Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pinwheel Danish

Everyone I know right now is having a baby. Seriously. There must have been something in the water about 9 months ago, and I was caught drinking Diet Coke instead. There are babies everywhere!

One of those friends is in my adult Sunday School class at church, and she is having her first baby - a girl. Her nursery theme is kites, butterflies, and other "things that fly." How cute is that? So the baby shower was themed around pinwheels.

Several of us helped with the food, and I couldn't pass on bringing something pinwheel-themed. So I summoned my new trusty friend, Pinterest, for inspiration. And Pinterest didn't let me down!

I combined recipes from two different websites to create these pinwheel pastries: The ingredients and recipe  from Hawaii News Now and the directions on how to put the pinwheels together from Rock Recipes. And then I put my own spin on both recipes by using cherry pie filling for half of the batch instead of jam or lemon curd. I definitely liked the pie filling version the best!

First make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. Basically you make a cheesecake mixture for the filling, so you want to be able to cream the ingredients together and make a really smooth, creamy batter.

Next you refrigerate the filling batter while rolling out the puff pastry. I had never used puff pastry before, but I was surprised at how easy it was to work with, and how good the results were. Maybe next time I'll make my own? Hmm, maybe not - the frozen kind worked so well!

Each puff pastry sheet gets cut into 9 squares. I used a pizza cutter and it worked really well to make quick, straight lines.

Then comes the fun part. :-) Again using the pizza cutter, I cut about 2" from the corners toward the center. A dollop of the cream cheese mixture and a dollop of the pie filling or jam, and they're ready to twirl... I just took every other point and brought them up to the top and then pinched the ends together. Then a quick brush with an egg white bath to make the pastries golden-brown.

The recipe said to put the pastries in the refrigerator now for about 15 minutes. The first batch I did about 10 minutes, and the second batch I forgot completely. I really didn't notice a difference between the two. I imagine you shouldn't leave these sitting on the counter for a long time before baking, but I don't know that it's necessary to refrigerate if you're going straight from prep to the oven.

They came out of the oven beautifully, and all a little bit different. I love how they're obviously pinwheels but yet obviously homemade.

The final step is to drizzle the pastries with a very light powdered sugar & milk glaze. The first batch {my test batch} I skipped this step, and they were still really good. But I will say that adding the glaze made them even better!

Easy Pinwheel Danish

2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Topping: 1 1/4 cups jam or pie filling, any fruit flavor
Egg Wash: 1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Glaze: 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons milk

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; cream them together on low speed until smooth. Add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla and salt; mix on low just until combined. Do not beat. Chill filling.

On a lightly floured surface, roll a sheet of puff pastry into a 12" square. Cut into nine 4" squares. To make a pinwheel, make four 2" cuts from the corner toward the center of each pastry square. Fold every other point in toward the center, pressing firmly.

Place a spoonful of the chilled cheese filling in the center of each square. Top with a spoonful of jam or pie filling. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake the chilled pastries for 20 minutes or until deeply golden brown. Transfer to cooling racks. Cool 20 minutes before drizzling with glaze.

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