Flaky Buttery Prune Danishes

This is THE BEST spiced prune danish recipe! The dough is surprisingly easy to make (and make-ahead) and the spiced prune jam comes together in minutes. Lots of tips to get warm, flaky danishes on your breakfast table asap! The instructions are a little longer than usually so I can walk you every step of the way. Have fun! xo
A close up of a flaky buttery danish

This is THE BEST spiced prune danish recipe! The dough is surprisingly easy to make (and make-ahead) and the spiced prune jam comes together in minutes. Lots of tips to get warm, flaky, buttery danishes on your breakfast table asap!

If you haven’t had prune danishes before you might breeze past this recipe…but let me tell you, homemade danishes are EVERYTHING. Quick spiced prune jam paired with warm, buttery, flaky danish dough. Forget about it.

The spiced prune jam comes together with fresh orange juice + zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and a quick blitz in your high-speed blender or food processor (I’ll give tips below if you have neither!). 

The pastry dough can either be made the same day when you’re lounging around the house. However, it’s best when it’s made in small increments over several days (I give you a sample schedule below!). 

Before you get started, check out my Baker’s Schedule below! It will help you plan out how to effortlessly make these buttery danishes.

A bunch of flaky danishes

The danish dough is basically a simple yeasted dough (it’s a riff on the same dough I use for the Apple Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread and my Easy Cheesy Dinner Rolls), but instead of adding the butter at the beginning, we add butter shreds to the chilled yeasted dough so we get buttery, flaky layers in there. I have lots of shortcuts to make this super simple!!

This is the first of two recipes I have with California Prunes. The core of this recipe is this awesome spiced prune jam recipe: lots of warm, holiday flavors such as cinnamon, orange and almond extract. My next recipe will be Spiced Prune Streusel Bars which will use the same spiced jam base—click here to sign up for my newsletter so you’ll get the recipe first!

As I was testing these recipes I was BLOWN AWAY with how good this jam is with cheese (think like fig jam (but maybe better, in my opinion!)…file this away for your next charcuterie and cheese board situation.

Let’s make some delicious Spiced Prune Danishes, shall we?

Flaky buttery danish party

WHY YOU SOULD DROP EVERYTHING AND MAKE THESE DANISHES

  1. MAKE AHEAD. These are 100% make ahead. As in you can make the dough and the spice prune jam several days ahead of time and keep both stashed in the fridge until you’re ready to use. You can even freeze both, let defrost in the fridge overnight and then they’re ready to use. Both may need some time on the counter before using.
  • EASY. I know. I said it. But have you made yeasted doughs before? Yes? Then you can do it! Have you made pie before? Yes?!? Then you can do it. AND if you’ve prepared neither I can still walk you through because this dough is a) VERY forgiving (we love that) and b) EASY. I reference both yeasted dough and pie dough because I think of danish dough as a hybrid of the two.
  • DELICIOUS. How was this third on my list?! The combination of warm, spiced jam with the flaky, crispy, buttery AND soft (how does it do it all?!) danish is BEYOND. You haven’t lived a full life until you’ve eaten your own danishes fresh from the oven!
Super simple spiced prune jam

SPICED PRUNE JAM

Spiced prune jam is surprisingly similar to fig jam. I use it in this recipe as well as an upcoming recipe (cookie bars). It requires zero cook time and is as simple as combining all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender or a food processor. 

This jam requires more liquid than most jams as the plum prunes are a dense fruit. Because they are so naturally sweet (with zero sugar added), we use less sugar than we typically would in a jam. 

Did you know prunes are considered a superfood because they are LOADED with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants? You can read more about prunes at the California Prunes website by clicking here. But also, how did our danishes get so healthy? ;)

TIP
If you don’t have a high-spend blender or a food processor you can finely mince up the prunes and aggressively stir everything together. It will still come together beautifully!

