Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cheese Danish

Although I've never been a pastry person, my parents adore cream cheese danish, so I thought I'd give it a try!

Cheese Danish (Makes 8)

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 Tbsp ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer (paddle attachment). Cream together on low speed until smooth. With mixer on low, add egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest. Mix until just combined, don't overmix!

Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and roll it with a floured rolling pin until 10x10". Cut the sheet into quarters. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese mixture into the middle of each square. Brush the entire border of each pastry with the egg wash and fold two opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash and place the pastries on a prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled danish for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.

Observations/Suggestions: I did not have parchment paper, so I greased the pan with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (Original) and it worked fine. Minor sticking, but nothing drastic. Also, I should note, the cheese mixture may be a little lumpy. That is the lemon zest, do not worry. I highly recommend filling all danish at once because you will have leftover cheese mixture. Fill them well! Also, to my huge disappointment, all eight danish did not fit on the same pan. So, I ran two pans during the baking process. The pan on the bottom rack finished first, so keep an eye on them. I stored the leftovers in the fridge and they were fine the next day. FYI: These do not need to be served warm.

Recommended? Again, yes and no. I felt that the puffed pastry cheapened the danish. But, that may just be me since I am not a puffed pastry fan. If you want to impress houseguests with a fairly easy recipe, I definitely think this is the way to go. Good tasting with little effort.

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