Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quick and Easy Puff Pastry Danish

Quick and Easy Puff Pastry Danish are made with frozen sheets of puff pastry. Puff pastry made from scratch is the ultimate in puff pastry but for a quick and easy jam and cheese danish these look and taste great. I've made three shapes for you, the pinwheel, the envelop, and the diamond. They are filled with a cream cheese filling and jam, then brushed with an apricot glaze while they're still warm. Make them the night before, cover and refrigerate, then pop them in the oven first thing in the morning. Your guests and family will think you've made a quick run to the local bakery.

Puff pastry is found in the frozen section at the grocery store. It should be thawed in the refrigerator preferably overnight. If you're in a real hurry you can leave it on the counter but make sure you use it as soon as it's thawed enough to handle. Puff pastry should be kept cold. Flour your board and unfold the sheet. You want to have a square sheet so you may have to flour and roll it a little bit. Mine was almost a 10 inch square so I only had to roll it a little bit. You can make any size you want as long as they are square. Adjust the amount of cream cheese filling and jam accordingly. I cut it into four 5 inch squares. The first shape on the left is the envelop. You take two opposite corners and fold them overlapping in the middle. The second shape is the pinwheel. From each corner you cut in two inches. After you have filled it you will fold every other point to the center. The third shape is the diamond. Fold the square into a triangle. Then cut one half inch in from the sides of the triangle stopping one inch from the tip of the triangle. Unfold the square and bring the cut sides to the opposite points. Make sure the sides line up evenly.

The next step is to fill the puff pastry with the cream cheese filling and jam. I used strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry jam. For the envelop place 1 1/2 Tbs. cream filling down the middle of the square from point to point. Don't go all the way to the edges because it will spread some. Place 1 Tbs. jam on top of the cream cheese filling. Fold one point over the filling and egg wash the top, then fold the opposite point over the egg washed point. For the pin wheel place 1 1/2 Tbs. cream cheese filling in the center of the pin wheel. Place 1 Tbs. jam on top of the cream cheese filling. Start with any point and fold it to the center. Egg wash the top, skip a point, then fold the next point on top of the first one. Continue folding every other point to the center egg washing the top of each one. For the diamond shape place 1 1/2 Tbs. cream cheese filling in the center of the diamond and place 1 Tbs. jam on top of the cream cheese filling. After all the pastries are filled egg wash the tops of all exposed puff pastry. Do not egg wash the sides of the puff pastry.

Cream Cheese Filling

16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. flour
1 egg yolk

Mix all of the ingredients together in a standing mixer with the paddle or mix with a handheld mixer. Makes enough for about a dozen pastries.

Egg Wash

1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
2 tsp. water

Whisk together in a small bowl.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes and brush with Apricot Glaze. Place apricot jam in the microwave, or in a pan on the stove, and heat until it becomes more liquid. I usually have to add a little water to it. If you have large pieces in the jam put it through a sieve. Brush on the pastry while it is still warm and liquid. Keep in the refrigerator so you have it the next time you need Apricot Glaze.

Use orange zest instead of lemon zest in the cream cheese filling. Or use both.
Use flavorings in the cream cheese filling such as lemon, vanilla, or almond.
Use any kind of jam you like, apricot, fig, or other berry jams.
Add chopped up almonds to the cream cheese filling or sprinkle them on top.

I hope you'll give these Quick and Easy Puff Pastry Danish a try. They really are very easy to make and give a real wow factor to your breakfast. If you have any questions please feel free to email me.


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