It’s Monday, but not our usual Monday. Everyone is home from school/work on holiday and we had a slower morning than usual. It had been a busy, busy weekend, so we enjoyed taking it a little easier this morning. Since we were all home, and enjoying the laziness of it all, I decided to bake up some goodies for breakfast.
I’d never attempted homemade Danish before. Every recipe I’ve seen just seems like too much hassle first thing in the morning. I take a while to rev up in the morning, so the last thing I want to do while my coffee is perking is worry about prepping perfect Danish dough. This recipe caught my eye because you use frozen puff pastry and can even make them up the night before! Just pop them in the oven in the morning. Last night was busy, though, so I did it all this morning. No worries! These were so quick and easy that even my cloudy, early morning, pre-coffee leveled head could handle it.
I started by making an easy cream cheese filling. I whipped up a block of reduced-fat cream cheese and a little bit of sugar. When that was nice and smooth, I added two egg yolks, some vanilla, the zest of one lemon, a pinch of salt and a dollop of sour cream.
Once my filling was finished, I took my box of puff pastry from the fridge (where it had been thawing overnight) and rolled one sheet out just a little bit, so I had a 10×10 inch square.
Next, I prepared a quick egg wash and got out my jar of berry preserves…just because.
I carefully cut the pastry sheet into quarters and spooned a heaping tablespoonful of the cheese filling onto the middle of each square. I left two with just the cheese, but to the others, I added a bit of the jam. Couldn’t hurt, right?
Next, I brushed the edges with the egg wash and brought two of the corners up to meet in the middle. Once there, I brushed the tops with a little more egg wash and then carefully moved them to a parchment lined cookie sheet. At this point, my pastry was still cold, so I went ahead and baked it. If yours has warmed up to room temperature at this point, it would be best to go back in the fridge for a few minutes to chill back down. Puff pastry puffs best when cold!
I know, they look a little wimpy in that last photo, but here’s where the magic of the puff pastry kicks in. After just about 20 minutes in the oven, they were beautiful!
After they cooled for just a few minutes, we dove into them. They were warm and delicious, and the pastry was perfectly puffed and flaky. The cheese filling isn’t overly sweet, so the berry preserves complimented it really well.
I’m not afraid of making homemade Danish anymore! After watching my girls gobble these up, I’m pretty sure that’s something they’ll be happy to hear. Someday, maybe I’ll have to tackle making my own dough. On a lazy family morning, though, why bother?
EASY BERRY-CHEESE DANISH
Adapted from Ina Garten
- 1 8 oz. block reduced-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. sour cream
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- the zest from one lemon
- 2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water, for the egg wash
- berry preserves, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400*. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the egg yolks, sour cream, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest. Mix just until combined. Do not whip.
- Prepare egg wash.
- Unfold one of the puff pastry sheets onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out the pastry with a rolling pin until it's a 10x10 inch square. Carefully, cut the sheet into quarters using a sharp knife. Spoon a heaping tablespoonful of the cheese mixture into the center of each square. If desired, add a dollop of preserves.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash. Bring two corners up to overlap in the middle of the filling and brush with the egg wash to seal. Brush the tops of the Danish with the egg wash and move them to the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry and filling. You will have some cheese filling left over.
- **If your pastry has warmed up to room temperature, pop the prepared Danish into the fridge for 15 minutes before baking. Puff pastry puffs best when cold!**
- Bake the Danish at 400* for 18-20 minutes, until puffed and toasty brown. Cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve warm. Makes 8 Danish
- **To make ahead, assemble the Danish the night before and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Chill them overnight and just bake them in the morning!