Puff pastry is rolled out and cut to form the base for these Rhubarb Cream Cheese Danish delights! Spread with a sweet, cream cheese mixture and topped with fresh rhubarb, they’re baked until golden brown, crispy and flaky. Once cooled, they are drizzled with an easy to prepare glaze. It’s so hard to eat just one of these!
A couple of weeks ago, we hired a local gardener to help us with some landscaping and designing. John.e is a huge fan of property with lots of trees, but I’d rather not fill up all of our open garden space with trees. Wendy was just what we needed to combine his vision with mine so that we could both enjoy the results. She is also the reason I didn’t have to buy much rhubarb this year. In fact, the rhubarb used in this Rhubarb Cream Cheese Danish recipe, was brought to us by Wendy!
We had a very small rhubarb patch in the back corner of our garden, which I was able to harvest twice the first summer we owned our home. That summer, we hired someone to cut our grass, and he rode his lawn mower right over the rhubarb! The second summer, we put up a small wire fence, and still, he managed to mow right over it, not once, but twice!
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This year, Wendy advised us to move the rhubarb to a raised garden bed, which we did. Also, John.e got a John Deere garden tractor just last week, so now that he’s cutting the grass, we might be able to prevent further loss. Anyway, Wendy caught on to the fact that I love to bake with rhubarb. She has another client, Anna, who just so happens to live just down the street from us. She mentioned it to Anna who asked Wendy to harvest and bunch of her rhubarb for us. Thanks, Anna G!
Wendy sent a text message early in the morning to let us know that she left some rhubarb on our front porch. It was more than “some!” So much so that I’ve baked Rhubarb Streusel Muffins and a few other goodies with it. I’ve also made a batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, and I still have a large amount that I have trimmed, washed, and packed into Ziploc bags sitting in my freezer. Now, here’s to hoping that the rhubarb transferred to the garden beds fairs well next summer!
RHUBARB WAS PLENTIFUL
When I was a kid, growing up in Newfoundland, rhubarb was a very common and well-loved product of the summer months. My dad grew some rhubarb, and still does, but I particularly remember one family who grew the biggest rhubarb I had even seen – even to this date, I haven’t seen rhubarb so large or taste so good.
There might be a reason their rhubarb tasted better than all other rhubarb, and I’ll share that with you, Dear Reader. Like I said, this rhubarb was extremely large. It was a fenced-in patch of rhubarb that had to be about twenty or thirty feet square. It was located right behind their house, which made it most difficult to steal.
Yes, I said steal. Us kids would often slip our arms through the fence and pull out a stalk or two. It was a perfect snack on a hot summer day. Oftentimes, we would just so happen to be passing by when the owners were cutting down the rhubarb and they would always happily give us some. I’m not sure why we thought we needed to steal it; had we had knocked on the door and asked, I’m sure they would have given us a stalk and send us on our way.
BLAME IT ON THE 80s!
I guess it’s just the kind of thing the kids in the 80s did. It wasn’t just the rhubarb! A nearby family grew crab apples and cherries, also inside a fenced-in yard, but we managed to get in there too, even if we did have to wait until after dark. It’s been many years since I’ve been back to the small town where I grew up. And, if I were to go back now, I’d still look for the familiar sights that were childhood favourites.
Both of the owners of these tempting gardens have passed away now. But my memories of their delicious fruits still vividly remain. Rest in peace Mr. & Mrs. Martin and Mr. & Mrs. Tilley. It’s recipes like this one that remind me of you and keep my fond childhood memories alive.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
FOR THE DANISH:
- Frozen Store-Bought Puff Pastry – It is easier than homemade puff pastry and it works well. Please read the section above for more information on how to prepare the puff pastry.
- Cream Cheese – When baking with cream cheese it is always best to use brick style rather than whipped or cream cheese in a tub. The brick style is firmer and more condensed. Cream cheese adds texture and flavour to baked items.
- Sugar – You need just a little bit of sugar to add a bit of sweetness to the cream cheese filling.
- Vanilla Extract – Probably the most common extract and the most common flavouring used in cakes and cookies.
- Rhubarb – You will need two cups of rhubarb cut into one inch lengths.
- Eggs – Whenever you set out to bake, make sure your eggs are at room temperature! For this recipe, you will two whole large eggs.
FOR THE GLAZE:
- Confectioner’s Sugar
WHAT IS PUFF PASTRY?
Puff pasty is a light, flaky, and buttery dough. It is thin layers of dough separated by a thin layer of butter. The dough is rolled out with a rolling pin and a layer of butter is smeared on top. Then, it’s folded over and rolled out again. This process is repeated over and over. Commonly, puff pastry can have up to 1,000 layers! Do you see why I’m not attempting to make it from scratch?
Once puff pastry is baked, the butter melts to create steam. This is how those flaky layers are formed. Each layer of dough is separated from the next to create a puffed dough that’s golden brown and super delicate.
