It's the first week of June and I just realized that I haven't really dedicated any recipes to celebrate spring. I suppose you can say that I jumped the gun a bit with the summer dishes but can you blame me? So, today I'm stepping it back a little and giving rhubarb some love. We all know strawberry and rhubarb is a classic combination so I decided to whip up some strawberry and rhubarb cheese danish pastries. With the help of puff pastry, this dessert comes together in no time but tastes like a million bucks. Just what I need to end spring and say hello to summer!
Strawberry and Rhubarb Cheese Danish
- 4 ounces rhubarb chopped
- ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar divided
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 ounces cream cheese softened at room temperature
- 2 ounces mascarpone softened at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 6 ounces strawberries fresh
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 sheet puff pastry thawed
- egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water)
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Make the rhubarb curd. Combine the chopped rhubarb with 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp water in a small saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue to cook until the rhubarb is soft. Remove from heat and puree the mixture until smooth. Let cool.
- Whisk together the rhubarb puree with ¼ cup sugar, 2 eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small pot. Heat the mixture over low heat and continue to cook until the curd has thickened, stirring frequently. Make sure to constantly stir the curd in the beginning to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and add the butter, stirring until it's melted. Transfer the curd to a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top, touching the surface of the curd. Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the mascarpone cream filling. Whip together the mascarpone with the cream cheese, egg yolk, vanilla, and sugar until well combined. Set aside.
- Slice the strawberries into ⅛-inch thick slices. Drizzle 1 tbsp honey on the strawberries and let them sit for 10 minutes.
- Lightly dust a clean work counter with flour. Unwrap the puff pastry and cut it into 6 equal rectangles. Use a knife and score a ¼-inch border on each rectangle, making sure not to actually cut the pastry. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the cheese filling in the center of each pastry, making sure not spread it outside of the border. Place 1 tablespoon of the curd on top.
- Arrange the strawberries on top of the curd, about 2 strawberries per pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash and bake them for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Microwave the apricot jam for 10 seconds or until warm. Brush the apricot jam on the strawberries. Let the pastries cool completely and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
These strawberry and rhubarb cheese danish pastries have a little bit of everything. There's the flaky buttery puff pastry, cream cheese and mascarpone filling, rhubarb lemon curd, and roasted strawberries...everything good in life. Even before I tried them, I knew they were going to be delicious.
To create this dessert, first, make the rhubarb curd. Cut the rhubarb into small chunks, discarding the leaves (they're poisonous!). Then, simmer the fruit with sugar and water until it's softened. Once the fruit has broken down, puree it and let it cool. If you add the cold eggs to the hot rhubarb puree, it can cook the eggs.
Heat the curd mixture over low heat, stirring frequently, and simmer until the curd has thickened. If you want to be extra cautious, cook the curd in a double boiler. This will help prevent the eggs from scrambling.
Let the rhubarb cool completely before assembling the pastries. You can also prepare the curd several days in advance.
Meanwhile, make the cheese filling by beating together the mascarpone and cream cheese with the egg yolk, vanilla, and sugar. Make sure the cream cheese and mascarpone are soft so that they'll be easy to mix together.
Next, slice the strawberries into thin slices and drizzle the honey on top. If your berries are especially sweet, you can omit the honey. I like to arrange the berries on a plate and drizzle the honey on top rather than tossing them all together. This way, you can shingle the berries on the pastries in a pretty pattern.
Now it's time to assemble the strawberry and rhubarb cheese danish pastries. Use a sharp knife and score a border ¼ inch from the edges, but don't cut all the way through the pastry. Scoring the pastry will help keep the filling in the center and prevent it from overflowing to the edges.
Place a heaping tablespoon of the cheese filling in the center and spread it inside the border. It may be tempting to place more filling but it can spill over if it's too full (I speak from experience).
Top the cheese filling with the rhubarb curd then place the strawberries on top. You'll have extra rhubarb curd but that's never a bad thing!
Brush the edges of the danishes with egg wash and bake them until golden brown.
Finish the pastries by brushing apricot jam on the berries. This will give the berries a lovely shine and just an extra hint of sweetness.
Dust the strawberry and rhubarb cheese danish with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and these babies are ready to be devoured!
The pastries seem so simple but the flavors are anything but. They all just work so well together. I mean, there's a reason that strawberry and rhubarb go so well together, right?
For more strawberry inspiration, check out these strawberry key lime pie bars!