Strawberries & Cream Danish – A cream cheese danish made with puff pastry and then topped with a strawberry and a glaze made with apple jelly. It’s the best addition to any breakfast or brunch!
My food cravings go in waves so this must be a breakfast one. But not to worry, everyone. I feel a chocolate wave coming and I am so ready to dive in headfirst. I’m looking at you, peanut butter stuffed brownies.
My husband put in a special request for cheese Danish, which I have never made before but always wanted to try. I started researching recipes and I found two kinds of Danish recipes: (1) ultra authentic recipes that required you to make an intricate dough and filling and (2) easy Danish recipes that used Pillsbury Crescent dough as a shortcut.
Neither of these sounded appealing to me. I did not want to spend hours in the kitchen making these Danish but I still craved a flaky, crispy pastry that I just didn’t get from the Pillsbury Crescent dough.
It was at that moment that I remembered valuable lesson from the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten: a great shortcut for pastry dough is frozen puff pastry sheets. You get the same buttery, flaky crust but without almost zero effort. Genius! This is exactly what I needed.
And look how amazing they turned out!
The recipe was so easy and so quick that you really don’t have to prep for it. Just rise and bake. This has become a new motto for me. I love recipes that I can literally wake up, decide I want a fancy breakfast, and make them right away. You just can’t do that with cinnamon buns.
Here are a few tips to help you make some amazing Danish:
- To keep the cream cheese from escaping the puff pastry square when baking, you need to make a “fence” on the inside of the square. To do this, trace a square on the inside of the pastry square, about 1/2 inch from the border. When the pastry begins to puff up while baking, the fence you made will begin to rise and push the cream cheese away from the edge and towards the center.
- Brushing an egg wash on the pastry is essential for getting that brown, shiny crust. To make an egg wash, all you need is one raw egg with 1 teaspoon of water, scrambled together. Then, you just brush that on the exposed dough. Simple as that!
- You must chill the pastries for 15 minutes before baking. The key to crispy, flaky crust is cold dough. If it’s too warm when you bake it, it won’t puff up as high so you won’t get those magical layers in the pastry.
- If you don’t want the strawberry, you can remove it and bake the Danish for the same amount of time. Just add a little bit more cheese filling before you bake.
Alright, now you know everything you need to know about these little beauties. Now, go make them for yourself and see how easy it is. Enjoy!
Here are all the kitchen tools and serveware that I used in this post. For each item that is sold, I receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting the brands that support CPA!
Recipe (adapted from the Barefoot Contessa):
Strawberries & Cream Danish
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry thawed
- 1 large egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
- 9 medium strawberries washed, hulled, and halved
- 1/2 cup apple jelly optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
- 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 mix until just combined. Don’t whip!
- Lightly flour a rolling pin and your working surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and gently roll it out until it is a 10 x 10 inch square. Cut the sheet into 9 squares. Place squares on one sheet pan. Create an inner square on the inside of each square by lightly pressing a knife about 1/2 inch from the edge. Repeat with second sheet of puff pastry.
- Place one heaping teaspoon of cream cheese into the center of each square. Put one strawberry half in the center of cream cheese within each pastry, cut side down. Note: if not putting strawberry, add 1/2 teaspoon of more cream cheese filling.
- Brush the edges of each filled pastry with the egg wash. Place the sheet pans in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Bake the pastries for about 15 minutes until golden brown, rotating the pans half-way through.
- Optional step: If you want to add an extra flair to the Danish, you can coat the filling with glaze. To do so, you must wait until the Danish is completely cool. Once they've cooled, place about 1/2 cup of apple jelly into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until liquefied. Brush the jelly over the strawberry and cream cheese filling until it's completely covered in a thin layer of jelly. Let it sit for a couple minutes and then serve.
- Pastries are best served immediately or same day. May get soggy if stored past 24 hours.