You can buy puff pastry in the frozen section of most grocery stores. Look in pie crust and cool whip section of the freezer. You can use puff pastry for so many things, so you might want to buy extra and keep it in your freezer. Whatever you do, please follow the directions on the package very carefully. Each manufacturer seems to have different prep and baking times.
Lord Byron’s Notes
Rhubarb isn’t always really bright red, in fact, only the top half of the stalks are red or pink. The bottom half of the stalk is usually green. If you want a bright reddish-pink colour, soak your cut rhubarb in a half cup of grenadine for 30 minutes before using. When ready to top the danishes, drain the rhubarb well in a colander, but do not rinse! Grenadine is sweet, but don’t worry, the tart and sour rhubarb can handle it quite well!
HOW TO MAKE THESE DANISHES
PREPARING THE FILLING AND THE PUFF PASTRY
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Set aside. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, one large egg, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Set aside. Unroll the puff pastry and gently roll it out with a rolling pin. We are not trying to make the puff pastry flatter or bigger, but simple leveling out the surface.
Next, use a sharp knife to cut the pastry into rectangles. I used the Tenderflake brand, which comes in a box of two sheets. I cut four rectangles from each sheet. You can cut the pastry into any size you wish. Place the cut puff pastry onto the prepared baking sheet at least 3 inches apart.
ASSEMBLING THE DANISHES
Distribute the cream cheese mixture evenly among the prepared puff pastry. Use an offset spatula or a teaspoon to spread the cream cheese out, leaving at least a centimeter of space around the perimeter. Keep the outer crust free of any cream cheese mixture or toppings! Next, fill in the center of the tart with the rhubarb, pushing the pieces gently into the cream cheese mixture so that they stick.
Next, whisk together the remaining egg and the tablespoon of water. Brush the outer crusts of the prepared puff pasty with the egg mixture. Use a small pastry brush for best coverage. Bake for 15 minutes or until the outer crusts are puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and allow the tarts to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer them to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
Once cooled, beat together the confectioner’s sugar and the milk to form the glaze. Drizzle the desired amount over the danishes and serve immediately. If packaging up the danishes for storage, allow the glaze to fully dry first.
PLAN AHEAD FOR BEST RESULTS!!
Puff pastry is sold in sheets. You will need to defrost overnight in your fridge. If you attempt to defrost at room temperature, they might become too sticky to work with. Plan ahead for this recipe, Dear Reader, to avoid wasting your puff pastry. Usually, when I bring home store bought puff pastry, I leave it in the fridge and use it the next day. That way, I don’t have to worry about remembering to remove it from the freezer.
WHAT IS RHUBARB?
Rhubarb is a perennial plant that grows well in cool climates. The stalks are edible, but it’s sometimes planted as an ornamental plant because of its beautiful, vibrant red stalks and wide green leaves.
Consumed raw, rhubarb has an intensely tart flavor that’s not generally liked. But toss it with sugar and bake it into cake, pie, shortbread or jam, and rhubarb’s bitterness fades and becomes delicious.
While it’s most commonly used in combination with other fruits to make sweet treats, rhubarb has several savoury applications. Add it to salsa, use it to make chutney or enjoy it as a marinade for meat.
STORING A DANISH
Here’s the thing about a Rhubarb Cream Cheese Danish – or any danish for that matter – they cannot be stored for a long period of time. Danishes are best when eaten the same day. I have tried to store them in cake stands, in sealed containers, in the fridge, and I’ve even tried freezing them. They are never as good as they are on that first day. That’s not to say that you can’t eat them a day or two later though!
You can safely store them for a day or two on your countertop on a cake stand with a lid. Even though the danishes are safe to eat after being left on the counter for a bit, they tend to lose some of their freshness after the first day. But, never fear! If your danish become a little stale, pop one in the microwave for 10 seconds. It will soften it up quite nicely!
Do You Like This Recipe?
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Rhubarb Cream Cheese Danish
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed according to the package instructions
- 8 ounces cream cheese, block style
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups rhubarb, cut into one inch lengths
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, one large egg, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Unroll the puff pastry and gently roll it out with a rolling pin. We are not trying to make the puff pastry flatter or bigger, but simple leveling out the surface.
- Next, use a sharp knife to cut the pastry into rectangles. Place the cut puff pastry onto the prepared baking sheet at least 3 inches apart.
- Distribute the cream cheese mixture evenly among the prepared puff pastry. Use an offset spatula or a teaspoon to spread the cream cheese out, leaving at least a centimeter of space around the perimeter. Keep the outer crust free of any cream cheese mixture or toppings!
- Next, fill in the center of the tart with the rhubarb, pushing the pieces gently into the cream cheese mixture so that they stick.
- Next, whisk together the remaining egg and the tablespoon of water. Brush the outer crusts of the prepared puff pasty with the egg mixture. Use a small pastry brush for best coverage.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the outer crusts are puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and allow the tarts to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer them to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Once cooled, beat together the confectioner’s sugar and the milk to form the glaze. Drizzle the desired amount over the danishes and serve immediately.
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