14 Oct 2010 Cheese Danish, just like those in the fancy bakery!

My daughter, who shall remain nameless (so I don’t embarrass her, HA!), has a crazy crush on a French exchange student. It’s one exchange student in particular, but there are about thirty others she’s crazy about if this one doesn’t work out.  Her roommates bragged to the French students about my nameless daughter’s cooking skills.  They told the French students she can make cakes, she can make cookies, she can make Rice Krispie treats… Then one of the Frenchmen looked at her and whispered, in a very excited voice, with that wonderful French accent, “Can you make pastries?”  She answered, “Sure!”  Then she flew home (a two hour drive) to learn how to make pastries!  She succeeded, too, she took back with her a large Glazed Fruit Tart, a dozen  Cheese Danish and, being a first generation American teen, a big tray of Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.  I haven’t heard from her since, but she has been posting on Facebook how very wonderful her life is and how much fun she is having…

Abby (Oops! Blew her cover) found many pastry recipes on line.  She printed out about a dozen, and made this one.  Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.  Winner, winner, winner, winner, winner.  Ina Garten rocks!  I wish I had known how easy these were to make years ago.  I could have wowed so many people!  But never mind, I am going to start wowing them NOW!

These are so easy to make.  Really.  Easy.  And they are beautiful.  And delicious. And impressive.

Abby followed the recipe for the first time, and made  four pastries with one sheet of puff pastry.  We decided the pastries were wonderful, but a bit too big, so she cut smaller squares, and made 8 pastries with the second sheet of puff pastry.  I have left the directions as she originally found them, but feel free to cut the pastry into  smaller squares.  We found the quantity of the filling to be more than adequate, so no need to skimp!

Ina Garten’s Cheese Danish

8 oz. of cream cheese, at room temperature (if you are in a hurry, soften slightly in the MW)
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Ricotta or Mascarpone cheese (we used Mascarpone)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
grated zest of one lemon
1 box (2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Sprinkling of raw sugar  (optional)
Sprinkling of powdered sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.

With an electric mixer,  cream the cream cheese and sugar together.  Reduce the speed to low and stir in (don’t beat or whip) egg yolks, ricotta or mascarpone, vanilla, salt and lemon zest.

Unfold the defrosted puff pastry and roll out, on a lightly floured board, to a 10 x 10 inch square (approximately).  Cut sheet into quarters (or smaller, see note above).

Brush border of each pastry square with egg wash, and then place one tablespoon of filling into the center of each square.  Fold the 2 opposing corners together over the filling.  Squeeze the pasty corners together so they stick. Brush pastry with egg wash.  Sprinkle lightly with raw sugar (if desired)

Place pastries on prepared pan.  Refrigerate pastries on the prepared pan for 15 minutes to re-chill the puff pastry.

Remove pastries from refrigerator and place in a preheated 400° oven for 20 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown.  Rotate the pan once during baking time.

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, just before serving. These are even good the next day!

It’s nice to be back in the kitchen. THANKS for stopping by.  Now I have a new camera, there shouldn’t be any more two week breaks!

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9 Responses
  1. Hannah says:

    I was able to test the sole remaining one of these. Really GOOD–and the one I ate was two days old and slightly deformed! My two year old demanded I share with him. He was very demanding of his share. He liked it A LOT.

  2. sharon says:

    Cheese danishes are my guilty pleasure but I’ve never considered making them myself! We get our new oven tomorrow – yeah! – so this recipe may be a good way to try it out over the weekend!

    • Polly says:

      I hadn’t ever considered making them either….but I should have. They are sooooo EASY, and delish. I hope you do try them out.

  3. Sue Martin says:

    I think the pastries sound delicious and can’t wait to try them. But, I’m dying to hear how Abby’s new French exchange student boyfriend is doing? Surely they were lining up to ask her out after this! : D

    • Polly says:

      I just talked to her tonight…she had to call to tell me she had the best night of her entire life (the third call like that this semester!!). She went to the mall and then to In-and-Out-Burger with three Frenchmen…

  4. Polly says:

    Best pastries ever!!

  5. abby says:

    If you are ever trying to win over a french man, definitely give these a try ;).

  6. Sharon Marcacci says:

    Made these last night. They were easy! (The filling is so good I could have eaten it up and skipped making the pastries.) The first batch I was too impatient to put in the fridge for the 15 minute cooling off period. The second batch did go in the fridge. And surprise surprise, the second batch came out better – at least, were more aesthetically pleasing (the “pinches” on the first batch came undone and they spread out a lot more), but both batches were totally yummy. I’m taking some to work today and think people will be amazed I made them myself! I’ll definitely make these again – for Christmas morning maybe?

    • Polly says:

      My thoughts exactly…about amazing people with our baking skills, and making them again for Christmas morning. Sooooo much easier than cinnamon rolls!

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