Easy Cheesy Fruit Danish


I always have ready-made puff pastry sheets in the freezer. They can be cut into quarters to quickly make impressive hors d’oeuvres or left whole for elegant sweet or savory tarts. I purchase these squares at a local Middle-Eastern market, but you can use the more commonly found larger sheets - just roll them out on a floured board and cut into squares. Any fruit can be used, but adjustments must be made. For instance, apples take longer to bake, so slice apples very thinly. If using frozen berries, do not thaw before baking.
8 frozen puff pastry squares, approximately 5 x 5 inches
1 cup mascarpone cheese (can substitute cream cheese)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg, separated, divided use
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large peaches, ripe yet firm
1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons sugar, preferably raw (optional)
1 Preheat oven to 425°F.

2 Lightly oil baking sheets and lay pastry on sheets to thaw.

3 Mix mascarpone, 1/4 cup sugar, flour, egg yolk and vanilla until well blended.

4 Using a sharp paring knife, score a half-inch border around each pastry square, taking care to not cut all the way through. Using a fork, prick all over the center of each square. Do not prick the border, as you want this part to rise around the filling.

5 Place approximately 2 heaping tablespoons of the mascarpone mixture in the center of each pastry, spreading lightly, keeping it within the borders.

6 Slice the peaches: Lay a peach on a cutting board, stem side down, seam facing you. Slice through approximately 1/4 inch on either side of the seam to avoid the pit. You want to slice a nice big chunk on either side of the pit, but you don't want to cut into the pit itself. Once you have cut a slice off each side, lay the center piece flat and cut off the side chunks. Place all the chunks skin-side up and slice into 3/16-inch slices, keeping the slices together in mounds. Repeat with remaining peaches.

7 Grab 7 to 8 slices and place skin-side up on top of cheese mixture on pastry, then repeat, distributing peaches evenly on pastries. Gently push the mound of slices to the side, slightly separating the slices to look like the picture. (They will fall a bit more during the cooking.)

8 Use a fork to whisk egg white with 1 teaspoon water, then brush this egg wash on the borders of the pastries with a pastry brush. Sprinkle fruit with raw sugar, if desired.

9 Place in oven and immediately lower temperature to 375°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until puffed and deep golden. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 8 Servings

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