Who knew homemade danishes were so easy!? These Fresh Strawberry and Cream Cheese Danishes are so much better than store-bought, and a cinch to make with flaky, crispy frozen puff pastry dough.
I might have gone overboard this weekend. It’s like a compulsion. Once I start, my competitive streak hits, and nothing can stop me…
…and that is how we ended up with nearly 13 pounds of strawberries when we went strawberry picking at Harvold’s Berry Farm.
As we were picking, I was game planning what I was going to make with them all. Jam, obviously. Then there was strawberry ice cream and pie, and freezing strawberries for later. And, of course, these fresh Strawberry and Cream Cheese Danishes.
I went back to my tried-and-true recipe for simple puff pastry danishes, which means no fussing with waiting for dough to rise and homemade danishes ready to eat in well under an hour. Simply roll and cut the puff pastry, top it with sweetened cream cheese and fresh berries, and bake to flaky perfection.
Is Puff Pastry the Same as Phyllo Dough?
No, puff pastry isn’t the same as phyllo dough, so make sure you buy puff pastry for this recipe! Puff pastry is made with butter, while phyllo dough is made with oil; both are flaky, but puff pastry is also rich and buttery.
What You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own cream cheese danishes at home!
- Puff pastry dough – You’ll need to roll this out, so it has to be thawed before you start the recipe.
- Cream cheese – The cream cheese also needs to be soft so it’s easy to work with.
- Vanilla extract
- Almond extract
- Fresh strawberries – Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, sliced peaches, and other seasonal fruit can be substituted or used in addition to the strawberries.
- Egg wash – Whisk together one egg with two tablespoons of water.
What is a good substitute for almond extract?
If you have nut allergies or simply don’t have almond extract on hand, you might be wondering if you really need it for this recipe. The answer is no! You can simply use more vanilla extract.
That said, almond extract is pretty magical. I definitely recommend picking up a bottle and keeping it on hand for baking. It’s a great swap for vanilla in clafoutis, whipped cream, and so many other desserts.
How to Make Fresh Strawberry and Cream Cheese Danishes
This recipe is perfect for a weekend morning! Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner. In a small bowl, gently toss the strawberries and corn starch.
Roll out the puff pastry. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 12×9″ rectangle.
Cut the puff pastry dough. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, yielding two 4-½” strips, then cut those two strips crosswise into thirds, to yield six 4×4 ½” pieces. With a knife, score a ½” border around the edge of each piece of puff pastry. Use a fork to make five or six pricks into the dough within the border of each piece to keep the center from rising when baked.
Make the filling. In another bowl, stir together the softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts.
Assemble. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling into the center of each piece of dough and spread it evenly within the scored borders. In the middle of the cream cheese, add a couple of spoonfuls of strawberries.
Bake. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes on the middle rack and rotate the baking sheet half way through baking.
Cool. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Serve the danishes warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or shaved chocolate before serving.
Tips for Success
I make puff pastry danishes a lot! Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years:
- Make sure the fruit is super dry. After washing the strawberries, set them on paper towels or pat them dry. This will keep your danishes from getting soggy.
- Don’t forget to thaw the puff pastry! It’s best to thaw puff pastry in the refrigerator, so if you plan on making danishes in the morning, simply pop the puff pastry in the fridge before you go to bed the night before.
- Don’t over-roll. Puff pastry is made with thin layers of pastry and butter; if you use too much pressure when you’re rolling it out, you’ll smash together these delicate layers and your pastry won’t get puffy and flaky.
How to Store
These danishes are best enjoyed the same day they’re made, but you can store them in the refrigerator for a day if you have leftovers.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
This is not a recipe that stands up well to freezing and thawing. The strawberries will release too much liquid, resulting in a watery cream cheese filling and soggy puff pastry