Although this danish looks intimidating, it is actually very easy to make. You start off by using some store-bought puff pastry and the rest is very simple. The cream cheese mixture that is whipped up has a lovely taste from the lemon zest that goes in it. The apple slices are tossed in a cinnamon-sugar mixture and then piled on top of the cheese. It all gets braided up in the puff pastry and you let your oven do the rest! I ended up watching the video on how to cut and braid the puff pastry, it is linked below and I think you will find it very helpful. Out of your oven, comes a beautiful golden-brown, impressive pastry that will make your taste buds water. I love the feeling of my own kitchen yielding something that I could have bought at our local bakery, and knowing that it is made at home makes it that much better. The recipe below yields 2 danishes, but I ended up only making one. I was kicking myself for doing that once I tasted it, but honestly it is probably better that we had only one of these babies on the counter.
Apple Cheese Danish
Yield: 2 danishes
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoon ricotta
1 lemon, zest and juice used
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 small Gala apples or 1 medium one, peeled and cored
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 box of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
What you’ll do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, place the cream cheese, ricotta, lemon zest, vanilla, salt, 4 tablespoons of sugar and mix until smooth using a stand or hand mixer. Set aside.
Slice apples into 1/4 inch slices. In a small bowl, toss them with 1 tablespoon of sugar, cinnamon and juice from the one lemon. Set these aside as well.
Carefully unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry and roll slightly with a floured rolling pin until it’s about 1/4-inch in thickness. I created an 8 x 11 rectangle with mine. Transfer the sheet of puff pastry to a piece of parchment. At an angle, slice off the top corners and cut two notches in the bottom. Slice 1-inch strips diagonally down both sides of the puff pastry, leaving the center uncut for the filling. Try to cut the same amount of strips on both sides, I had about 10 strips on both sides. Add three tablespoons of cream cheese filling, spreading it evenly down the center of the puff pastry. Top with apple slices. To assemble, fold in the bottom and top flaps. Braid the puff pastry, by folding the strips over the filling, alternating sides, until you’ve worked your way down the puff pastry. Using your knife, trim off any extra dough. *
Transfer the danish with the parchment still underneath to a baking sheet, and brush top with egg wash. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until puffed up and golden brown.
Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.
While the danish is baking, mix confectioner’s sugar with heavy cream. Whisk together to remove any clumps. When the danish comes out of the oven, drizzle top with icing and serve warm.
*Adrianna suggested this video, I found it very helpful!
Source: barely adapted from A Cozy Kitchen