Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Danish Day!

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"So you guys had a fight, big deal. You know you're gonna make up anyway, and what better day to make up than Danish Day, the happiest of all days. The day when we all say, 'hey, let's forgive and forget over a nice Danish and a cup coffee." - Rory (Gilmore Girls)

Gilmore Girls is one of my all-time favorite tv shows. My friend Ruthie and I regularly refer to it as comfort food for our eyes. This past weekend I decided to take on the challenge of puff pastry and make danishes. I didn't make the pastry by hand because it would take an insane amount of work and also Ina Garten uses frozen puff pastry dough and if it's good enough for her - it's definitely good enough for me! Maybe someday I'll take on the challenge of making the pastry dough from scratch, but not anytime soon!

Below is Ina's recipe for Easy Cheese Danish. It is really simple and delicious - I doubled the recipe, added a small scoop of raspberry jam on top of the cheese filling in a few of the danishes and both versions were yummy.

Ina Garten's Cheese Danish

- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
- 2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Thaw out the puff pastry (about 45 minutes before using). Combine 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 the mixture, you want it nice and creamy not light and fluffy.

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. This is also where you can add a small scoop of jam or fruit filling to the cheese if you like.

4. 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 danishes for 15 minutes.

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

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