Thursday, October 16, 2008

Indulgent Breakfast Danishes with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese

I have a sneaking suspicion that somewhere in the world, danishes are much more delicious than the ones we get here (Denmark perhaps?). When I think of danishes, I think of early morning meetings, powerpoint presentations and large trays of soggy pastries, featuring apple and/or apricot danishes baked with a bit of custard. Not good at all. So when I saw that this week's Barefoot Blogger Challenge was to make cheese danishes, I felt that the challenge was laid down to come up with something better. Something that wouldn't remind me of a breakfast meeting.

The original recipe from The Barefoot Contessa features a cream cheese mixture baked in puff pastry. Since my personal tastes tend more to the savoury than the sweet, I decided to steal the traditional combination of smoked salmon and cream cheese, but dispense with the bagel and bake it in puff pastry. The original recipe was easily modified. I left out the sugar and vanilla, and added lemon juice as well as the zest. This was delicious and indulgent and would be terrific for a weekend brunch. If you want to cut your early morning cooking time, make the cream cheese mixture the night before, but make sure you assemble and bake them fresh. Definitely worth getting up for.

I halved the recipe below to make four generous danishes. Thanks to Val from More Than Burnt Toast for this choice - she has also posted the original recipe, so if you prefer sweet danishes, go check out her blog. You can see what the other Barefoot Bloggers came up with here.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Danish
adapted from "Barefoot Contessa at Home" by Ina Garten

250g cream cheese at room temperature
2 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tbls ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbl lemon juice
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
8 large (16 small) slices smoked salmon
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Poppy seeds to decorate

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a sheet pan with baking paper.
Place the cream cheese in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and cream on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don’t whip!

Place one sheet of pastry onto a lightly floured board. Cut the sheet into quarters. Lay a slice of smoked salmon (2 if they are small) on each square. Place a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese filling into the middle of each of the squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold two opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash, and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes to firm them up a bit.

Bake the puff pastries for about 20 minutes, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.


Debinhawaii said...

What a great idea to make them savory--they look so good. I love salmon and will have to try this (though I might throw on a caper or two!) Wonderful job!

Andrea said...

What a smart idea to try these savory, now you have me thinking of a cheesy mushroom Danish, mmmm! I went with apple cinnamon and my flavors would probably remind you of a business meeting, sorry, but I know those soggy icky pastries you are talking about and these turned out much better, really :)

Kirsten said...

I like your twist on the basic cheese danish. Not being a smoked salmon fan, yours still look beautiful. Nicely done.

chocolatechic said...

Wonderful savory idea.

I didn't fold mine right.

Prudy said...

Oh, you smart little cookie! Those look wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

Esi said...

Smoked salmon, I love it!! Smart thinking to make them savory

Judy said...

Your idea of using smoked salmon was wonderfully creative. What a great brunch these Danishes would make -- both sweet and savory and easy!

Tami said...

OH! I can't wait to try these! What a terrifically creative idea :) They're beautiful!!!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Your creativity to turn this sweet danish into a savory one is great! I find the sweet danishes you usually find inedible too.

Natashya said...

Savoury danish, great idea! Did you save me one?
I definitely want to try this.
ps, I was reading your post on Kylie Kwong - would you recommend her books? We used to get her shows sometimes in Canada. Haven't seen her lately, I hope she is in the fall line-up.

webbie said...

I love the idea of the smoked salmon. I love that stuff. But I am a fool for cheese danish so I went with sweet. They look great!

Misty said...

What a great idea!

Lisbeth said...

Hi Suzie. I came to your blog today via Whisk and since I'm Danish, I just have to comment on danishes in Denmark:
We are much more conservative than danish-bakers in Sydney. You definately won't find savory ones and even abricot and apple is stretching it. Of the classic 'Danish danish' only two varieties are found: custard or raspberry jam(or perhaps it's strawberry? But there is only one type of jam..). Of course you can find several other pastries but they are not danishes then. The Danish danishes *are* very yummy - if you like really sweat pastries of course; I personally prefer the custard ones.
Another curious thing: in the Danish language, danishes are called 'bread from Vienna'. It makes you wonder what they call them in Vienna?!

Natashya said...

Suzie, thanks so much for the info - I like big flavour, no such thing as too much spice!