Danish Cheese Pockets

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    twelve

    3 inch 7 cm ) pastries

Appears in

These aren’t made from Danish pastry dough, but sugaring the puff pastry dough as you roll it makes it taste very similar. I don’t know if you’ve tried forming a pastry in which two opposite corners of a square are folded toward each other to meet over a filling—they usually open up while they’re baking and the result is anything but neat looking. These cheese pockets are baked in muffin pans, an idea that comes from my dear friend Flo Braker, author of the monumental baking book The Simple Art of Perfect Baking. Flo developed the idea of baking a small version of a pastry like this in mini-muffin pans, and the result is just perfect.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup sugar for rolling the dough
  • ¼ batch Instant Puff Pastry, or about 12 ounces (350 grams) prepared all-butter puff pastry

Cheese Filling

  • 12 ounces (350 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • cup golden raisins, optional
  • One 12-cavity muffin pan, very thickly buttered

Method

  1. Scatter about ¼ cup sugar on the work surface and place the Instant Puff Pastry dough on it. Sprinkle the dough with sugar and press it to soften, turning it 90 degrees and continuing to press, until the dough is soft enough to roll. Keeping the work surface and the dough lightly covered with sugar, roll the dough into an 11 × 15- inch (28 × 38-cm) rectangle. Slide the dough onto a cookie sheet or the back of a jelly-roll pan and chill it for about 15 minutes.
  2. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C).
  3. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese with the paddle in an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, one at a time, beating the filling smooth after each addition.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and use a sharp pastry wheel to cut it into twelve - inch (9-cm) squares. Ease a square of dough into one of the cavities in the muffin pan, pressing it well into the bottom and allowing the corners to remain open at the top. Fill the cup-shaped dough with about 2 tablespoons of the filling. Fold the corners of the dough into the center over the filling. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough and filling.
  5. Bake the pastries until they are deep golden (the sugar will caramelize beautifully) and the filling is set, about 20 minutes.
  6. Place the pan on a rack and carefully slide a small thin metal spatula under each pastry and remove it from the pan. If you let them cool in the pan, the caramelized sugar might make them stick. Cool the pastries on a rack.

Serving

These are perfect for brunch or tea.

Storage

Keep the pastries loosely covered at a cool room temperature on the day they are baked. They don’t freeze well.

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