Saturday, July 14, 2012

Quick Apple Cheese Danish

I made this danish on a whim after craving something sweet that would also use up my purchase of too many apples and puff pastry. Result of my whim? LOVE! I simply love this recipe over and over again. I have made this danish about four times now in the last two months. It's addicting. REALLY addicting. 

If you love: Lemon, Cheese, Apples, Cinnamon, or Pastry, this danish will hit the spot in a fraction of the time it would take to make a complicated old fashioned one. 

As for the 'cheese' part of this danish, there are two kinds hidden in here, cream cheese and cheddar. I got the idea of adding the cheddar because I recently heard some people love a slice of apple pie with melted cheddar cheese on top! This is not 'cheesy' in that way, but sweet and tart from the baked apples and lemon. 

Quick Apple Cheese Danish                                   Makes 8 slices
1/2 package of puff pastry (8oz/250g)
1/2 c cream cheese
1 whole lemon, small
4 tbl granulated sugar
1-2 apples, any kind-the more tart, the better
2 oz? cheddar cheese (I measured by eye and used a piece the size of my thumb, thus the '?')
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon + a dash
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg + a dash
1 tbl white flour for dusting
1 egg

1.  Pre heat the oven to 420F or 220C OR whatever your Puff Pastry Package says to bake at! Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Take out your puff pastry out of the refrigerator and leave on the counter to soften while you make the filling.

Put 1/2 cup of cream cheese in a bowl, mix in 2 tbl of sugar, and zest of entire lemon. Cut lemon and add juice of one half, save the other half for later. Grate the cheddar cheese and join with the cream cheese, add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine until mixture is creamy and soft. Salt to taste.

 2. Cut your apples in half and core; I like to cut a 'V' shape out, it's quickest. Then peel the skin and slice to make arches, rainbows, semi-circle, crescents, etc...  I do not recommend you peel first then core, as the apple will be slippery and you may hurt yourself.

3. Place slices in a container, cover with remaining 2 tbl of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix and set aside. You can add the juice of the other half of your lemon if you want. Set aside.

4. Sprinkle flour on the work space and roll out puff pastry into a roughly 15x10 rectangle. I rolled my puff pastry the length of my cookie sheet and then as wide as it would go. I mean, you're smart people, you can figure it out without using a ruler. Just eyeball it. Don't make it complicated.

5. Using your thumb, start from the side and mark in on the left then right, measure down and mark on both sides of the pastry, cut a diagonal obtuse angle and remove. I scored a little to make my angles as even as possible. You want to end up with sort of a head in the center.

Then using your thumb again for measurement, cut diagonal lines all the way down the pastry. You can cut off the tips of longer braids, but that is just wasteful and the pastry looks good no matter what.

6. Carefully spread your filling down the middle of the pastry and layer the apple slices on top.

Now, Braid! 
Fold down the top pastry flap, then fold one side over the filling, alternating each side to make a pretty braid.

7. Move your danish carefully to your prepared pan. Mix an egg and give the whole thing an egg wash to make it golden brown. Bake 20-25 minutes.

8. Enjoy warm for breakfast or as dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 282 calories per slice