Make Traditional Puff Pastry at Home - Easy Recipe for Puff Pastry Dough

  • 01 of 10

    Why Make Danish Pastry at Home? - Recipe for Easy Puff Pastry

    Puff Pastry Cherry Turnovers
    Puff Pastry Cherry Turnovers. J.McGavin

    For me, there are many reasons to learn how to make puff pastry at home. First, I do not have a bakery near me that makes it. Second, my homemade goodies have fewer ingredients than store-bought and third, they cost less to make (not counting my time). The ingredients for about 12 Danish cost under $3.00 and the oven cost about 40 cents. Bakery Danish are more than $2.00 a piece, making it well worth my while to make these for my next party.

    Still, I would not have dreamed of making puff pastry...MORE until I found out about an easy way to do it. I remember my sister as a kid, trying to make sticky buns with scratch puff pastry. The folding and rolling ended in a hard pastry with little lift. I thought that without equipment like a sheeter (double rollers for flattening dough) I had no chance.

    Then I saw this great blog post about it: Wild Yeast - Fresh Fruit Danish. I was skeptical, but it did come with pictures, so I thought I should try it. I also found a Julia Child video where she makes the exact same thing with a Scandinavian cookbook author, Beatrice Ojakangas.

    I finally had a chance to put it together and I like the results. It was neither as easy or as hard as I thought and if I practice a few times, it will become second nature to me. Anyone can make this recipe successfully by following a few simple tips.

    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Assemble Ingredients and Make the Dough for Flaky Puff Pastry

    Make crumbs for easy puff pastry by cutting the butter into the flour.
    Cut the Butter into the Flour for Easy Danish Puff Pastry. J.McGavin

    The dough for these Danish needs to rest for 6 hours or overnight, before you begin to work it. You will also want to prepare your desired filling before hand, for best results.

    Possible Danish Fillings

    Ingredients for Puff Pastry

    • 1/4 c. warm water (105*F. to 115*F.)
    • 2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) active dry yeast
    • 1/4 c. sugar
    • 1/2 c. room temperature milk
    • 1 large, room temperature egg
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 2 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (King Arthur)
    • 2 sticks...MORE (8 oz.) cold, unsalted butter

    Instructions for Dough

    Dissolve yeast in warm water and a pinch of sugar.

    In another bowl, cut butter into flour until pea sized butter lumps remain (see picture).

    In a third bowl, mix the rest of the sugar with the milk, egg and salt. Add in the foaming yeast and water mixture and stir until combined.

    Pour liquids into flour and stir until just combined and flour is wet. Lumps of butter should remain.

    Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 8 hours to overnight. I refrigerated for 6 hours and the pastry came out fine, so there is some leeway with this rule, but make sure the dough is very cold.

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Pat the Dough into a Square to Make Easy Danish Puff Pastry

    Making Traditional European Puff Pastry at Home - Pat the Dough into a Square
    Making Traditional European Puff Pastry at Home - Pat the Dough into a Square. J.McGavin

    After a six or more hour refrigeration, turn the dough out onto a medium floured work surface and pat into a square. Dust the top with flour and roll to a 16 by 16 inch square, dusting as you go. You will probably have to dust a little underneath the dough too, so it remains loose.

    The colder your kitchen is, the better, but I made this on a day where the temperature was in the 70s, so a wide range of temperatures is possible. You want the butter to stay hard, not smear and not incorporate with...MORE the flour too much.

    As this dough is cold, you will need considerable force to roll it to 16 inches. It can be a little work out.

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    Fold the Dough like a Letter for Easy Danish Puff Pastry

    The first two folds look just like folding a letter in thirds when you make easy Danish Puff Pastry
    Folding the Dough to Make Easy Danish Puff Pastry. J.McGavin

    Here is where this pastry dough starts to look like traditional puff pastry, the folds.

    Fold the dough in thirds, like a letter. I used a spatula for any dough sticking to the table.

    Turn the dough ninety degrees, so that the folds are horizontal. Roll the dough out to a square again (that means you are rolling mostly in one dimension, since the width is already 12 to 16 inches).