A close up of a flaky buttery danish

MAKING EASY DANISH DOUGH

Danish dough just sounds difficult, doesn’t it? But it’s actually just the marriage of a super simple yeasted dough with heaps of butter so we get a fluffy, yet crispy, layered danish pastry dough. Let me walk you through the steps…

Putting Together Your Dough

First, we mix our dough base together. It’s a simple (and standard) enriched dough concoction of milk, yeast, water, egg and sugar. It gets a bit of knead time until a ball forms and it’s smooth and elastic. I use my electric stand mixer for this, but you could also use your arms and a clean surface. 

Avoid adding any extra flour at this point unless your dough is wildly sticky and only do so after kneading for at least 8-ish minutes (and only if it still isn’t coming together into a smooth ball). Add additional flour in small, conservative increments; at most one tablespoon at a time.

Lightly oil a bowl (any oil will do…I use olive oil) and place the dough inside, turning once to coat. Cover the bowl (make it airtight so that the dough doesn’t dry out) and stash in the fridge for several hours.

Prepping Your Butter

As soon as you’re done with your dough, grate your butter using a cheese grater or a food processor. Immediately place the grated butter in the fridge to stay chilled until ready to use.

Folding + Chilling Danish Dough

Fold One

Take your dough out of the fridge and roll it into a rectangle, about ¼ inch thick. I’m not going to give you exact dimensions because that’s not as important as the rectangle shape and the thickness.

With the short side closest to you, sprinkle ½ of the grated butter over the top of the dough and then fold it like a letter: fold the dough halfway-ish over itself and then grab the opposite end of dough and fold it over both layers of dough.

Lightly press down and then grab the short end on your left and fold it halfway down the length of the dough and then fold it one final time. Place back in the oiled bowl, cover and place back in the fridge for at least 45 minutes (I think 2-hour increments are better; see my note below about using the freezer if you’d like to speed things up) and up to overnight.

Fold Two

Take the dough out of the fridge and again roll into a rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded butter and fold as you did in Fold One. Place the dough back in the fridge as you did in Fold One for at least 45 minutes (I think 2-hour increments are better; see my note below about using the freezer if you’d like to speed things up) and up to overnight.

TIP
You shouldn’t need to use any flour at this point if the dough is well chilled!

Fold Three

Repeat the rolling and folding process that you did in Fold One & Two, but without using butter.

We have two goals at this point:

  1. We want to keep the dough as cool as possible, so don’t leave it out on the counter for an extended period of time. This will keep our butter from melting.
  2. Through our folds and rolling the dough we are cutting the butter into the danish layers which will result in a beautiful, layered, flaky, buttery Danish.

Fold Four

Repeat the rolling, folding and stashing in the fridge as you did above. After a minimum of two hours of fridge time your dough is ready to use. I recommend planning your baking schedule so that you allow at least one overnight rest in the fridge before your bake day. See my sample Baker’s Schedule below!

TIP
Watch the Spiced Prune Danish video on this page for some photos of the process. You can also reference the photos above. It all sounds complicated, but once you do your first fold you’ll get the hang of it…and it is also a forgiving process…just keep your butter + dough cool and you’re good!

A single prune danish

SOME QUESTIONS
ABOUT DANISH DOUGH

What is ‘lamination’?

When you laminate a dough, you are adding in layers of butter that will then melt in the oven resulting in steam pushing the dough up making it light and layered. The butter adds another bonus: a crispy exterior. The cooler you keep your dough, the more folds and layers you add to the dough, the crispier and more layered your Danish pastry will be. There are longer, more traditional lamination techniques than the one I’ve included in this recipe, but I find that this one does the trick with less effort. Win!

What yeast should I use?

You can use active dry or quick yeast for this recipe. It can also be called ‘fast rising’ or ‘rapid rise’. All will work.

Check your sell-by date on your packaging and always store your yeast in the fridge or freezer to keep it fresh.

I always include a step where you proof your yeast (not all recipes do). This is where you add the dry yeast to a warm liquid and wait 10-15 minutes to see it foaming over the top of the liquid. This tells you that it’s active and ready for the next step. If you don’t see this happen, I would be hesitant to move on to the next step.

