Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this blog and what makes me happy. I don’t want to share recipes you don’t like, or ones I don’t really like! You (and I) deserve better! There are several things that make me happy and that I love to write about: Great coffee in the morning, fresh, berry cream cheese danish, cookies, warm from the oven… and baking.
Can baking be a love language? When I want to feel better, I bake. When I want to make other people feel better, I bake. When I am happy, I bake. When I am stressed, I bake! Do you see a theme here? Recently, I quit teaching pre-school in order to focus on a new chapter, new beginnings, and new opportunities. We’ll see where it goes! Consequently, there has been plenty of baking going on in my house! You may see a LOT more baking posts in the future. Sure, I’ll throw in an occasional salad or dinner, my favorite side dishes and sandwiches, but mostly, this kitchen will be filled with love, four, sugar and plenty of butter!
Oh, and since I no longer have a job where I can share my baked goods, I’m open to suggestions for what to do with all these goodies! Any volunteers?
In tackling and honoring my love for baking, I decided to give puff pastry a shot again. The first time I tried puff pastry, it was a hit and miss opportunity. You can see the challenges I faced here: Braided Cheese Danish This time, I was nicer to myself. I found these squares of puff pastry in my local market and decided to give them a try.
When I think of a great cream cheese danish, the pastry is just as important, if not more so, than the filling! The pastry needs to be golden and flaky. It needs to have crisp, light layers and be full of buttery goodness. These pre-cut squares are 5″ by 5″ and they worked great! You’ll see I scored a smaller square in the center, leaving a border of about an inch on the sides, then I pricked the middle several times with a fork. That’s so the center doesn’t puff up when it’s baking and you have a nice area to place your filling!
These berry cream cheese danishes came out FABULOUS! I can’t wait to try a savory version for an easy brunch/light dinner option.
Which is your favorite? Blueberry or raspberry? I made both because those were the berries I had on hand. Plus, today is the 4th of July and I was feeling patriotic. Feel free to mix and match your own. Blackberries, strawberries and even peaches would be great too. Just have fun with it!
And, to keep it real, I’m including this last picture of the danishes, and my toes! I laughed when I saw this shot. It’s an imperfect kitchen after all. Toes happen in pictures occasionally! :-) Happy 4th of July everyone! Enjoy your own puffy, golden, flaky and buttery delicious cream cheese danish! We did!
Berry Cream Cheese Danish
- 12 Pre-cut puff pastry squares or 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 3 TBLS sugar
- 1 ½ cups whole raspberries fresh or frozen
- 1 egg
- 3 TBLS water
- Powdered Sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Place six puff pastry squares on each sheet.
- With a sharp knife, score each square gently, leaving a one inch border on each side.
- Prick the smaller, center square several times with a fork so it won’t puff up during baking.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, vanilla and almond extracts with the sugar, until it is smooth and creamy.
- Spoon approx 2-3 TBLS of filling in the center square of each pastry.
- Spread it gently so it covers the entire middle square, but doesn’t go into the border.
- Place whole raspberries on top of the filling and press down lightly so they set into the filling.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water.
- With a pastry brush, brush the open border and edges of the puff pastry with the egg wash.
- (This will help create that lovely golden brown color and crisp edges.)
- Bake for about 18 – 20 minutes, or until your pastry squares are puffed and golden.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Dust each pastry with powdered sugar.
- Serve either warm or at room temperature.
- If you can’t find puff pastry squares, use two sheets of puff pastry. Roll out each sheet of pastry into a 12 x 9 rectangle. Cut each rectangle in half, lengthwise to create 4 – 4 ½ strips. Cut each strip into thirds to get approx 12 – 4 x 4 squares.