Congratulations to Val of More Than Burnt Toast who had the most referrals to the Barefoot Bloggers website in October. Val chose something that probably never would have occurred to me to try, Easy Cheese Danishes from The Barefoot Contessa at Home (Page 218) and I am glad she did as these Danishes were easy to put together and delicious.
Easy Cheese Danish
The Barefoot Contessa at Home, Ina Garten
Makes 8 Danishes
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 T ricotta cheese
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 - 1 T grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the cream cheese & sugar in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and cream 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! Unfold one sheet of pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it’s a 10×10 inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold two opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes. Bake the puff pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.
Considering I struggled a bit with getting my last puff pastry together for the Apple Turnovers, I was anxious to redeem myself. I think the key for me and puff pastry getting along is for me not to roll it. I had a much better experience with the sheet I didn't roll, but just cut, topped and folded. I did half of my Danishes with the cream cheese mixture and the other half I topped the cream cheese with some papaya-pineapple jam. Both were delicious, the cream cheese has a lovely, light lemony flavor, but the ones with the jam were our favorites. Mom and I baked this on Saturday night and shared one, then reheated the rest over the next couple of days for breakfast. (Ina notes in the cookbook version of the recipe to reheat at 350 degrees F. for 5 minutes). The nice thing about this recipe is that the Danishes were just as good if not better reheated. The only thing I would do differently is to add a bit more jam and even the cream cheese filling since the puff pastry holds it so nicely.
Great choice Val--this one is a keeper and would be great for an easy breakfast when you want to impress your guests but don't want to go to a lot of time and effort. Because this is an optional recipe, not all the Barefoot Bloggers may post it but you can check out who does by going through the list here. If you love Ina and want to join Barefoot Bloggers--check us out here. Hopefully you will join in time for my recipe choice, Vegetable Pot Pie that we will post next Thursday. (Guess what I'll be doing this weekend!?!)