If you know me at all, you know that I love me some cream cheese. Like seriously love it. But I don't like it in savory dishes when it's all hot and creamy. G-ross! However if it's sweetened in any way, shape or form, I am in!
So when I saw these Cheese Danishes on A Feast For The Eyes I knew I had to make them. Stat! I read her post that night and immediately got up to make the filling to chill over night, except I didn't have ricotta cheese so I added a little extra cream cheese. I baked them up the following morning. BTW, if you've never been to her blog, go over there right now. She is amazing and so sweet! I call her my surrogate mom :-)
At the time I only had mini puff pastry shells so that's what I used. I was in desperate need of pastry so I made them work. I let them come to room temperature then I pulled out some of the center so they wouldn't puff up so much. I topped them with the cheese filing, fresh cherries, blueberries and a sprinkling of Sugar In the Raw. They were the perfect two bite pastry. Crisp and flaky, creamy and smooth cheesy centers, fruit and crunchy sugar. What's not to like?
I have made them 3 times since then and have made them with the full sheets of puff pastry and added homemade strawberry jam and mini chocolate chips (as you see in the header). I liked both versions of this danish. It's very simple but impressive to look at and eat, and they're less expensive to make than they are to buy. Great for guests and lazy weekends, but they're best fresh so only bake what you're going to eat. Thanks for the recipe Debby!
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
- 2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- coarse or raw (turbinado) sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don’t whip!
Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it’s a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife.
Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together (I didn't fold the danishes with the chocolate chips and jam- I left them square. However if you're going to do it this way, lightly score a border around the pastry so it puffs up but don't cut through and poke holes in the center so it doesn't rise too much! I prebaked these for about 7 minutes before I added the cheese filling. See photo below).
Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash and place them on the prepared sheet pan. Sprinkle with sugar is you desire. 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.
NOTE: I used 1/2 the filling for the smaller bite size danishes (made 24). They baked for about 15 minutes before turning golden.
Also I used 1 lemon instead of two and made the filling the night before so it would set up a bit per Debby's suggestion. I also subbed cream cheese for the ricotta because I didn't have any and they were still delicious.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!