Today I’m going to tell you the story of why I made cheese danishes this weekend.
This story involves a LOT of dessert. I’m almost too embarrassed to share the scandalous details. Let’s just say Trainer Bob would not be happy with me…I’m sorry Bob! I promise I’ll dust off my workout dvds and we’ll spend some quality time together soon.
It all began because my little sister Halley turned 21 this weekend. One part of her celebration was a venture into the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle to get some dessert. She really wanted to try a little cafe called Cafe de Lion.
We loved it there! Here is the birthday girl…
…and here am I.
Halley’s dessert was a Purple Sweet Potato Mont Blanc and mine was a chocolate version. They were so good!! Our desserts weren’t overly sweet and the portion size was just right. They were light enough that we didn’t feel sick. We just felt full of happiness.
The customer service was excellent too. They were personable and available for questions. They served us drip coffee, and later brought out a complimentary cold-brewed coffee as well.
Overall, a wonderful experience! We each bought a second dessert to have the next day.
Anyway, I wanted to make some sort of dessert for Halley’s birthday weekend. She already had cake for that evening, but I asked if there was anything else she’d like. She mentioned that she likes raspberries.
The minute she said raspberries, I was reminded of earlier in the week, when we visited Bakery Nouveau. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, this is probably my favorite bakery in Seattle. It’s just amazing!
The first thing you see when you walk in the door are their macarons, rumored to be the best in town.
The wonders continue with intricate desserts and pastries galore. On this occasion we were lucky enough to find an open table. This table happened to be directly across from the pastry case, where I spent the duration of our visit gazing dreamily at the desserts. This made for a lot of accidental awkward eye contact with the guys working behind the counter…but welcome to my life. It is pretty much a string of constant awkward moments…sigh.
One pastry that I noticed this time was their cream cheese danish with fresh berries. So when Halley told me that she wanted berries in her birthday dessert, this danish was the first thing that popped into my mind. I decided to recreate the one I saw at Bakery Nouveau.
I made Ina Garten’s cheese danishes last year, and kept the recipe bookmarked. They were so easy and so delicious.
I love this recipe because it really is simple. Mix up a cream cheese/ricotta filling, cut up the puff pastry, fold it up into a nice little bundle, bake and top with fresh berries.
You can also put the danishes together the night before, and just bake them in the morning for an impressive breakfast.
One note on these – I forgot to give the assembled danishes a final brush of egg wash before baking. If I had done this, they would have looked a little darker and more golden.
I hope you make these and enjoy them! I’m going to go eat some lettuce now…
Cheese Danish with Raspberries and Blueberries
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home
Makes 8 danish
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water, for egg wash
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together on low speed until smooth. Keeping the mixer on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta cheese, vanilla, salt and lemon zest. Beat just until combined – don’t whip.
Spread flour over a cutting board. Unfold one of the sheets of puff pastry. Using a floured rolling pin, roll it into a 10 x 10-inch square. Cut the big square into four small squares with a knife. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.
Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the middle of each square. Coat the borders with the egg wash. Fold the corners in, and press them together very lightly, allowing the egg wash to help seal the dough. The four corners should come together to create a little package. However, be careful not to press them too tightly – they should pop open as they bake. Brush egg wash over the top of the pastries.
Chill the pastries on their baking sheet in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking. Remove when the pastries are puffed and brown.
If needed, gently help the tops to open a little. Place fresh berries on top. Serve warm and enjoy!
Note: If made in advance, reheat at 350 degrees for five minutes. Add berries. You can also assemble these at night and bake them the next morning.