Custard Danish? Apricot Danish? Jam Danish? Pick your favourite or combine them all, this custard Danish pastry recipe can be made ahead of time for fresh buttery pastries for breakfast.

I make these with my easy Danish pastry dough but you could also use a good quality puff pastry. Try these Lemon Danish Pastry too.

A hand reaching in to pick up an apricot danish from a wooden board.

Why you’ll love this recipe

The classic custard Danish pastry, also known as Spandauer, are popular for good reason.

Imagine biting into buttery, flaky dough that’s crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Then the soft Danish pastry filling of custard and jam or apricots. Sweet but not too sweet and totally satisfying.

Don’t be intimidated by making your own Danish pastry too. You can make it ahead of time even to the point of having these fully assembled and ready to bake fresh in the morning.

The laminated dough?

You’ll start with a simplified version of Danish pastry dough. It’s a yeasted, laminated dough (laminated meaning layered with butter, essentially).

You can check out my recipe and, while there is a bit of resting time involved, there is very little hands on time. All up I can make these pastries, completely from scratch, in only 45 minutes active time. You’ll just need to plan ahead for resting time and you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients you’ll need

These simple custard Danish pastry need 9 ingredients (that’s including the already made dough).

Ingredients for custard danish pastry on a marble surface.
  • Dough: As mentioned above, this is an easy Danish dough. The method is simplified but the result is perfect. Buttery, layered, flaky pastry. Plan ahead to allow for resting but if you really don’t want to, you can use puff pastry.
  • Apricots / Jam: Do you like an apricot Danish or jam Danish? I love the jam version but the apricot version is very popular too. You could make a combination like I have here.
  • Milk: Part of the easy custard recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to make.
  • Sugar: Just a little as we want the custard to be sweet but not overpoweringly so.
  • Eggs: You’ll need two egg yolks only. One to go into the custard and one to brush the danishes with before baking.
  • Cornflour: This is used as a thickener for the custard.
  • Icing sugar: The icing drizzled over the top is a simple mix of icing sugar and water.

How to make custard danish

Make sure to plan ahead if you’re making the dough from scratch. The dough can be made and frozen until required – just thaw it in the fridge overnight.

A collage of 4 images showing how to make the custard.
  1. Make the custard: Heat milk sugar and vanilla (photo 1) in a small saucepan until steaming. In a bowl combine the egg yolk, milk and cornflour (photo 2). Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg mixture (photo 3) before returning it to the stove to get very thick (photo 4).
A collage of 6 images showing how to assemble custard danish.
  1. Roll out the dough: Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 30x40cm (roughly 12×16 inches) then trim off the edges with a sharp knife (photo 5). Cut the rectangle into 12 even squares (photo 6).
  2. Assemble the custard Danish: Fold each of the corners into the centre and press down to stick (photo 7). Let them rest for a little before making a dent in the centre (photo 8) that you’ll fill first with custard (photo 9) then with jam or apricot halves (photo 10). Bake.

They really are simple to assemble and this is one of the easiest Danish pastry shapes you can do.

A custard danish broken in half to show the layered centre.

Can I make them ahead

You can make these custard Danish pastry ahead of time. Prep and assemble them the day before you want to bake them and keep them covered in the fridge. When you want to bake them you can do so, straight from the fridge.

You can also freeze them and bake directly from frozen.

Pro tips and tricks

  • Plan ahead: If you’re making the dough, it’s easy but does need time to rest so start that at least 24 hours prior. You can see all my tips for getting this made ahead of time in my Danish pastry dough post.
  • Use a sharp knife: When trimming the edges and cutting the squares, make sure to use a very sharp knife. If your knife is blunt you may press all those layers together and it wont’ rise as nicely.

You could try these breakfast pastries with blueberries or cinnamon apple as well.

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A batch of fruit custard danish pastries on a sheet of baking paper.

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A batch of fruit custard danish pastries on a sheet of baking paper.

Custard Danish Pastry

5 from 2 votes
A well-known favourite, the custard Danish pastry, are buttery, flaky pastry circles filled with custard and jam or apricots. Known traditionally as Spandauer, these are easier than you think and are a very popular breakfast pastry.

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Danish Pastry
  • ¾ cup whole milk (180ml)
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar (notes 1)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch) (notes 1)
  • 1 egg yolk from a large egg
  • Jam of choice or 12 apricot halves
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with a dash of water
  • 1 cup icing sugar (130g / 4.6oz)

Instructions
 

FOR THE CUSTARD DANISH RECIPE

  • Pour ½ cup of milk into a heavy based saucepan, and add sugar and vanilla, then heat on low-medium heat until steaming, stirring regularly to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup milk, egg yolk and cornflour until smooth and fully combined.
  • While whisking, very slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture in a slow but steady stream. Don’t pour it too quickly or the heat will scramble the eggs.
  • Once everything is combined, return the mix to the saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring with a whisk constantly, until it gets very thick and no longer settles into itself when you move it around. This will happen quite quickly after about 5 minutes so it’s important to keep gently whisking increasing intensity as it gets very thick. You will end up with lumpy custard if you don’t.
  • Swap to a silicone spatula and pass the custard through a strainer into a clean bowl, then press plastic wrap to the surface and allow to cool to room temperature
  • Preheat the oven to 200C / 395F / 180C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to just over 30x40cm (about 12×16 inches). Trim the edges from the rolled dough, then cut into 12 even squares about 10cm / 4in square each.
  • Place the squares of dough onto the baking trays (6 on each), then fold each of the corners into the centre of each square. Press down lightly with your palm. Let them rest for 10-15 minutes
  • Use a spoon or similar to press a dent into the centre of each danish, then brush all over with the egg wash.
  • Add 2-3 teaspoons of custard to dent in each pastry. Top each with 1-2 teaspoons of jam or an apricot half.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden, turning the trays after 10 minutes.

TO MAKE THE ICING

  • Mix together the icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Add more water if you need to thin it or more icing sugar to thicken it. When it’s a consistency you like, drizzle it over the warm pastries.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons).
  2. All ovens vary, check for doneness 2-3 minutes before the recipe suggests.
 
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