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Cranberry and Cheese Danish Cupcakes

When presented with a breakfast tray of pastries, I typically avoid the Danishes.  They are always huge and seem like they will cause a guaranteed food coma within the hour.  Secondly, while cupcakes, muffins, and cookies are still delicious at room temperature, cooled puff pastry always has that guy with too much hair gel feel to me. 

Most of us have experienced the joy of hot-out-of-the-fryer donuts (if you haven’t – get on it!). Hot-out-of-the-oven Danishes are a less common but equally magical experience. 

I made these single-serving Danish cupcakes with a cranberry cheese filling.  I got a bit carried away with the filling quantity.  I knew that it might cause exploding filling syndrome on some of the Danish cupcakes.  But, like a kid with a bowl full of Halloween candy and a tummy already aching, I couldn’t help myself.  I kept over-stuffing because I wanted to eat all of that filling!

If anyone refused to eat these hot bundles of buttery, cheesy, sweet, and tart joy because of a little extra filling creeping out the side, well then, more for me!

Cranberry and Cheese Danish Cupcake Recipe

This recipe is based on Barefoot Contessa’s Easy Cheese Danish

Yield: 12 cupcakes

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature (Reserve some of the egg whites to brush on top of the pastry.)
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cranberry jam (I used my homemade cranberry jam.  You could also use any other flavor of jam that you like.)
  • Most of a 14 ounce box of puff pastry (Use any leftovers to make croissants filled with chocolate!  I prefer to use Dufour puff pastry.)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  3. Slowly mix in the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, and jam until just combined.
  4. Prepare the danishes as shown below.
  5. Brush the tops with egg whites.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until they are puffed and just starting to brown.
  7. Serve hot!

How to Prepare the Danish Cupcakes

To prepare the danish cupcakes, you could just wrap some puff pastry around a glob (a heaping tablespoon) of filling, press to seal at the top, and then bake in a cupcake liner.  However, I wanted mine to have a braided effect.  You can decide for yourself whether it’s worth the effort.

Press a 3 1/2 inch square of puff pastry dough into a cupcake liner in a cupcake tin.  
Fill with a heaping tablespoon of filling, or less if you don’t like filling explosions.
Use kitchen scissors to cut two sides of the pastry square into small strips (4 or 5 strips on each side).

Here’s an overview of what this looks like.

Cross the top strip from one side over to the bottom of the other side.
Repeat with the top strip on the opposite side.
Keep alternating until you’ve reached the bottom of the cupcake.
Fold down the extra bits at the top and the bottom of the cupcake and press to seal.  If you have a lot of extra dough on the ends, trim it off.
Idea Credit
At the end of August, Sara Coba posted on the Cupcake Project wall that she wanted advice on making a Danish pastry cupcake. It took a while, but here it is.  
Do you have suggestions for me?  I can’t make them all, but I love to hear them and I may just give yours a whirl!
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