For this recipe, If the ambient temperature is cool or the milk wasn’t quite warm enough it can take longer for the yeast to get foamy and frothy.

I highly recommend a thermometer to test the temperature of your liquid. If the liquid is too cool, it will take longer to proof the yeast, as well as for your dough to rise. If it’s too hot, you run the risk of killing the yeast so it’s better to make sure and take this extra step.

What Else Can I Do With Danish Dough?

You can create more jams (using California fruit, of course ;))…I love all of these quick jams and sauces and each would be delicious in this recipe:

Cherry Jam

Raspberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

Five-Spice Fig Jam (includes a plum variation)

Five-Spice Cranberry Sauce

Also, helloooo croissant dough! I’m going to play around with making us croissants using this quite danish pastry dough. Stay tuned!

FREEZER METHOD
To expedite time between folds, set your dough in the freezer for 15 to minutes to quickly cool it down and then place it in the fridge for an additional 15-30 minutes to make sure your butter is cool but not hard. You want the dough and the butter to be similar temperatures so that the cold, hard butter doesn’t poke through the soft dough.

Can I Freeze Danish Dough?

Yep! Once you complete your fourth fold, you can lightly cover it in oil, cover in plastic wrap and then a layer of foil to protect it from freezer burn. I would go so far as to place in an additional container for added protection.

Twenty-four hours before using, place remove the dough from the freezer and place it in the fridge to start defrosting. It may need a bit of time on the counter before it’s ready to start rolling and shaping.

How Long Will The Dough Take?

This dough is different than many yeast-based doughs that follow a typical 1-2 hour first (bulk) rise, followed by a second 1-2 hour rise (usually of your shaped bread/roll/whatever).  

This danish dough spends the first half (bulk) of its rise time in the fridge. To give it the best start in becoming a soft, supple dough, make sure that your milk is warmed to 105-110F (41-43C). If the dough gets this best start, it will rise according to the baker’s schedule below. This dough can be made in one day (and baked off the next) or it can be made over the course of several days and fit within your busy schedule – you decide!

TIP
If at any point during the rolling of the dough it resists and shrinks when rolled, walk away from the dough. Simply set it back in the fridge for 10 minutes and then try to roll it out again. All of this activity (i.e., the rolling) activates the gluten, causing the shrinking/bouncing back effect. If you let the dough relax for a short period, the gluten will relax a bit, and it should be easier to roll out.

Three flaky danishes with a bite out of it

SAMPLE BAKER’S SCHEDULE

This is a sample baking schedule if you want to do little bits of prep during the week so you can enjoy warm Danishes on Saturday morning!

THURSDAY

Dough + Spiced Prune Jam + Folds One & Two

  1. Mix your dough.
  2. Make Your Spiced Prune Jam & stash in an airtight container in the fridge.
  3. Do Folds One & Two using the freezer method outlined above if you’re short on time.

FRIDAY

Folds Three & Four + Cream Cheese Filling (if using)

  1. Do folds Three & Four using the freezer method outlined above if you’re short on time.
  2. Throw together the cream cheese filling, if using, and stash in an airtight container in the fridge.

SATURDAY

Bake Day!

  1. After you’ve had your coffee, take the dough out of the fridge and roll into a rectangle of about ½-inch thickness. Divide into 12 pieces; ideally square-shaped. I find a little flour dusted on the surface, rolling pin and my hands helps with handling the dough at this point.
  2. Fold down the corners; sealing the edges with egg wash and let rest in a warm spot (free from drafts) and lightly covered with greased plastic wrap for about 1-2 hours or until they are puffed and feel light to the touch. Bring the jam and cream cheese filling, if using, closer to room temperature.
  3. Add your filling, more egg wash to the exposed dough, a sprinkle of sparkling sugar and bake! Eat still warm for a living your best life moment!

