It is high rhubarb season here in Northern Indiana where Rebecca and I are spending these last weeks of her pregnancy. Since rhubarb is something we can't find in Haiti, Rebecca has been doubling down on it while we are here. We eat rhubarb strawberry jam on our toast, in yogurt, and as a topping for ice cream. We make batch upon batch of rhubarb strawberry jam bars, and of course many a rhubarb cream pie. These Simple Rhubarb Danishes are easy (for a pastry), delicious, and elegant -- great for a crowd, or in scaled down version for a weekend breakfast.
Yield: 32 small danishes
- 1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, thawed at room temperature for 30 min to 1 hour (note you will want to by the best puff pastry you can find, since the quality will dramatically impact the flavor and moistness of the finished pastries).
- 2 cups finely diced fresh rhubarb
- 1 cup sugar
Cream cheese filling:
- 8oz cream cheese
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- pinch kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- In a medium bowl, combine finely diced rhubarb and sugar. Allow to sit and macerate while you prepare other ingredients. The sugar will pull water out of the rhubarb. Strain the rhubarb through a fine mesh strainer and discard the liquid prior to using the rhubarb (otherwise your danishes will be soggy).
- In another medium bowl, combine the cream cheese filling ingredients (cream cheese, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and salt). Whisk together (by hand or with a mixer) until smooth.
- On a clean and lightly floured surface, spread out the puff pastry sheets. Gently roll out the short side of the puff pastry until it is an even square (roll the puff pastry lightly as you do this so you don't smash the layers together). Using a sharp knife, cut each puff pastry sheet into 16 even squares (about 4" on each side).
- To achieve maximum puff in your pastry, using a small knife, score a 1/2 inch border around the edges, making sure not to let your knife cut through the dough completely. With a fork, make 2-4 indentations inside the center of the square.Your filling will sit in these scored inner squares. Arrange the squares on baking sheets that have either been lightly oiled or have a silicon baking mat.
- To the center of each square add a large spoonful of cream cheese filling, followed by a small spoonful of drained rhubarb.
- Bake the danishes for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and puffed up around the edges. Remove from the oven to cool briefly for 3-5 minutes. Best served warm.