Friday, September 24, 2010

Ina's Easy Cheese Danish


* Photo courtesy of A Feast for the Eyes

I made this for a co-worker’s birthday, and while the flavors tasted light and sweet, I would make some edits next time around. I would make the filling the evening before- the refrigeration was necessary to “set” the consistency or else I felt it would’ve been too runny. I would also add some jam to each Danish, spreading it thinly inside the puff pastry before adding the cheese- while I liked the refreshing citrus flavor, adding some jam would have made it terrific. A fun and tasty addition would be to drizzle some melted chocolate on top of the baked danish. Very tasty, easy, and actually fun to do.

Easy Cheese Danish

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature (or 3 large egg yolks)
2 Tbsp ricotta cheese
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
8 Tbsp jam
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water, for egg wash

Directions:
1. The evening before: 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!
2. The morning of: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. 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.
4. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife (a pizza roller works well here).
5. Spread 1 Tbsp of jam thinly inside the puff pastry square.
6. Place a heaping Tbsp of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Make sure to try to spread out the cheese mixture so when it folds, it is incorporated into all the crevices.
7. 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.
8. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash.
9. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.
10. Bake the pastries for about 15-18 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 danishes

Source: Adapted from Ina Garten

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