    Fold the dough into thirds again (from left side and right side), just like a letter. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at...MORE least 30 minutes.

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  • 05 of 10

    The Second and Third Folds for Easy Danish Puff Pastry

    A view of the folded dough package for easy Danish puff pastry.
    Making the Second and Third Folds for Easy Danish Puff Pastry. J.McGavin

    After the dough is thoroughly chilled, roll the dough out again into a 16 inch square. I did not achieve 16 inches, more like 13 to 14 inches.

    Fold again in thirds, roll out and fold and refrigerate (four rounds of folding so far). Refrigerate.

    I actually did another two folds after the second refrigeration even though the original instructions did not call for it (A total of 6 rounds). This was because the flecks of butter were still visible. I put it in the freezer for 20 minutes and then rolled...MORE out in the next step.

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  • 06 of 10

    Roll out the Dough a Final Time for Easy Danish Puff Pastry

    This picture illustrates how thin the dough should be rolled for thi easy Danish puff pastry recipe.
    Easy Danish Puff Pastry Dough Rolled Out for Final Shaping. J.McGavin

    Roll out the chilled dough to a 20 by 20 inch square. This takes a bit of time and effort because the dough is cold and stiff. Keep at it, it will be about 1/8 of an inch thick when you are done (less than 5 mm).

    Turn the dough if you need to, keeping it square. Flour the work surface as needed, but incorporate as little flour as possible.

    Cut the dough with a knife or bench knife into five inch squares. If you have any trimmings, keep them and bake them to use as tasters (everyone wants to taste...MORE straight out of the oven).

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  • 07 of 10

    Brush the Pastry with Beaten Egg White before Baking

    Brush beaten egg white on the pastry and sprinkle with sugar before baking.
    Brush Egg White on Before Baking Easy Danish Puff Pastry. J.McGavin

    The last step before baking these easy, puff pastry turnovers is to brush with an egg white which has been whisked with a tablespoon of water.

    If you like, sprinkle coarse sugar, Hagelzucker or Perlzuker (shown here) over the pastry for decoration.

    You can also wait until the Danish are out of the oven and drizzle them with a simple icing.

    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    You Can Make Several Different Kinds of Filled and Unfilled Danish

    Using cherry pie filling to make cherry turnovers with easy Danish puff pastry
    How to Make a Filled Cherry Turnover using Easy Danish Puff Pastry. J.McGavin

    You need not be limited to one shape for your easy Danish puff pastry. Here is a picture of a filled turnover, but you can make crescent shapes, pinwheels, two corner folds and others. (Here is a beautiful croissant-like picture and here are pinwheels, four corner folds and two corner folds)

    To make turnovers place two to three tablespoons of cherry pie filling in the middle of the square and seal the edges with water and finger pressure.

    Place finished turnovers on parchment paper and let rise...MORE about 30 minutes.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Baked Pastry - Danish Pastries at Home

    Making Traditional European Puff Pastry at Home - Finished Pastries
    Making Traditional European Puff Pastry at Home - Finished Pastries. J.McGavin

    Bake at 450°F (preheat, please) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. They will be soft at first and become harder around the edges as they cool.

    Here are some Danish pastries (cherry turnovers, really) fresh from the oven.

    They taste best if you let them cool to lukewarm or at room temperature.

    If you make them the night before, cover them with a clean towel and they should be fine in the morning. If you like you can reheat for a few minutes in the oven or a few seconds in the microwave.

    Free...MOREze them and serve them later, too. This is a great idea for a small household (save for Sunday treats) or for a complex party. They would make great bake sale items, too.

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Eat and Enjoy - Homemade Danish Pastries

    Making Traditional European Puff Pastry at Home - Finished Cherry Turnover
    Making Traditional European Puff Pastry at Home - Finished Cherry Turnover. J.McGavin

    This Cherry Turnover looks like I bought it at a bakery and tastes like it, too! Do not be afraid, you can master these lovely Danish.