Tamal Ray’s recipe for apple danish pastries

Tamal Ray’s recipe for apple danish pastries

My first experiments with danish pastries were disasters: stodgy lumps swimming in pools of grease. My breakthrough came when I realised that the butter and dough needed to be the same texture, rather than the same temperature, in order to roll them together. After all, butter sets hard when cold, while dough remains pliable. Once I had that figured out, a world of buttery pastry delights lay before me.

Apple danish pastries
Laminated doughs are a nightmare to make in warm conditions, because the butter will start to melt as you work with it. Save this recipe for a cold day. And don’t leave the final shaped pastries to rise anywhere too warm or the butter will melt out.

Prep 45 min
Chill Overnight
Rise 1 hr
Cook 25 min
Makes 12

For the dough
160g bread flour
125g plain flour
1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
½ tsp table salt
30g granulated sugar
1 medium egg
125ml milk
200g unsalted butter, cold

For the apple filling
450g apples – I use braeburns
450ml apple juice
1 lemon, juiced
300g granulated sugar
4 cinnamon sticks (20g)
40g unsalted butter
75g dried cherries
75g raisins
1 egg, whisked, for egg washing

Start the night before you plan to eat. Stir the dry dough ingredients into the wet, then bring together into a dough. Knead for a few minutes, put into a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

For the filling, peel, core and grate the apples and add to a saucepan with the apple and lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Boil for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the fruit softened. When the liquid has all boiled away, turn off the heat and stir through the butter.

The next morning, the dough should be puffy. Flatten the cold block of butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Unpeel one sheet of paper, fold the butter back on itself into a block, cover againwith the paper and flatten once more. Repeat until the butter becomes pliable – roughly the same consistency as the dough.

Shape the butter into a 12cm square and the dough into a 18cm square. Lay the butter at a 45-degree angle on top of the dough (discard the paper) to make a diamond within the square, pull each corner of dough into the centre and join to seal in the butter. On a floured surface, roll out the dough-butter parcel from the middle into a rectangle. Bring the top, short end of the rectangle two-thirds of the way down the dough, then fold the lower short edge over it (as if you are folding a letter) to make another rectangle. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the rolling and folding process twice more – this will give you 27 layers of butter. If the dough is getting too warm or too stiff to roll during this process, cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes before trying again.

Heat the oven to 210C (200C fan)/410F/gas 6½. Roll the dough into a 30cm x 35cm rectangle. Spread over the apple puree, leaving clear 1.5cm at the edges. Scatter over the cherries and raisins, then roll up the dough along one of its long edges. Chop off the ends with a sharp knife, then slice into rounds roughly 2cm thick, and arrange on two large baking sheets, gently stretching them into circles. Put in a plastic bag and leave to rise for up to an hour. Just before you bake, brush the tops with a little beaten egg, then bake for 10 minutes.