These lemon Danish pastry are going to become a favourite sweet breakfast or brunch treat. Use my Danish dough recipe or simplify them using puff pastry and I promise, they won’t last long.

These simple pastries are topped with my homemade lemon curd and I encourage you to try it yourself. It’s quick to make, absolutely delicious and gets rave reviews.

Close up of lemon pastries on a sheet of baking paper.

Why you’ll love these lemon danish

  • Just 3 ingredients – using prepared dough or ready-made puff pastry.
  • So easy to make – even if you’re making the dough from scratch, it’s all simple steps.
  • Gorgeous texture – crispy outside, soft inside and a gooey middle.
  • Sweet and zingy lemon curd – and it takes 10 minutes to make from scratch.
  • Can be made ahead of time – and even frozen!

A bit like mini lemon tarts, these lemon pastry have all buttery and lemony flavour but are even easier to make. Other fruit curds will work too like this blood orange curd or this lime curd. The tangy flavour of the curd with the buttery pastry is wonderful and these little delights disappear quickly.

Ingredients you’ll need

You’ll need 3 ingredients. If you’re making the dough from scratch, it can be prepped well ahead of time and even frozen.

Ingredients for lemon pastry on a marble worktop.
  • Pastry Dough: For these lemon pastries, I use my homemade Danish pastry. It’s very simple but does need to be prepped ahead so keep that in mind. If you don’t feel like making it, you can use ready-made puff pastry. The main difference will be in the inside texture. Puff pastry will get more crispy throughout while Danish dough will be crisp on the outside and soft and lovely inside.
  • Egg: The egg is used just to brush over the pastry so you get a lovely shiny golden result after baking.
  • Lemon Curd: I make my own and I promise it takes just minutes to make and will be far better than any store-bought curd but, again, if you want to simplify these as much as possible, use a store-bought curd instead. See my variations below for different flavours too.

That’s all you need for these delectable lemon Danish pastries. If you like, you can dust the top with a little icing / powdered sugar or even make a simple glaze like I did for my custard Danish but they really don’t need it.

Making Danish lemon pastry at home

See my tips in the next section if you want to make these completely from scratch. This recipe gives you the process once you have the basics ready to go.

A collage of 4 images showing how to assemble the lemon pastries.
  1. The dough: Roll out the dough (photo 1) then cut circles using cookie cutters (photo 2).
  2. Let them rest: Let the pastries rest on a baking tray for ½ an hour or so.
  3. Fill the pastries: Make a dent in the centre with your fingers (photo 3) then fill with lemon curd (photo 4). Brush with egg than bake to golden perfection.  

Tips to make them completely from scratch

I promise, making everything from scratch makes all the difference. The Danish pastry is buttery and light but so indulgent and the lemon curd will be the best you’ve ever tried.

It may seem a little intimidating or time consuming but I promise it’s not. There is very little actual effort involved but planning ahead is crucial and will make the process simple and smooth.

  • Danish pastry dough: This dough is incredibly easy to make. There is only about ½ an hour of hands on time, however, it does need resting time so plan to start it at least the morning prior to when you want to serve the lemon pastry. Make it in the morning, fold and roll it in the afternoon, then it will be ready to roll out and fill the next day. It can also be frozen ahead of time, then thawed in the fridge the day before.
  • Lemon curd: This literally takes 10-15 minutes from start to finish and can be made days ahead of time.
  • The assembled lemon pastries: Make these fresh on the morning or, if you want to do nothing but bake them on the morning, you can assemble them the day before or even well ahead and freeze them.
A stack of lemon curd pastries showing the layers on the sides.

Flavour variations

You could easily substitute the lemon curd on these gorgeous pastries for others as well. Fruit curds are extremely easy to make and, lucky for you, I have loads of flavours on this site. Try one of these;

If you feel like jam, try my custard Danish recipe instead. While you could use just jam in the centre, they do go really lovely with a custard filling.

Just imagine the aroma filling your home as these buttery mini lemon tart style danishes bake in the oven. Rich and indulgent and perfect for sharing with a cuppa.

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13 lemon danish pastries on a sheet of baking paper.

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13 lemon danish pastries on a sheet of baking paper.

Lemon Danish Pastry

5 from 1 vote
Light-as-air, Danish pastry topped with homemade lemon curd, this lemon pastry recipe is also a crowd pleasing brunch time or afternoon treat. Using my Danish dough recipe or good quality puff pastry as the base, they’re crisp, chewy and sweet all at once.

Ingredients

Instructions
 

  • 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). Use a 7.5cm (3 inch) round cookie cutter to cut out as many circles of dough as you can. You can gently re-roll the leftover dough to make more.
  • Place the circles of dough onto the baking trays (6-8 on each), then let them rest for about 30 minutes
  • Use your fingers to make a dent in the centre of each circle, then brush all over with the egg wash.
  • Add about 1 tablespoon of lemon curd to the dent in each pastry.
  • Bake for about 18 minutes or until golden, turning the trays after 10 minutes.
  • Dust with icing sugar if desired or drizzle over a simple icing.

Notes

  1. These pastries can be assembled the day before baking – store in the fridge in a single layer, covered in plastic wrap.
  2. These pastries can be assembled and frozen for 2-3 months. They can be baked from frozen.
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