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Danish dreams

22 August 2018

Making rich, buttery Danish pastry dough takes time, but it’s worth the effort. The sharpness of the lemon filling in these Danish Dreams beautifully cuts through the richness.

Danish dreams pasty pinwheels
Danish dreams. Photography by Susanna Blåvarg.

Cooking time

20 minutes




For the pastries

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 80ml chilled water
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 225g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam, loosened with a splash of water and warmed
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted, mixed with 3–4 tsp lemon juice

For the lemon crème pâtissière

  • 125ml whole milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp lemon curd

You will need

  • 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper


Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the egg, water and milk. Mix on a slow speed until combined, then increase the speed and mix for 5 minutes to form a dough.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured worktop and shape into a disc. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour, then unwrap and roll it out into a 1cm-thick rectangle, measuring 45 x 20cm.

Flatten the butter into a 30 x 18cm rectangle, then lay it on the dough so it covers the bottom 2/3.

Fold down the dough to cover 1/3 of the butter. Cut off the exposed butter, without cutting into the dough. Place this butter on top of the folded dough and fold the bottom 1/2 of the dough up. Squeeze the dough edges to seal. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour to firm up.

Place the dough, short side facing you, on a lightly floured worktop. Roll into a 45 x 20cm rectangle. Fold 1/3 of the dough up and the top 1/3 down. Chill for 1 hour. Repeat twice more, chilling between folds. After the final fold, chill overnight.

Make the crème pâtissière. Heat the milk until it just boils. In a bowl, beat the yolks with the sugar, vanilla paste and cornflour, then pour in the hot milk, and whisk. Transfer to the milk pan and place over a low heat. Whisk until the mixture just begins to boil and thicken. Transfer to a bowl, fold in the lemon curd, then cover the surface with cling film.

Roll out the pastry to 7mm thick and cut it into 18 squares of 8cm. Make diagonal cuts 2.5cm from the corners of each square. Place the squares onto the baking sheets. Gather every second point of dough to the centre of each square, and press down to make a hollow. Cover the sheets loosely with cling film and leave to prove for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/ Gas 6. Put 1 teaspoon of lemon crème pât into the hollow of each pastry. Brush the dough with beaten egg, then bake for 15–20 minutes, until golden.

While still warm, brush the pastries with the warmed apricot jam. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Drizzle the cooled pastries with lemony icing sugar to finish.

The Great British Bake Off: Get Baking for Friends and Family is out now, published by Sphere price £20.00

Great British Bake Off: Baking for Friends and Family 

Visit our baking recipe section for more pastries, cakes, biscuits and more


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.