Christmas Danish pastries

Christmas Danish pastries

Scandinavian Christmas
Lars Ranek

Homemade Danish pastries – as the world knows – are to die for. I bake them for birthdays then, for Christmas, I make these, with spices and candied and dried fruit. I love them fresh from the oven, or toasted the next day and eaten with blue cheese.


Quantity Ingredient
50g fresh yeast
200ml whole lukewarm milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 more to brush
100g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
400g plain flour, sifted, plus more to dust
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
150g raisins
80g candied lemon zest
80g candied orange zest
300g cold salted butter, thinly sliced


  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk. Stir in the 2 eggs, the sugar and salt.
  2. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, spices and raisins, candied lemon and orange zest (or use 160g candied mixed peel, if that’s all you can find). Add the egg mixture, then stir until the dough comes together and leaves the edge of the bowl. Turn it on to a floured work surface and knead for five minutes, until shiny but not sticky. Return it to the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  3. Now roll out the dough into a 50cm square. Spread the slices of butter over the dough, about 10cm in from the edge, so that the square of dough has a smaller square of butter on top. Fold the edges of the dough over the butter so that they meet in the centre, making a smaller square parcel.
  4. Carefully roll the dough into a 40x60cm rectangle, making sure it doesn’t crack and that the butter stays inside the parcel.
  5. Next you want to fold the dough so that the butter becomes layered within it. Fold the bottom third of dough over the middle third, and fold the top third down over that, as if folding a letter. Roll out the dough again and fold into three in the same way. Repeat three times, resting the dough in the fridge between rolls.
  6. Finally, roll out the dough and cut out 20–24 squares. Take each one and press all the corners together. Place, corners down, on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Brush the pastries with a little beaten egg and bake them for 12–15 minutes, then leave to cool on a wire rack.
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