Danish pastries dough

Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

Ingredients for the Dough
30g fresh yeast or 1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 c milk
1/3 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs, chilled and beaten
3 1/4 c flour
1 tsp salt

Ingredients for the Butter Block
240g cold unsalted butter
1/4 c flour

Combine yeast and milk in a bowl, along with sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and mix well. Add eggs.
Place the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
Pour the liquid in the middle of the well.
With a knife, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle, slowly working towards the edges.
When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes (You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky).
Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Butter Block
Rub butter into flour with your fingers till fine and crumbly (can use a food processor.)
Set aside at room temperature.

After the dough has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and 25mm thick (The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour).
Spread the butter evenly over the centre and right thirds of the dough.
Fold the left edge of the dough to the right, covering half of the butter.
Fold the right third of the rectangle over the centre third (The first turn has now been completed).
Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally.
Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface (The open ends should be to your right and left).
Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, 25mm thick rectangle.
Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the centre third and the right third over the centre third (No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough). (The second turn has now been completed).
Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns.
Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight.

Your dough is now ready to be used.

To make danish pastries
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 5mm thick and cut into 8 x 10cm squares. Lay your filling diagonally across, then fold opposite corners in overlapping in the center to join.
Cover with cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
Brush with beaten egg and bake 200C for 18-20 minutes until golden. Cool for 5-10 minutes, swirl some icing over each pastry and serve warm.

Danish fillings
For the vanilla custard creme patissere 1/2 recipe

Apple filling
6 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into pieces
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp unsalted butter

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl except the butter. Melt the butter in a pan until lightly golden, then add all the other ingredients. Cook for roughly 10-15 minutes until the apples start to caramelise. Cool completely before use. You can make the filling well in advance and stored in the fridge.

Can I freeze the dough?
You could make the Danish dough recipe up, then roll up between two sheets of baking paper (with the paper inside), into a sausage shape, wrap in cling film and foil and freeze for up to a month. Defrost fully before using.
If you’re cooking the finished Danish pastries from frozen, bake them for 5-10 minutes longer than the recipe until golden brown and cooked through.

Tricks to getting perfect Danishes every time
It is best to start the dough recipe the night before so the pastry is chilled and rested before assembling the pastries.
Roll the pastry in one direction, as this distributes the butter evenly, and helps to create the light, flaky layers.
Ensure the butter is softened at room temperature, so that it spreads evenly throughout the pastry. If the butter is too hard it will make the pastry streaky.
It is important to roll out the pastry to a long rectangle 4 times, to evenly spread out the butter and create lots of layers of light, flaky pastry – otherwise the pastry will be heavy and dense.