The dough used in danishes is similar to the dough used in croissants. It is a very flaky, buttery yeast dough that takes more than a little bit of time and patience to put together. Sometimes it’s nice to dawdle over a batch of pastry on a lazy weekend morning, but other times it’s nice to get something delicious onto your plate a little more quickly. One solution is to run to the local bakery and pick up some danishes, but another is to make a quick batch of danish using puff pastry instead of a more traditional danish dough. Puff pastry is easy to work with and produces a crisp, flaky delicious danish – especially considering that it takes so little time to make a batch.
The secret to making these danishes so good is the cream cheese filling inside. It is made with cream cheese and white chocolate. The white chocolate gives it a rich, creamy feel and just the right amount of sweetness. A good quality white chocolate (not white baking chips) will have notes of milk and vanilla in it, which will help round out the flavor of the cream cheese. The cream is delicious on its own and bakes very well, staying tender and moist within its crisp puff pastry shell.
Now, if you’re a purist, you could keep the cream cheese danish filling plain and serve the pastries that way. I used mixture of raspberry and peach preserves to sweeten them up a little more. Any flavor of jam will work here, but thicker jams and preserves will tend to spread less during baking and produce a slightly prettier danish in the end. This is another good example of a recipe that you can use as a jumping off point for creating your own variations. The 1,2,3 Puff! Contest that Pepperidge Farm is holding is still accepting entries and a mouthwatering Danish – or similarly enticing pastry – sounds like it would have a great chance of being a prize winner. The grand prize is an all-expenses paid trip to New York (along with some foodie bonuses, like a tour of NYC pastry shops and bakeries!), but that’s just the bonus of experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen.
Easy Cream Cheese Danish
2 sheets puff pastry (1 package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry), defrosted
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
3-oz white chocolate, melted
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup jam
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Gently roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to smooth out the pastry and remove any folds. Divide pastry into eight squares (or each sheet into quarters) using a pizza cutter or sharp knife.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, melted white chocolate, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and fluffy.
Place approx 2 tbsp cream cheese mixture in the center of each pastry square. Make an indentation on the top of each dollop of cream cheese with the tablespoon measure. Place 1 tbsp of jam (any flavor) in each indentation.
Draw corners of the pastry up towards the center of the danish and pinch together. Press each pastry down lightly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until pastry is a light golden brown. Puff pastry may spread slightly and the danish will “open” as the pastry bakes.
Note: This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, who wants to encourage you to come up with your own puff pastry creations (in addition to trying mine!) and enter them in their 1, 2, 3 Puff! Recipe Contest. If your recipe is selected as a winner, you could receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City for a taste of the sweet life! Find more great recipes and enter to win at 123puffpastry.com.