Why is it anything with cream cheese or cheesecake tastes so good? My daughter at the age of 19 opened her own specialty cupcake store and bakery. She is so talented and creative! I loved watching her and helping her on busy holidays. One of the things I noticed then was anything she made with cheesecake or cream cheese was sold out quickly.
I can’t even pretend to be close to the baker that my daughter is. All of her recipes are in her head, most of them have never been written down. She made a bakery version of this Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish that I just loved. Although my at-home version is not a duplicate of hers and isn’t made from scratch, it is darn good and easy to duplicate.
By starting with these simple and easy to find ingredients you can make my danishes at home. They are the perfect addition to any breakfast or brunch. The perfect sweet to serve mom for breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day.
What Is Puff Pastry
This recipe starts with puff pastry, but what is puff pasty? Most people shy away from it because it seems complicated. They save it for something they pick up at the bakery.
Puff pastry reminds me of a croissant with layers of flaky dough. There is no yeast yet it puffs when baking. To make it bakers mix a simple dough of flour, butter, and water, roll it out and put slabs of butter on top, fold the dough over the butter and roll it again. You keep repeating this step of folding and layering until there are hundreds of layers with butter between them. The key to the flakiness is in the process. Done correctly the water in the dough and the butter produces a burst of steam which lifts the layers and produces the flakiness.
It’s not difficult to make puff pastry just time-consuming. The process takes an elaborate rolling technique to form those layers, and the butter must be cold. It then takes considerable pressure to roll the dough flat. Also, the dough needs to chill between each round of rolling and folding making this physically demanding and time-consuming.
Puff Pastry is widely available in the frozen section of your favorite grocery store. It allows home cooks to use puff pastry without all of the demands of making it from scratch. It comes in sheets and must be thawed before using. It is important that they are fully thawed but still remain cold so they don’t become sticky. The sheets come folded, trying to unfold them before thawing will result in them breaking, limiting their use.
Taste and Use
Puff pastry tastes buttery, is light and airy and when baked has a slight crunch to the crust. The neutral flavor is very versatile and lends itself to sweet or savory dishes.
Puff pastry is used in desserts, main dishes like beef wellington, and breakfast dishes both sweet and savory. I have used it for taco or pizza boats in a cupcake pan, hors d’oeuvres, and cookies. The scraps of dough work great for decorating baked items.
Start by taking the puff pastry out of the freezer either by moving it to the refrigerator the night before or going from the freezer to the counter an hour before assembling the danish.
About 10 minutes before the pasty dough is thawed, mix the cream cheese mixture using ingredients listed below.
- softened cream cheese
- egg yolk
- both extracts (I use almond, but you can substitute vanilla if you prefer, we just like the almond flavor)
- and the lemon juice
I use my stand up mixer but you can use a hand mixer. Beat cream cheese mixture on slow until all ingredients are incorporated and then on medium until fully mixed.
Set the mixture aside while assembling the dough.
Remove the puff pastry sheets from the package. Carefully unfold the sheets. On a very lightly floured surface roll the pastry sheet slightly just enough to remove the fold lines.
Using a pizza cutter, cut each sheet into 4 squares.
With a fork, mix the egg white, water and a pinch of salt in a small bowl making a egg wash to be used on the edges of the puff pastry,
Transfer 4 puff pastry squares to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash onto the edges of the pastry square.
Fold in the edges of the puff pastry square creating a well in the center to hold in the fruit and cream cheese mixture.
Fill the center of the well with your choice of fruit filling and the cream cheese mixture that we mixed earlier and set aside.
Brush any exposed edges of the danish with the remaining egg wash. (Optional) I like to sprinkle a little raw sugar on top just before baking.
This recipe makes 8 danishes. If you have two baking sheets you can bake all 8 at one time. Making sure the sheets are in the center of the oven.
Bake in a 400-degree oven for 18 – 20 minutes.
The cream cheese mixture will slightly deflate while cooling.
These danishes are best served warm or reheated with your favorite coffee house style drink.
We choose to use blueberry most of the time for the fruit filling. You can use what ever is your favorite, apple, cherry, lemon or skip the fruit and just do all cream cheese,
Blueberry Cream Cheesse Danish
- 1 package Puff Pastry Sheets 17 1/3 oz
- 1 package cream cheese 8 ounces
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg separated
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 can blueberry pie filling
- Remove puff pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw for 40 minutes before assembling the danishes.
- Preheat oven to 400 with oven rack in the center of the oven
- Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
- In an electric mixer combine Cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, extracts, and lemon juice. Beat at medium speed until combined. Scraping bowl as needed.
- Remove the puff pastry from the package. Roll the pastry sheet slightly just to remove the fold lines. Using a pizza cutter cut each sheet into 4 squares.
- Whisk egg white, water, and salt together in a small bowl.
- Place 4 pastry squares on the parchment-lined cookie sheet, brush edges of the pastry square with the egg white wash.
- Roll the edges of the pastry square in, creating a well in the center
- Fill the center well with pie filling and cream cheese mixture
- Bake 18 to 20 minutes rotating the cookie sheet halfway through the baking
- Remove the cookie sheet from oven and transfer the parchment paper and baked danishes to a wire rack to cool. Repeat steps 7 to 10 with the other 4 pastry squares.
Gary & Michelle
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