on a tray lined with baking parchment.
Brush all exposed pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown and bottoms are baked.
Cool on a wire rack. Heat apricot jam with 2 TBSP water until boiling. Brush all over pastries to create a nice shine and extra sweetness.
Here is a different style I enjoy to do if you fancy changing it up a bit. Fell free to experiment with your own styles and designs!