The following post is from Shaina of Food for My Family and Olmanson Photography:
Sweetened cream cheese, cinnamon-spiced apples, crispy pastry crust. There is nothing not to like about this recipe for danish squares.
There’s a turkey in the oven, right alongside a pan of au gratin potatoes, and when those are pulled out, sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole are patiently waiting in line to occupy the oven. The burners are full of simmering sauces. Pies have taken up residence on all available counter tops. The refrigerator is packed full of salads and jello molds and all of your favorites.
I always forget about the other meals on Thanksgiving Day. I sip my coffee as I prepare the meal, and sure enough, before I know it the little people in my house appear in the kitchen demanding to be fed, as if the anticipation of the meal to come isn’t enough to satiate them through the next eight hours.
Reluctantly, as I am prone to getting lost in the cooking of the main meal, I’ve learned that I need to make definite plans for the meals before the main event. Namely, breakfast.
These danish squares are easy, relying on a box of puff pastry to create the flaky layers. It’s my favorite cheat in the kitchen. I won’t use premade pie crust, but puff pastry is a regularly stocked staple. It’s easy to pull out and turn into something fantastic, be it a cheesy vegetable tart or a sweet and rich dessert. In this case it’s used as a breakfast pastry shell, filled with lightly sweetened cream cheese and plenty of apples. It’s like you hit the local bakery up, but instead, you just rolled out a bit of frozen dough and baked it the night before.
Pro tip: While you preheat the oven for the turkey, you can warm up the danish and serve it warm. Add fruit and coffee for a Thanksgiving breakfast worth waking up to.
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 5 cups sliced and peeled apples
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- flour for rolling
- 1 package puff pastry dough
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon cream
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whip together the cream cheese, ¼ cup granulated sugar, and the vanilla until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, toss the apples with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, the cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg.
- Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Roll out one sheet of puff pastry into a 15"x10" rectangle. Place on the parchment.
- Carefully spread the cream cheese onto the puff pastry, leaving 2" around the edges for sealing purposes. Top the cream cheese with the apples, spreading into an even layer.
- Roll out the second piece of puff pastry, making it slightly larger than the first. Place this piece over the apples. Press the corners to seal and trim any excess or jagged edges. Roll the edge slightly up towards the center.
- Make 5-7 2" long slices on the top of the pastry for venting. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cream. Brush the egg over the top of the pastry. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
|Shaina Olmanson is the freelance writer, photographer, and home cook behind Food for My Family. Cooking daily with and for her four kids and husband, Ole, drives her desire to inspire other families to do the same. Shaina is also the author of Desserts in Jars and contributes regularly to a variety of online sites and traditional print magazines.|