Cinnamon, apple and custard Danish
The pastry for these indulgent pastries is quite tricky to make, but you won't be disappointed with the result.
For this recipe you will need a microwave and a freestanding mixer with a dough hook.
For the crème pâtissière
- 200ml/7fl oz full-fat milk
- 50ml/2fl oz single cream
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 50g/1¾oz golden caster sugar
- 2 medium free-range egg yolks
- 20g/¾oz cornflour
For the apple filling
- 1 orange, juice and zest
- 100g/3½oz sultanas
- 3 red apples, cored, quartered and cut into paper-thin slices
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 4 tbsp soft light brown sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp vanilla paste
- knob unsalted butter
For the pastry
- 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 10g/¼ oz fast-action yeast
- 10g/¼oz salt
- 80g/2¾oz caster sugar
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- 125ml/4fl oz full-fat milk, heated until tepid
- 250g/9oz unsalted butter, chilled
- olive oil, for greasing
For the glaze
For the crème pâtissière, in a large heavy-based saucepan combine the milk, cream and vanilla. Bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, add the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour to a large bowl and beat until smooth. As soon as the milk mixture comes to the boil, remove it from the heat and pour about a quarter over the egg mixture. Whisk until combined, then pour it into the pan and whisk continuously over a low heat until smooth and thick. Pass through a sieve into a clean bowl. Cover the surface of the custard with cling film to prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool then place in fridge.
For the apple filling, mix the orange juice and zest with the sultanas and set aside to soak.
In a large bowl combine the apple slices with lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and butter. Cover and cook in the microwave on medium power for about 4 minutes, or until the apples have softened but still hold their shape. Set aside to cool. Roll up the sliced apples so they resemble roses and secure with a cocktail stick. Set aside in the fridge.
To make the pastry, set up a freestanding mixer with a dough hook attachment. Add the flour, then put the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt and sugar on the opposite side.
In a jug, mix the eggs, milk and 4 tablespoons water. Pour into the flour mixture and mix on a low speed for 2 minutes (you may need to push to dough down the hook occasionally). Increase the speed to medium and mix for a further 6 minutes.
Transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover either with a clean tea towel or oiled cling film. Leave to prove for an hour or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, place the block of butter between two sheets of baking paper and bash with a rolling pin to flatten the butter into a rectangle about 1cm/½in thick. Store in the fridge until needed.
Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Flatten it and roll it out to a rectangle about 40x15cm/16x6in and about 1cm/½in thick. Arrange the dough with one of the short edges nearest to you. Lay the butter in the middle of the dough, fold the dough up and down over the butter in the middle to make a neat rectangle. Pinch the edges to seal the butter in the dough. Place in a plastic food bag and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface with one of the short edges nearest you. Roll out the dough into a 40x15cm/16x6in rectangle and fold into equal thirds like folding a letter for a business envelope. Place in a plastic bag in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Repeat the rolling and folding as before, then return to the freezer for another 10 minutes. Repeat the rolling and folding one final time, then chill the dough for 30 minutes in a plastic bag in the fridge.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 5mm/¼in thick rectangle, 30x40cm/12x16in. Using a sharp knife, cut into twelve 10cm/4in squares.
To shape the pastries, fold each corner in a bit towards the middle and push down firmly (you should now have a hexagon shape). Transfer to a baking tray (you will need 2-3 baking trays). Cover the trays with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to rest at cool room temperature for 30–60 minutes until risen slightly.
Preheat the oven to 210C/190C Fan/Gas 6½.
On each pastry square spread some of the cooled crème pâtissière and then place an apple ‘rose’ in the centre and press it down to keep it in place.
For the glaze, put all the ingredients, except the mint, in a small saucepan and gently warm until runny. Brush the pastries with the glaze then sprinkle over the soaked sultanas.
Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Place on cooling racks. When completely cool, place two mint leaves either side of the apple roses to resemble leaves.