A danish pastry is familiar to breakfast enjoyers around the world and, unlike so many other foods named after countries, is actually from Denmark. It’s one of those pastries where the floor is pretty good and tasty pretty much no matter what, and the ceiling? A great danish is incredible.
What I have here is not a great danish, but it’s a good danish, and it’s one you can make at home with simple ingredients and relatively little baking skill, which makes it a lot more attainable than the high end from-scratch danishes.
Why do I say a lot more attainable? Well, imagine this. You make a dough, out of your usual flour, milk, sugar, and eggs. Then you roll it out really thin, layer it with butter, and fold it over. Easy, right? Now roll it out again, layer more butter on, and fold it over. And again, and again, until you have 27 layers of laminated dough with butter in between.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to give it a try now and then, but when I just want a fast dessert or breakfast treat, I’m not going to go through all that labor. Luckily, Puff Pastry works just fine. It puffs up and gets flaky just like a danish dough, but with a fraction of the effort.
The wonderful thing about danishes is you can top them with whatever you like. Cream cheese, fruit, chocolate, slivered nuts, maple and pecans; really, you can do anything you like. I used strawberries and cream cheese from my compote recipe, largely because it’s the tail end of strawberry season and I’m still enjoying them before I’m left with just frozen berries — and other fruits come into season.
On that note, look forward to the blueberry and cherry recipes coming soon!
So, how do you make this danish? It’s easy as long as you have a steady hand and try not to over-fill them.
A side note here, before the recipe: I cut mine into eight pieces, and it uses one sheet of the traditional two in a puff pastry box. You can easily double the recipe and make 16 danishes if you like. You can also just make one giant sheet danish, and cut it afterwards, if you want more filling and less pastry. The world is your danish!
Puff Pastry Fruit and Cream Cheese Danish
- Sharp Knife
- Rolling Pin
- Mixing Bowl
- Baking Sheet
- Pastry Brush
- 1 Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry Thawed but still chilled.
- 4 Oz. Cream Cheese Room Temperature
- 2 Tbsp White Sugar
- ½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ Cup Fruit Topping See post for compote recipe; alternatively, use jam.
- 1 Egg White
- ½ Tbsp Milk
- 1 Tsp Demerara Sugar Or another finishing sugar (Optional)
- ⅓ Cup Powdered Sugar Optional; for a glaze.
- 1 Tbsp Milk Optional; for a glaze.
- Preheat your oven to 400℉.
- Prepare your dough. Unroll it and then lightly roll it out flat. Cut it into however many pieces you want your final danish count to be. Return to the fridge to keep chilled while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.
- In another bowl, beat together the egg white and milk.
- Using your knife, lightly score — but don't cut all the way through — around the edges of the pastry, about half an inch in. You're drawing a border; inside it will be your topping, and outside it will puff up.Use a fork to poke the center of the pastry to help prevent it from puffing up, leaving the border unmarred.
- Spread about 2 tsp of your cream cheese into the center of each danish (assuming you're doing 8 like I was. Adjust appropriately.)
- Spoon your fruit topping over the top of the cream cheese.
- Using your pastry brush, lightly brush the borders of the dough with the egg wash, and sprinkle with finishing sugar if you want.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed up and golden around the outside.
- Remove and let cool for at least 10 minutes before enjoying.
- Optional: Mix the remaining milk and powdered sugar into a simple glaze to drizzle over the danishes, or top with chopped almonds.