Cheese Danishes remind me of my father. Any pastry with cream cheese, he would order it. I found myself drawn to the same flavor as I got older. I had some puff pastry dough in my freezer that was telling me I should use it before it went bad. So by digging around and finding cream cheese, frozen blackberries and lemon, I came up with this beautiful and delicious Sunday stunner. It took me only 15 minutes to assemble and was tart and tad bit sweet--just the way I like it. I love how the criss cross design just pushes this Danish over the top. My guests were impressed. Enjoy! This was adapted from Leite's Cuilinaria.
- 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 large egg, separated
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 teaspoons for sprinkling
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 cup of frozen blackberries + tossed in 2-3 TBSP of sugar
1. Thaw the puff pastry at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Overnight in Fridge). I made two of these and froze the other one. The cream cheese was separated between the two pasty doughs. So if you are only going to make one, then half the amount of cheese (or keep it if you like lots of cheese).
2. Place the cream cheese, egg yolk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest in a medium bowl and beat together with an electric mixer until smooth.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a piece of parchment paper the size of a jelly roll pan on a large baking sheet.
4. Unroll the puff pastry on the parchment paper and, using a rolling pin, roll it out until it measures about 12 by 15 inches.
5. Rotate the pastry on the parchment paper so it’s vertical when you look at it. Spread the cream cheese filling in the center column, leaving a 1-inch (2 1/2-centimeter) plain puff pastry border on the top and bottom edges of the column.
6. Press the sugar coated blackberries into the cream cheese.
7. Use the back of a knife to lightly score the dough into 3 long, vertical columns, being careful not to cut all the way through the dough.
8. Fold down the top edge of the puff pastry 1/2 inch (2 centimeters) over the filling to seal it. Take your knife and, leaving the side columns attached to the center column, cut horizontal slits in the 2 side columns, starting about 3/4 inch (2 centimeters) before the cream cheese filling begins and slicing all the way to the edge of the pastry, making 1-inch-wide (2 1/2-centimeter) strips.
9. Now, starting at the top, take the top strip on the right side and pull it over the cream cheese filling at a downward angle and press it into the cream cheese. Take the top strip from the left side and cross it over the top strip from the right side and press to seal. Repeat on the right side and keep alternating until you get to the bottom. When you get to the bottom 2 strips, cross them over each other but this time go up the pastry. Fold the bottom pastry up 1/2 inch over the filling to seal it.
10. Beat the reserved egg white and lightly brush it on the pastry. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Slide the parchment paper and the cheese Danish onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 400F, or until golden. Serve warm. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat to serve.