Remember when snow days felt like something special? A day off from school, a pretend “sick” day from work so you could build a snowman. Now in the time where days seem to have no meaning or distinction from one another, a snow day probably feels like one more inconvenience. There’s one thing that could make this snow day a little better: a cheese danish.
It feels a million years ago, but back in 2017 I worked on Patricia Heaton’s cookbook. People always ask what recipes are my favorite, and while it’s never an easy question to answer, there are certainly some I love deeply—any kind of cheese danish falls into that category.
Growing up in Brooklyn, danishes were a part of breakfast life. Cheese danishes were always my weakness, and I usually stuck to just cheese, no fruit. With the right homemade filling, or a good quality store-bought jam, though, fruit cheese danish is a serious contender.
What kind of fruit should you use in a cheese danish?
That’s totally up to you! I’m sharing the apple cheese danish recipe I developed for Patty’s cookbook but you can use any fruit you want for that layer (the photo at the beginning of this post is a raspberry version). I’ve skipped the apples and used my homemade raspberry jam. I bet apricot jam would be amazing.
On the store-bought jam note, Bonne Maman is a reliable go-to when I’m doing development for a project. Their jams contain all the same real ingredients I use when making my own homemade jams (this isn’t a sponsored post, but I’d be more than happy to work with Bonne Maman if they’re reading this!).
This cheese danish uses puff pastry instead of a yeasted dough.
The cheese danishes I grew up eating were yeast-based doughs. That’s what you’ll find as the base for a lot of danish recipes (like this couronne recipe). I’ve patience for some things but when it comes to cheese danish I want them in under an hour, and that’s just not a reality with yeasted doughs. My solution is to use puff pastry for a cheese danish that can be made pretty quickly for a morning treat instead of a weekend baking project.
Do you need to make your own puff pastry to make this raspberry cheese danish?
I’ll fill you in a secret. I love making rough puff pastry (click here for my recipe) but sometimes I just want to fulfill a craving without having to recreate the wheel. You know what I mean? In those moments, store-bought puff pastry gets the job done, and I keep a package of good-quality puff pastry (read: no junky ingredients) in my fridge at all times for when I need an easy shortcut. The old Jennie of a decade ago would’ve turned her nose up to this idea. Life and time teach you a lot, and a shortcut, store-bought item isn’t going to kill anyone. Moderation, right?
How do I fold cheese danish in a criss cross pattern?
Getting the fold right takes practice. Don’t be hard on yourself if the first few cheese danish you make come out scraggly-looking. It happens to the best of us (myself included!). I’m including photos from the cookbook that show the process.
Can I freeze cheese danish?
This recipe yields two full-size cheese danish. You can bake one right away, and freeze the second one without baking it if you want. Set the danish on a waxed paper lined pan in the freezer until firm. Then wrap the Danish tightly in plastic film. Bake it straight from the freezer, no need to thaw, for 35 minutes (10 minutes more than the freshly made one). In this case you’ll only need a half batch of icing for each danish.
You can also freeze the baked cheese danish, using the same method as above. Just don’t ice it. Let the danish thaw overnight in the fridge. When ready to enjoy, warm it in a 350ºF oven and ice before serving.
Apple Cheese Danish
- 2 granny smith apples peeled, cored & thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- Pinch of sea salt
- Zest & juice of 1 lemon
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 large egg separated
- 1 ¼ cups Confectioner’s sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 sheets puff pastry thawed
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- Preheat the oven 400ºF. Line an 11-inch by 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the apples, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and lemon zest & juice in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the cream cheese, egg yolk, ¼ cup Confectioner’s sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir with a fork until well blended. Set side.
- Beat the egg white with a splash of water. Set aside.
- Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured countertop. Roll the dough into a 10-inch by 12-inch rectangle. Snip off the two top corners at an angle. Cut two notches at the bottom of the dough (see photo). Cut 1-inch diagonal strips on the right third of the dough. Repeat this on the left third of the dough.
- Spread half of the cream cheese filling down the center of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border at the top and bottom.
- Spread half of the apple filling over the cream cheese filling.
- Fold over the top and bottom pieces of dough over the filling. Fold the strips of dough in a criss cross pattern to make a mock braid covering the filling. When you get to the last strip, dab a bit of the egg white underneath to keep it secure. Lightly brush the danish with the egg wash. Repeat steps 5 though 8 with the remaining sheet of puff pastry, filling, and cream cheese mixture.
- Place the danishes on the prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, and the filling is bubbling, about 25 minutes.
- Combine the remaining cup of Confectioner’s sugar, butter, and vanilla with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle the icing over each Danish. Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving, so the filling can settle and the icing can set.