TIP
If you’re having a hard time rolling them into perfect squares, consider cutting off any excess pieces (I use a bench scraper for this). Having sharper lines and a square shape will make it easier to fold over the corners and make the danishes look pretty. 

A lot of flaky danishes and a latte

SAME-DAY
DANISH PASTRY DOUGH
SCHEDULE

Alternatively, you can make this dough in one day! Accelerate the Fold steps by using the freezer method noted above to keep the temperature of your dough and butter cool. Start in the morning and it will be done by the afternoon/evening. Let the dough rest in the fridge overnight before shaping and baking the danishes in the morning!

A cream cheese prune danish

OPTIONAL DANISH
CREAM CHEESE FILLING

I polled my family and friends and half wanted a cream cheese filling and half didn’t care. So, it’s optional. I thought they were delicious without (this danish pastry dough is SO GOOD and the jam…don’t even get me started). But you do you friend! The recipe is included in the recipe card and was inspired by my cheesecake filling. It’s super simple, just cream cheese, a little sour cream, some sugar, an egg yolk and a bit more almond extract for good measure.

A flaky danish with a bite out of it

MORE YEAST-BASED RECIPES

Apple Cinnamon Roll Pull-Apart Bread

My Favorite Beer-Crust Pizza Dough (updated!)

Easy Cheesy Dinner Rolls

Peppermint Chocolate Breakfast Buns

Yeasted Overnight Waffles

Flaky buttery danish party
A bunch of flaky danishes
Three flaky danishes with a bite out of it

Flaky Buttery Prune Danishes

This is THE BEST spiced prune danish recipe! The dough is surprisingly easy to make (and make-ahead) and the spiced prune jam comes together in minutes. Lots of tips to get warm, flaky danishes on your breakfast table asap! The instructions are a little longer than usually so I can walk you every step of the way. Have fun! xo
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Danishes
Keyword: Breakfast, Danishes, Prune
Servings: 12 Danishes

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2/3 cup (160 g) warm whole milk (warmed to 105-110F; 41-43C)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (7 g) instant yeast
  • 2 ¼ cups (303 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (24 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) sea salt
  • 16 tablespoons (226 g or 8 ounces) unsalted butter cold

For the Spiced Prune Jam

  • 1/2 pound (228 g) prunes, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup (115 g) water
  • 1.5 tablespoons (3 g) orange zest (about 1 medium oranges)
  • 1.5 tablespoons (21 g) fresh orange juice (about 1 medium oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon (214 g) brown sugar packed
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) almond extract

For the Cream Cheese Filling (optional)

  • 4 ounces (112 g) cream cheese room temperature
  • 2 tablespoon (24 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) sour cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) almond extract

For the Egg Wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoon (30 g) heavy whipping cream

For the Garnish

  • Sparkling sugar

Instructions

For the Dough

  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment combine the warm milk and yeast. Let sit for 15 minutes until the yeast gets foamy and frothy on the top of the milk. Add in the flour, egg and sugar and run the machine for several minutes on low until combined. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the salt and run the machine medium for about 10 minutes. The dough will be a bit stiff at this stage as the butter hasn’t been added yet. Place the dough in a lightly oiled lidded container and store in the fridge for at least 1 hour or until chilled through.
  • Grate your cold butter with a cheese grater and stash in lidded container in the fridge to keep chilled.

Dough: Turn One

  • Once the dough is cool to the touch, roll it out to a rectangle about ¼ inch thick on a smooth, clean surface. No need to be perfect. Sprinkle half of the chilled grated butter over the dough and place the remaining butter back in the fridge. Fold the top third of the dough over the middle third and then fold the bottom third over the two layers. Take the open end of the dough and fold it over the middle third; grab the remaining open end and fold it over the two layers. Place the dough back in the lightly oiled, lidded container and place back in the fridge to cool completely. Read note in the blog text titled Freezer Method if you’d like to expedite the time between folds. Otherwise, allow several hours for the dough and butter to chill completely.

