Made with homemade Danish pastry (puff pastry instructions are included), this Cream cheese Danish recipe with cream cheese filling and fresh strawberries is a buttery and flaky treat you can make for breakfast or your coffee break.
Why you should try this recipe
It’s versatile. You can make these cream cheese Danishes from scratch at home using my Danish pastry recipe or buy puff pastry to save some time. You can use whatever berry you like or skip them, making a plain cream cheese Danish recipe.
Not overly sweet. These buttery pastries are perfectly sweetened so you can fully enjoy the other flavors that are present in these baked goods.
Ingredients you will need
Danish pastry – Check out my Danish pastry recipe to learn everything you need to know about this amazing, flaky dough. Otherwise, use a puff-pastry sheet to make very easy cream cheese Danishes.
Cream cheese – I use cold Original Philadelphia cheese.
Sugar – Of course, we will need powdered sugar for the filling so it will melt easily and combine with cream cheese within a minute.
Lemon zest – I think fresh lemon zest is a good touch to your cream cheese filling, no matter what berry you use. Lemon will go well with blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Additionally, you can add a little bit of fresh lemon juice to intensify the flavor.
Vanilla – Add one teaspoon of vanilla extract to your cream filling.
Berries – As I mentioned previously, you can choose whatever berries you like or skip them altogether. I like to make strawberry cream cheese Danishes, so I cubed my strawberries (you can slice them if you like) and placed them on top of the cream cheese pillow before baking.
Egg wash – Use egg yolk and milk to make the egg wash for brushing.
Let your cream cheese Danishes proof before baking. Once your dough is ready and you’ve rolled out the slab, cut it according to the instructions and assemble it. After that, you need to let your future cream cheese Danish squares proof at room temperature. The time will depend on how warm your kitchen is, so I usually wait until the dough becomes visually puffy and tender. If your kitchen is too warm, you want to keep one batch in the fridge while the first is proofing. When you pop the first batch in the oven, take your second batch out to finish proofing at room temperature.
If you use frozen puff pastry sheets, don’t proof your pastries before baking. No need to wait for the puff-pastry to rise, because it won’t. There’s no yeast inside for that! However, you need to let the pastry roll soften a bit before unrolling it so it won’t break. Once you unroll it, let it relax for 10 minutes at room temperature. Then, you can cut, assemble, and bake your cream cheese puff pastry Danishes.
Step by step directions
1. Preheat the oven to 190C (370F) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If you use puff pastry, follow the baking temperature and time mentioned on the package.
2. Whisk together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
3. Cut your pastry sheet into twelve 3” by 3” (8cm by 8cm) squares. Prick the center, where the filling will be, with the fork several times.
4. Spread around 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each square.
5. Arrange strawberry cubes on top. I used 3-4 slices per portion.
6. If you use my Danish pastry, cover arranged squares with plastic wrap and let them proof for 20-40 minutes at room temperature or until puffy before baking. If you use puff pastry, bake right away.
7. Brush exposed pastry corners with egg wash and bake one sheet at a time for 16-18 minutes or until deep golden and puffed up.
Add some jam – Instead of fresh berries, you can top your cream cheese cream with the jam of your choice.
Make a savory cream cheese Danish recipe – Cut larger pastry pieces (3” by 6” or 8cm by 16 cm). Use plain cream cheese and whisk it to soften. Then, spread it on top of your pastry rectangles and top it with blanched asparagus, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
Toppings – After you brush your pastries with the egg wash, you can go ahead and sprinkle on some granulated sugar or nib sugar so it sticks. It will add sweetness to your dessert and make it look more interesting. You can also make a simple sugar glaze and drizzle it on top of slightly warm Danishes right before serving.
They taste best when they are still warm from the oven, but you can store them in paper bags at room temperature for up to two days.
Yes, you can freeze them for up to 2 months, but pastries thawed and warmed up in the oven will never taste the same as freshly-made ones. The texture won’t be the same. So, I would recommend cutting Danish pastry dough into squares and flash freezing them. Then, transfer them into a Ziplock bag with pieces of parchment paper in between. Keep them in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge until softened. Then, assemble, proof, and bake to have delicious cream cheese Danishes.
Yes! In fact, a crescent roll is the best dough you can buy to make easy Danishes.
More recipes you may like
Cream cheese Danish
- Parchment paper
- Pizza Cutter or a long sharp knife
- Pastry brush
- 1 batch Danish pastry or use one 9”x 14” (23cm by 36cm) sheet store-bought puff pastry
- 150 g cream cheese cold
- 40 g powdered sugar
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 150 g fresh strawberries you can use any berry you like or skip adding them
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Preheat the oven to 190C (370F) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If you use puff pastry, follow the baking temperature and time mentioned on the package.
- In a bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Place the filling into a piping bag and cut off the end. Or you can spoon the filling right on top of your pastry squares.
- Cut your Danish pastry (if you use store-bought puff pastry, thaw it until softened first) into twelve 3” by 3” (8cm by 8cm) squares. Prick the center, where the filling will be, with the fork several times.
- Spread around 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each square.
- Arrange strawberry cubes on top. I used 3-4 slices per portion.
- If you use my Danish pastry, cover arranged squares with plastic wrap and let them proof for 20-40 minutes at room temperature or until puffy before baking. If you use puff pastry, bake right away.
- Whisk the egg yolk and milk in a bowl and brush on exposed pastry corners. Bake one sheet at a time for 16-18 minutes or until deep golden and puffed up.