Pistachio and lemon danish pastries recipe

  • Serves 16 (makes 16)
  • 1 hr to prepare and 20 mins to cook, plus chilling
  • 413 calories / serving
  • Freezable
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Impress your family and friends with these stunning pistachio and lemon Danish pastries. A fresh take on the traditional Danish pastry, this recipe has a flaky enriched dough filled with lemon-scented, green-hued pistachios. With a sticky apricot glaze and drizzle of lemon icing, they make the perfect weekend brunch or could be baked ahead for a grab-and-go breakfast in the week.

  1. Cut the butter into 8 even sticks. Put 4 on a piece of nonstick baking paper, top with another piece of paper, and use a rolling pin to pat out and roll the butter into a 20cm x 17cm rectangle. Repeat with the remaining butter. Chill the rectangles in the fridge.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flours, yeast, caster sugar and salt. Add the vanilla paste, milk, eggs and 80ml lukewarm water and knead gently until the dough comes together to form an even texture.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20cm x 54cm rectangle. Put a butter rectangle in the centre. Fold over 1 side, put the second butter rectangle on top, then fold over the other side. Wrap and chill for 30 mins.
  4. Roll out the dough to a 20cm x 54cm rectangle. From a short side fold over the left hand third, then the right hand third, to make a neat 20cm x 18cm block. Wrap and chill for another 30 mins. Repeat this rolling, folding and chilling step twice more.
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix the pistachios with half the lemon zest and a pinch of salt. When ready to finish the pastries, preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.
  6. Roll out the pastry to a 50cm x 20cm block. Cut in half. Cover 1 half with clingfilm and set aside. Roll out the other half to 20cm x 40cm. With the pastry horizontal, cover the right-hand half with half of the pistachio filling, up to the edges. Fold over the left half to make a square. Roll out again to 20cm x 40cm. Repeat with the remaining pastry.
  7. Line a baking sheet with nonstick baking paper. Cut each pastry rectangle into eight 40cm-long pieces. Twist each piece until the filling is enclosed, then put one end on the baking sheet (this will become the middle) and curl it around into a figure of 8 shape, tucking the ends under the crossover piece. The pastries can be refrigerated at this stage for up to 12 hrs. Bake for 20 mins. Transfer to a rack to cool.
  8. While the pastries are baking, make the glaze. Heat the apricot jam in a pan until simmering, then strain into a bowl. Brush over the pastries while still warm.
  9. To make the icing, mix together the lemon juice and icing sugar, then drizzle over the cooled pastries. Top with the remaining lemon zest and 2 tbsp chopped pistachios.

Freezing and defrosting guidelines

Unbaked dough can be frozen. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 2 weeks.  Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature before baking and decorating as above. Always defrost and heat thoroughly before eating.

Filling twists

Plum and almond Simmer 200g stoned and chopped plums with 50g caster sugar. Add 1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water, and bring to a simmer. Stir in 60g natural marzipan, until melted. Fill the pastry with the mixture as in step 6.

Cardamom and vanilla Beat 2 egg whites until softly stiff, then fold in 60g icing sugar, add 2 tsp vanilla bean paste and 1 tsp ground cardamom seeds. Fill the pastry with the mixture as in step 6.

See more Baking recipes

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  • Ingredients

  • 400g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 600g strong white bread flour
  • 100g '00' grade pasta flour
  • 1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 60g pistachios, finely chopped, plus 2 tbsp to decorate
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • For the glaze (optional)

  • 125g apricot jam
  • For the icing (optional)

  • 40ml lemon juice
  • 80g royal icing sugar
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  • Energy 1724kj 413kcal 21%
  • Fat 24.7g 35%
  • Saturates 13.1g 66%
  • Sugars 6.8g 8%
  • Salt 0.2g 4%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 42.2g Protein 7.6g Fibre 2g

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