Dough: Turn Two

  • Take the dough from the fridge and place on the counter with the open edge facing you. Roll the dough out to a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle the remaining grated butter; fold like above and place back in the fridge to chill. Follow the same timeline as Turn One.

Dough: Turns Three & Four

  • Roll the dough out to a rectangle, like Turns One & Two. Make sure that each time you place the dough on the counter with the open edge of the dough packet facing you; this will ensure that you have been ‘turning’ the dough properly with each roll. You won’t add any butter to these turns, but you roll out and fold the dough as you did for Turns One & Two. Let the dough chill for at least several hours or ideally overnight.

For the Spiced Prune Jam

  • Add the prunes, water, orange zest and juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and almond extract to a high-speed blender or food processor and mix until it becomes coarse and jammy. How delicious does this smell? Scoop into a lidded container and store on the counter if you’re using the same or in the fridge if longer.

For the Cream Cheese Filling (optional)

  • If using the cream cheese filling, whisk together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, egg yolk and almond extract. For an especially smooth filling give it a quick blitz in the blender. Stash in the fridge until ready to use.

To Shape & Assemble

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside as well. Bring the jam to room temperature. If it’s been refrigerated.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and set on a clean, light floured surface. Lightly flour the rolling pin (you can also use a wine bottle in a pinch) and your hands as well. Roll the dough into a large square about ½ inch thick (don’t go thinner). Try to make this the sides as straight as possible; pull the dough a bit at the corners to get crisp angles (as best you can).
  • Cut out 12 square pieces of dough of about the equal size. Working quickly, roll each square out to be 4- to 5-square inches; taking care not to roll the dough thinner than ¼ inch thickness. Use additional dough as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Place the squares on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2-3 inches between each danish. Brush the corners with the egg wash and press the corners towards the middle to seal (see video). Reserve the egg wash for brushing the danishes just prior to baking. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let sit for about 90 minutes. The danishes will be puffed up and light to the touch.
  • Preheat your oven to 400F (200C).
  • Press the center of each danish down in the middle, re-securing the edges to the middle. Brush the outer edges of the danish with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with the sparkling sugar. Place 2 teaspoons of cream cheese filling (if using) in the center of the danish and then top with 2 teaspoons of the prune jam. If just using the prune jam, then just place it in the middle…and consider adding another teaspoon if you’re feeling it.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes and the edges are nicely bronzed; we’re talking a nice, George-Hamilton-at-the-start-of-summer bronze. Immediately transfer the danishes to a rack to cool a bit. These are delicious warm, fabulous at room temperature…I can’t think of an occasion where they wouldn’t be next level amazing? Enjoy friends!
  • If you like this recipe, please give it a star rating and let me know how it went and if there are any tips or variations that we can share with others. Have fun!! xo

Video

Thanks for baking with me! Please tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo

This post + Flaky Buttery Prune Danish recipe was created in collaboration with California Prunes!! A big THANK YOU to them + you for supporting the brands I work with! When shopping, look for the California Grown license plate logo to know that you’re getting the goods from our awesome state!! 

8 Comments

  • Sheila 2021/01/17 at 2:39 AM

    5 stars
    Made these, delicious! I did premake the prune jam 48 hours ahead of time. Extra time to let the prunes marinate and really meld into the flavors. Check a couple times a day and adjust spices to taste. Pastry came out beautiful and flakey.

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2021/01/17 at 12:19 PM

      This makes me happy—I’m so glad you enjoyed them!!! xox

      Reply
  • Dad 2020/12/02 at 5:27 AM

    5 stars
    So very tasty.

    Reply
  • Sally 2020/12/02 at 12:43 AM

    5 stars
    You make everything look simple and delicious

    Reply
  • Claire 2020/12/01 at 11:55 PM

    5 stars
    I love the new tips you’re adding! So helpful, the prune filling sounds delicious. x

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2020/12/01 at 11:56 PM

      Thank you Claire!! I’m so glad you’re finding them helpful. The jam is so good and is AWESOME on a cheese plate!! xox

      Reply

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