Almond Custard Pastries
The perfect homemade danish pastry for breakfast, brunch or dessert!!
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup milk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 1/2 cups white bread flour
2 packages (1/4 oz.) rapid-rise yeast or 2 tbsn. fresh yeast
2 tsp. salt
6 tbsn. sugar
2 cups/ 4 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into thin sliced
1 7 oz. package almond paste
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 small package French vanilla instant pudding
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds, divided
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 egg, whisked
To make the bun dough, pour the water and milk into a measuring cup. Add the egg, beating with a fork to mix, set aside. Set a large bowl near your food processor. Using your food processor, pulse the flour, yeast, salt and sugar to combine. Add the cold slices of butter, process briefly so the butter is cut up a little, though you still want to see visible chunks of at least 1/2" pieces. Transfer to the large bowl and quickly add the contents of the measuring cup. Use your hands or a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together, but do not over mix. Expect to have a gooey mess with some butter lumps in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator and leave it overnight or up to 4 days.
To turn the dough into pastry, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Dust your surface with bread flour and split the dough evenly in half, then roll each half into a 20" square. Fold the dough into thirds, like a business letter, turning it afterward so that the closed fold is on your left, like the spine of a book (it will still look very messy). Repeat this process 3 more times with each half; each time the dough will get smoother and better looking. Wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Or refrigerate half to use now and freeze the other half to use later.
To make the almond filling, cream together the almond paste and butter in a food processor until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time until well combined. Add the almond flour, all-purpose flour and almond extract and pulse until combined and smooth. Set aside until needed. To make the custard, combine everything in a medium bowl and mix until combined and starts to thicken, about 3 minutes. Refrigerate until needed.
To assemble the buns, working with one rectangle of dough at a time, roll the dough into a 20" x 8" rectangle or loosely so. Spread half of the almond filling mixture across the whole rectangle. Spread half of the custard mixture on top of the almond filling, then sprinkle the whole surface with slivered almonds and 1/4 cup sugar. Roll the entire thing up like you would when making cinnamon rolls, long side in. Use your fingers to pinch the end of the roll into the dough to seal it, to ensure custard doesn't escape. Using a sharp knife, cut the long log into 12 equal pieces and place, swirl side up on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rectangle of dough. You can separate each bun, leaving them 3" apart or you can have them all touch sides. It does not affect the baking time but it is up to you whether you want them to be separate or communal. Let the buns rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Before baking brush the buns with the whisked egg and sprinkle with more sliced almonds and sugar. Bake for 18 - 22 minutes or until golden brown.