These are very simple and utterly delicious Danish pastries, made using a short-cut croissant dough, a dough that takes just 20-30 minutes to make, plus time for the made-up dough to chill before using. Seriously, this particular croissant dough is quite fool-proof.
And for even more speed, rather than make a custard to fill the pastries, I used a mixture of lemon curd and peach conserve, with fresh peaches lying on top.
I sometimes add some flaked almonds or pistachios on top which add a great flavour and additional crunch. A little almond paste on the pastries before adding the filling works brilliantly, too.
Short-cut croissant dough:
I have been making this very quick croissant dough since I was a boy, when making “real” croissants the traditional way proved too much of a challenge for me at that time – although making a full-on croissant dough is one of my top baking pleasures. This easy method was inspired primarily by my gran in the 70s, with just a few fold & turns thrown in to help get some layers.
This short-cut croissant dough does not give the same level of flakiness you get from a traditional croissant dough, but you certainly get light, airy and crisp pastries with that wonderfully rich, buttery flavour. You can see some of the flaky layers in the picture below.
You can make an even quicker version using all-butter puff pastry, but the croissant dough gives a little more substance, making them a touch more indulgent.
You can shape these pastries any way you want, and I have given details below the recipe for getting a standard pinwheel shape, but to be honest, keeping them simple is no bad thing.
For total ease, though, just cut a border all around the edge, about 1cm or so from the edge, so that as the pastries bake, the outer border rises slightly more than the centre, forming what is essentially a shallow tart.
You can freeze the dough either once cut into squares or once filled and shaped (but before letting them rise): just remove what you want from the freezer the night before, ready to bake first thing in the morning. I tend to freeze them pn the baking trays initially and once solid stack them between squares of greaseproof: easier to remove that way!
Because the peaches are a soft fruit, and do not hold their shape well with freezing, you can pop a couple of fresh peach slices on top of the defrosted pastries just before baking. But whether or not you do, the pastries will taste excellent.
Recipe: quick and very easy peach Danish pastries: makes 10
- 1 quantity of short-cut croissant dough
- about 3 tablespoons best quality lemon curd
- about 3 tablespoons best quality peach preserve or apricot jam
- 3 just-ripe peaches, sliced
- 4 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur or liqueur of choice
- beaten egg
- 1 tablespoon peach preserve
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
(1) Soak the peach slices in the Amaretto: ideally do this the day before so the peaches take on the flavour.
(2) Roll out the dough to a rectangle to just over 50cm by 20cm and trim the edges. Cut into 10cm by 10cm squares and place these squares on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Chill until needed.
(3) Mix the peach preserve and the lemon curd together and place a teaspoon or so on the centre of the dough.
(4) Place the peach slices on top of the preserve and curd mixture, slightly overlapping. Brush a little egg over the exposed part of the pastry. With a sharp knife, make a cut about 1cm from each edge, going only about half-way through the pastry all around, creating a border.
NB: you can leave the pastries very simple like this or shape them. I have given guidelines for making pinwheels below.
(5) Pop the pastries in a large bag or bin liner and leave to rise for an hour or so, until puffy: you will be able to smell the yeast. Alternatively, freeze them on the baking tray before they have risen, stacking them once frozen.
(6) Towards the end of the rise, pre-heat the oven to 190C(fan). Brush the pastries with more egg and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a rack to glaze.
(7) Heat the peach conserve with the Amaretto to give a fairly thin glaze, stirring while it heats. Brush generously over the hot pastries and leave them to cool.
Alternative shaping – pinwheels
Cut about 2 centimetres from each corner diagonally, stopping just before you reach the filling, to give 4 “sails”.
Take the left corner of the top sail and bring it over to the next sail, pressing it gently in place at about “3 o’clock”, give or take!!.
Repeat all the way round – it might be easier to rotate each time so the next sail is upwards as in the first case.
You can then cover the centre with a piece of peach or else leave it exposed. Now just leave to rise and bake as above.
If you want to make these with a traditional croissant dough, my full guidelines and tips/troubleshooting are on my post here.