If you love freshly baked pastries, then you'll love this blueberry cheese Danish. Butter puff pastry is twisted into a classic Danish shape thanks to a clever method that is SO simple. The pastry is filled with a cheesecake style filling and topped with fresh blueberries finished with a glaze. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader and you definitely want to try this pastry folding method.
These blueberry cheese Danishes are one of the most delicious breakfasts that you can serve. Better still you can shape these and freeze them and then glaze, fill and bake them on the morning you want to eat them! If you don't like blueberries, you can add strawberries, cherries or apricots. You can also add an apple pie filling top them too. Or just leave them plain!
Tips For Making Perfect Blueberry Danish Pastries
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1 - I really recommend using butter puff pastry for these over the vegetable fat puff pastry. It is more expensive but the flavour is so, so much better.
2 - One sheet of puff pastry (around 20X20cm/8x8inches) makes 2 Danish pastries as you will double layer the pastry to get the risen edges.
3 - The cutting and folding technique is super easy. All you need is a paring knife. Cut the pastry into four squares. Place one square on top of another and then cut two L's through both layers of pastry on opposing corners. Lift up one corner and fold it over to the other corner and repeat. Then cut out the centre square so that the pastry is thinner in the centre. Dock the centre of the pastry with a fork. At this point you can cover and freeze them ready to bake.
4 - ALWAYS freeze your puff pastry before you bake it to ensure that it rises well. I made one batch without freezing them as I forgot and the sides were really quite flat once baked.
5 - When ready to bake your Danish pastries, fill them with cream cheese filling (like a cheesecake filling), glaze with egg yolk and bake. Once baked I top these with fresh berries and glaze them with apricot jam. You can also give them a little drizzle of white icing to give them that profesh look (or just sift icing sugar over them).
6 - If you like very sweet Danishes, then you can add a teaspoon of blueberry jam on top of the cheese before baking.
I'm convinced that fruit-wise, people fall into two categories: people that happily eat fruit and people that are really fussy about the fruit that they eat. I fall into the latter category. I'm that weird monkey that sizes up fruit and rejects it if it isn't sweet enough. Do you remember when blueberries were insanely expensive? I mean they're still not super cheap but they are comparatively inexpensive when in season. I also happen to love them if they're fresh but only if they're sweet. I have found smaller blueberries aren't as sweet as big ones and I've read that this is because they haven't been on the vine as long and haven't converted all the starch to sugar. It probably has something to do with the variety of blueberry too.
Nowadays I buy the bigger blueberries which are labelled as "sweeter" blueberries but they're often double or triple the price because of the time taken to grow. But sometimes if you look carefully you can find punnets with some big ones among the smaller ones especially if they're in season like they are now. I asked Mr NQN to stop by the shops on our way home so that I could buy some blueberries. I picked up punnets examining them closely - some were all tiny berries while others had at least half large blueberries. I took my time because I am not spending my money on tart berries and in that 3 minutes or so in which I selected 5 punnets of blueberries dozens of people had come and gone, quickly just grabbing a punnet or two.
This blew my mind. People are just buying blueberries without even looking at them!? Some would have grabbed the tiny, tart blueberries while others would have the sweeter ones! I returned to the car, cradling my 5 punnets of carefully selected blueberries. "Can you believe people are just grabbing a punnet of blueberries without examining them?" I said to Mr NQN. This did not go the way that I wanted and he looked at me like I was the alien!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you carefully examine the fruit that you buy?
Blueberry Cheese Danishes
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes plus 20 minutes freezing time
Cooking time: 18-20 minutes
Makes 8 large pastries
4 sheets butter puff pastry, thawed in the fridge
250g/8.8ozs cream cheese, softened
160g/5.6ozs caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
200g/7ozs fresh blueberries
Beaten egg for egg wash
For apricot and white glaze
1 tablespoon apricot jam mixed with 2 teaspoons hot water
1 cup icing or powdered sugar mixed with 2-3 teaspoons milk
Option: add a teaspoon of blueberry jam on top of the cheese layer if you like it very sweet.
Step 1 - Line 2 trays with parchment and make some space in your freezer for the two trays. Cut puff pastry into a twelve 10x10cm or 4x4inch squares. Working with two squares at a time (keep the rest of the pastry in the fridge), place one square on top of another. Then cut two L cuts deep through both layers of pastry in one motion for each L but not cutting all the way around.
Step 2 -Take one corner of the L and then place it on the opposite corner. Repeat with the opposite side of the pastry L. Lightly cut out a square in the centre just cutting through one layer and remove the square of pastry so that the centre just has one layer of pastry and save for another recipe. Dock the centre with a fork. Then place on a baking tray in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Step 3 -In the meantime make the cheese filling. Blend the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, lemon zest, vanilla and salt until you get a smooth texture creamy filling. Keep in the fridge until needed.
Step 4 -Preheat oven to 180C/350F fan forced. Remove pastry from freezer and spoon in the filling into the centre (do not overfill as the cream cheese will puff up). Brush edges with egg wash and bake for 18-20 minutes.
Step 5 -When ready, in one bowl mix the apricot jam with water to make the mirror glaze. In another bowl mix the icing sugar and milk to make the white glaze. Top the pastries with the berries and glaze with apricot jam glaze and then using a teaspoon drizzle the white glaze over the whole pastry. Serve warm.