You know that feeling when you’re lying in bed and you can smell fresh baking wafting up from the kitchen? Yeah, me neither. In my house, I’m the one whipping up delicious things first thing in the morning for my family members (and the occasional lucky houseguest) to enjoy. At least I get to taste the treats too, so that’s some small consolation. I have a bit of a weakness for breakfast pastries, fuelled in part by memories of daily trips to Parisian bakeries last time I was there. I love fruit-filled goodies like Danishes, but often find the store-bought ones way too sweet for my liking. This version is more fruit-forward and despite the length of the recipe, is quite easy to make thanks to packaged puff pastry. Best of all, you can assemble it the night before so when you get up, you simply move it from fridge to oven, have a peaceful cup of coffee or tea as it bakes, then get ready to accept your hero award from your adoring fans.
Cream Cheese Filling
In medium saucepan, combine strawberries and sugar; cook over medium heat stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved. Mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork until berries are broken down. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While berries are simmering, combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Whisk into strawberry mixture and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until completely cooled, about 30 minutes.
Make cream cheese filling by combining cream cheese, sugar, egg white, vanilla and flour in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
If baking the Danish immediately, preheat oven to 425F.
Prepare pastry by rolling out dough between two sheets of parchment paper to form a rectangle slightly larger than 8 x 10 inches. Place pastry, still resting on bottom sheet of parchment, on a baking tray, with the short (8 inch) side closest to you.
Starting at bottom right corner of pastry, using a sharp knife, cut 3-inch lines from the outside edges towards the centre of the pastry, about 1 inch apart. If strawberry filling is not yet cooled, refrigerate pastry until ready to assemble the Danish.
To assemble, spoon cream cheese filling down the centre of the pastry, in a line no more than 2 inches wide. Spoon strawberry filling over top of the cream cheese (it will spread a little wider but try to keep it on the uncut portion down the middle of the pastry.
Cover the berries by folding the strips of pastry over top, alternating left and right and overlapping slightly. The berry filling may peek out a bit, and that’s ok. At this point, you can cover the unbaked Danish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
When ready to bake, brush the top of the Danish with the egg yolk and water mixture. Put in oven (which you’ve preheated to 425F) and immediately reduce heat to 400F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pastry is a deep golden brown colour.
While pastry is baking, prepare glaze by whisking together icing sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Add a tiny bit more milk if glaze is too thick to drizzle.
After removing pastry from oven, let it cool for 15 minutes, then drizzle glaze over top. Cut into 4 – 6 portions and serve, then take your well-deserved bow.
In the unlikely event that you have leftovers, they can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 48 hours.