I've been so busy at work, that I've had no time to cook-- let alone to blog about anything at all. I work at a public high school, and it's registration time, and that means that I am racing non-stop. I have so many of my favorite blogs to visit, so I'll catch up within a week. I doubt my work pace will slow down until mid-August, so I might be a little scarce. I miss all of you, and I miss having the time and energy to be in my kitchen.
I did want to share with you an easy recipe I made last weekend. I'm not kidding about this being easy and versatile! It's not a low-fat recipe but once in a while, I crave a fresh cheese Danish pastry. I watched Ina Garten make this on Food Network a couple of weeks ago, and I decided this would make a nice breakfast treat with a cup of dark roast coffee. Wow! This is delicious!
Fortunately, I have recently overcome my fear of working with puff pastry. There's no mystery to it at all, folks. There are two ways I defrost puff pastry-- I either remove it from the freezer and cover it with a damp paper towel and wait about 30 minutes. Or, I put the box of puff pastry in the fridge (overnight) and I'm ready to go in the morning.
With this recipe, there's no rolling pin required. Just cut each sheet into four squares (be sure to flour your surface) and parchment paper makes life a lot easier.
The week before I made the Cheese Danish, I decided to use some of my homemade jams to make a simple puff pastry turnover. I decided to play around with different ways of folding puff pastry. I wanted to play with the sparkling white sugar I had recently ordered from King Arthur Flour...
The following week, I decided to make the cheese filling for Ina's Easy Cheese Danish Recipe. I decided to follow the advice from many comments about this recipe. The suggestion was to make the cheese filling the night before, because other comments said that the filling was too runny if not allowed to chill properly. The filling consists of cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest. I also used one lemon, instead of two because reviewers said the lemon was a little overpowering. Before bed, I removed a box of puff pastry from the freezer and put it into the fridge to thaw.
The next morning, I was glad that I chilled the filling. It was delicious and not too lemony.
I filled the puff pastry with the cream cheese filling, and used an egg wash to seal the pastry. I had almost made raspberry jam, so I decided to see what would happen if I added some jam on top of the cream cheese filling...
Each pastry got a sprinkling of sparkling white sugar and was baked at 400F for about 20 minutes.
The plain cheese danish looked beautiful...
The raspberry jam kind of oozed over the edges and didn't look very photogenic. I think I didn't seal some of the flaps well, so they came apart. In retrospect, I should have folded it differently, since the jam is much thinner. Still, these tasted great! Overall, my personal favorite is the plain cheese-- but take your pick... just jam, just cheese or both!
Once again, Ina has given a simple recipe that I will use again and again. I think it would be easy to make these the night before and then when you wake up, just pop them into the oven.
These are a special treat, and they really are very easy to make. Your guests will think you are a genius. Your secret is safe with me.