These Easy Cherry Cream Cheese Danish are simple enough to make for a weekend but special enough to command center stage at your next brunch!
Sure, I like to bake, and I can hold my own, but there are soooo many other crazy talented bakers out there that put my efforts to shame. That said, I can knock these Easy Cherry Cream Cheese Danish out of the park! My secret? Frozen puff pastry dough. Cut the dough into quarters, fill with cream cheese and cherry jam, and you have a breakfast or brunch star that makes you look like a professional.
Don’t be intimidated by the puff pastry called for in this recipe; it’s simple to work with here. “Real” bakers probably make their own puff pastry, but you can buy a darn good product in the freezer section at the store. Simply defrost a bit until you can unfold it and place it on parchment or a silpat. Crack the seam a bit? Run your fingers under a bit of water and smooth the break until it comes back together. The dough really is as forgiving as that.
These Easy Cherry Cream Cheese Danish can be easily made in stages if you’re short on time or don’t really want to get up at the crack of dawn to make the magic happen. Make the filling and the icing a couple of days in advance. You can even roll out and cut the puff pastry pieces the night before and keep them tightly covered in the fridge so all you have to do is assemble and bake the next day.
This danish recipe is super versatile, too. Not a cherry fan? Use any number of different jam flavors to make it yours. (Pie fillings work great, too.) Whatever flavor you choose, your guests are going to be super impressed by your baking skills.
Easy Cherry Cream Cheese Danish
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons cherry jam (optional)
- 2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk (plus more if needed)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Set aside.
- Place cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl. Cream together with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Add egg yolks, ricotta cheese, vanilla and salt and gently mix until just combined. Set aside.
- Whisk together egg and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll a sheet of puff pastry out about an inch on all sides so it measures around 10 x 10 inches. Cut pastry sheet into quarters and place pastry squares on parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet. Spoon a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture into the center of each pastry square, followed by a heaping teaspoon of jam (optional). Gently brush the egg wash around the border of the pastry squares. To make a turnover-style Danish, fold each pastry in half completely and seal edges FIRMLY together (or else the filling will ooze out during baking). Brush top of Danish with more egg wash. To make an open-faced Danish, fold two opposite corners of the pastry together and firmly press the corners together on top of the cream cheese/jam mixture. Brush top of Danish with egg wash. Repeat with remaining sheet of puff pastry. Refrigerate unbaked Danish for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake Danish for 18-22 minutes or until flaky and golden brown. Cool slightly and serve warm. Drizzle with icing if desired.
- Whisk together butter and powdered sugar in a small bowl and add enough milk to make it smooth. Drizzle on warm danish.
You will have cream cheese mixture left over. I froze the extra filling without any problem.