After making the easy cheese danish, I still had an extra box of puff pastry and some apples to play with. I decided to make another cheese danish and added some sweeted apples to the mix for another variation. Instead of making small danishes, I opted for a large one filled with the same cheese mixture and apples that I sauteed with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. The result was outstanding and it was a big hit at my husband's office!
recipe inspired by Ina Garten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 firm apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Cheese mixture: (you will only need half of this mixture for this danish)
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
For garnish: powdered sugar
In a saute pan, melt the butter.
Toss the remaining apple mixture ingredients except in a large bowl. Place the apple mixture in the saute pan and cook until apples are softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool; set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip!Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. Transfer the puff pastry onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
Place half of the cheese filling down the middle of the puff pastry square.
Place the cooled apple mixture over the cheese filling down the middle of the puff pastry square.
Brush the border of the pastry with egg wash and fold the sides of the puff pastry square over the filling so the sides overlap.
Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.
Bake the pastry for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.
To garnish, sprinkle with powdered sugar.