Thursday, August 16, 2012

Easy cheese danish

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I've entered the final countdown (and yes, the song from the Rocky movie keeps playing in my head). Less than 30 days until my new baby arrives and just 17 days of work. The bathroom and laundry room renovations are done with the exception of the glass shower, but that should be installed early next week. Painters finished this morning so I can reassemble the second floor of my house over the next few days. Then I can focus on the baby...

In the meantime, I've got a freezer stocked with a fair number of quick dinners. I still have to throw together a big batch of Bolognese, but that'll be done soon... While stocking my freezer, I found some things I wanted to use up, including a package of puff pastry. These easy cheese danish were a perfect treat. I assembled them the night before and then just popped the baking sheet in the oven in the morning. My husband claims he prefers them to the ones from our favorite local bakery... impressive! Next time, I might try adding a little fruit as well, maybe some raspberry preserves...

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Easy Cheese Danish
adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 Tbsp.sugar
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg white beaten with a splash of water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan 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 yolk, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip!

Unfold 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. 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. Refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes or overnight.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.

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