Barefoot Contessa’s Easy Cheese Danish


Jim loves his sweets, and anything baked is at the top of his list. I’ve been telling him I was going to make these danishes for awhile now, and was glad when we finally had a nice and easy going Saturday morning where I could whip them up and we could enjoy fresh pastry with our breakfast. This recipe makes 8 large pasties, but could easily be changed to make double the amount of “half pint” danishes, or you could do like we did, and bake up just a couple, and save the filling for later use. The seal of approval from Jim on anything homemade that we could run to the store and buy is if he gives the nod for them to be made again . . . these got the nod.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 extra-large Egg Yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest, grated (about 2 lemons)
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

*Optional: 8 tsp Preserves (I used Raspberry)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400⁰. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. 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!
  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. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. If using the preserves, top the cheese filling with about 1 tsp for each Danish. 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. 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.
  4. Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.
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