I think one of my new found hobbies of this quarantine has been recreating my favorite snacks that I find at the coffee shops! There’s something really satisfying about making something at home that you definitely made $10 for at the coffee shop.
So far, I’ve made a Cheese Danish, Madeleines, and Vanilla Bean Scones. Those have all been super amazing, but I wanted to incorporate some fruit into a pastry! A little sweet, a little healthy, and a whole lot of deliciousness.
The braid is this part is totally optional! You can make these just like my Cheese Danish, spoon a little cream cheese mixture onto a square of puff pastry, top with some raspberries, and bake in the oven. However, if you think braiding your hair is fun, it’s got nothing on braiding pastry! Or maybe that’s just my opinion since I can’t braid my own hair…
I used raspberries because I really love their sweet tanginess, however, you can also use whatever berries you prefer. I added a little bit more sugar to my cream cheese mixture because I noticed that my raspberries were rather tart, so I wanted to help balance that out! If you are using blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, or another berry, make sure to try a few, so you know how much sugar to add. If they’re already pretty sweet, I would only have 3 tablespoons; if they’re more tart, stick with a quarter cup!
One package of cream cheese, room temperature
Half a tablespoon of lemon juice
Half a teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 cup of sugar, plus more to sprinkle on the pastry
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 whole egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1 package of thawed puff pastry
2 packages of raspberries
To begin, whip the cream cheese together with the lemon juice and zest, 3 tablespoons of sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, and the egg yolk. Whip until all the ingredients are combined and light and fluffy.
Take the puff pastry and lay on a cutting board dusted with flour. Roll out into a rectangular shape. I like to make three light marks on the dough, marking the dough into thirds. Don’t cut all the way through the dough, this is to help guide you as you begin braiding. You want the thirds to be marked lengthwise. You want to leave a little overhang of dough that you can tuck the filling in before you start braiding, so cut a think triangle of dough off the top and bottom of the dough (Pictured below). Then, cut thin strips on one-third of the dough, make the strips about half an inch in thickness. Continue onto the other side as well. You want the middle third to be untouched, but the two sides have strips.
Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the middle section. I like to place the cream cheese mixture into a piping bag and pipe the mixture into the center, but you could just use an offset spatula to spread the mixture as well! Then, place the raspberries on top!
To start braiding, take the little flap of dough and fold onto the raspberries. Take a strip from the left side and pull it over the raspberries, making sure the dough covers the flap of dough on top and reaches over the other side. Grab a strip from the other side and place that under the first strip. Continue down the pastry, alternating between each side until you get to the last three strips at the bottom. Fold the bottom flap of dough onto the raspberries, and then finish the braid.
Create an egg wash with one egg and splash of water. Then, brush the tops of the pastry with the egg wash. Sprinkle over a little bit of sugar, about half a tablespoon. Then, place on a lined baking sheet. Place in a 400-degree preheated oven and bake for 25-35 minutes. You want the dough to be puffed up and golden brown on the top!
Allow to cool slightly when finished! You can top with powdered sugar, or enjoy as is!
I love how creamy and delicious this filling is which pairs perfectly with the tart raspberries and the crunchy puff pastry! I could seriously eat this whole braid without feeling bad about it! Who says sharing is caring?!