Advice for homemade lemon danish

I confess that I’ve never even had a danish in my life. My uncle recently said that lemon danish is his absolute favorite. I don’t know if it is widely available around here or not but he asked me to have a go at it. I told him that I would and hoped that Bravetart would have a recipe. Nope. I don’t think any of the books I have include a recipe for danish. (perhaps How to Bake Anything)

An extensive Google search has come up with recipes that involve puff pastry or laminated dough. Is it worth it to do the laminated dough? I’m willing to attempt it if the effort is worth it. I’m not back to work until September 1. =)

I’ve seen enough recipes for homemade lemon curd that I figure I should be able to do that without too much of an issue. I’d appreciate any pointers you all might have though.

Thank you! I’d really like to make something delicious that my uncle will love.

Definitely do the laminated dough… it’s butter sandwiched layers makes for a superior pastry.


Stella mostly does American classics and simpler modern desserts, so she doesn’t really dabble in viennoiserie and lots of other classic pastries. For that that you want bread-baking books which typically cover laminated dough, and baking books that focus on classical French, Scandinavian, and Hungarian baked goods. It’s a requisite part of any culinary school baking curriculum, so books from CIA and other culinary institutes and instructors are good. Lots of Japanese and Korean sources are also great since they produce excellent western style pastries.

Given what you usually bake (lots of classic American desserts and particularly cakes), I don’t know if making laminated dough will be worth it for you. Not to dissuade you, just wondering because I don’t know if you work with yeast at all or generally have interest in this very classic sort of baking. For a lot of people it’s extremely tedious to do. I personally enjoy making laminated dough a lot, but I generally refuse to do croissants because of how much time and effort it takes to make ones that I think are up to snuff.
You’ll want to have very cool conditions in your kitchen and ample room to roll out dough.

I suggest trying out Beatrice Ojakangas’ quick Danish pastry. It’s an excellent dough that is still yeast-raised unlike puff pastry.

There is video of her making this dough with Julia Child.

Another easy method is Dan Lepard’s, who has my favorite rough puff recipes and is generally excellent when it comes to anything involving yeast:

Oh and Serious Eats actually has a really great tutorial and they also use a quick method:

But even just puff pastry makes pretty tasty Danish in a pinch.

For the classic Danish pastry you can watch the process here:


Thank you so much! I’m willing to put in the time and effort to try to do laminated dough. I appreciate all of those resources.


You’re welcome and I hope you enjoy the process!
To be clear, these are all laminated doughs in the sense that they involve folds to create layers. It’s just that the “real” danish pastry recipes here are the last two I linked, where you take a block of butter and encase it in dough. The rest, including the one @ScottinPollock linked, are all quick versions akin to rough puff. You’re doing folds, but the process is much easier than the classic method because you’re cutting the butter directly into the flour.
I would recommend trying those out as they produce an excellent result that isn’t much different from the classic method, much the same way that rough puff gives you an amazingly flaky, light pastry that is just as good as real puff pastry in most applications.


I think I attempted laminated dough for Cook’s Illustrated pan pizza many years ago but I don’t remember that turned out. I’ll try the quick version first and see how that works. Honestly I’m sure my uncle would be happy with me making him lemon danish just with puff pastry but I am always an overachiever.

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I always ask myself … if I’m blindfolded for a taste test, would I be able to tell the difference.

How many hours would even rough puff take?

If you buy good quality frozen, like Dufour, would that be almost the same? (I have several of TJ brand in my freezer but it’s only available November/December.)

Sometimes I use Ina’s recipe to make ricotta … so worth the time. Also, for sublime lasagna Bolognese (Marcella Hazan’s recipe) I’ll make the fresh pasta.

Danish dough is the same as croissant dough except it’s sweeter and richer in egg. Puff pastry has no yeast and is meant to be crisper compared to croissant dough, so the actual dough is leaner, whereas croissants typically contain milk and you want a more tender end result. Puff pastry is typically 1:1 butter to flour, while croissants are around 2:1 flour to butter. Puff pastry gets more folds and relies on the steam between all those layers vs yeast for rise. Obviously fermentation gives croissants a different flavor than puff, but in my experience most people can’t really tell the difference between laminated doughs.

As for rough puff vs puff pastry, The only time I make actual puff pastry is for something like millefeuille where there is a noticeable difference in layers vs rough puff. But rough puff is what I make for basically anything else that requires puff pastry.

Rough puff takes a couple of hours to make. You still have to let the dough rest in between folds just as with puff pastry.

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Ina’s recipe is amazing but so expensive. It makes my favorite ricotta (Biazzo) look downright cheap!

Have you made Ina’s recipe? It’s turned out right every time I’ve made it.

The only store bought one I like around here is Calabro, expensive. A friend likes WF 365; I tried it, not impressed.

(I really love WF 365 microwave popcorn, doesn’t stink up the place.)

I’ve made Ina’s recipe a couple of times. It is outstanding but I remember comparing the price of ingredients to a container at the store and thinking it was nuts. I am planning to make it in the coming weeks. I was reminded of it after Deb Perelman posted her recipe for homemade ricotta with grilled vegetables and bread. First I need to make the bread.

Smitten Kitchen recipe uses lemon juice and a lot of people have trouble with it. Ina’s uses white wine vinegar.

For dairy I use Clover here in California. I love Trader Joe but don’t like their dairy. Don’t like Producers at Costco.

Thanks for mentioning the white wine vinegar. I didn’t remember that. I thought it was just white vinegar. I don’t think I have any white wine vinegar left.

My favorite way to make ricotta though not traditional is to use rennet. It comes out with a perfectly sweet flavor and the texture is super creamy and tender.
Between vinegar and lemon juice I prefer vinegar because it is less noticeable. I don’t like lemony ricotta unless it’s to be used in something that’s going to include lemon.

I think it’s white wine vinegar but it’d probably work ok with just white vinegar.

I don’t know about their conventional milk, but in the Bay Area, Trader Joe’s organic milk is Clover. Their organic butter here is Redwood Hill Farm, another Sonoma County dairy.

You can use the plant codes to find out who makes store-brand dairy at Where Is My Milk From.

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In India, Citric Acid Powder (Sour Salt) is used.
It is much more predictable than Lemon Juice and has none of the Flavor of Vinegar or Lemon.
I have used it to make Paneer, Ricotta and Fromage Blanc to good success.



Ina’s ingredients:

4 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 Tablespoons good white wine vinegar