Thursday, September 2, 2010

Key Lime and Cream Cheese Danish

Well, anyone that knows me knows that I can't pass up a bargain and boy did I get a bargain just recently. Lime juice and frozen puff pastry were there for the taking and I took. Now, what was I going to do with it? It got my creative culinary juices flowing and I looked back at some of my old recipe files and started coming up with some ideas. I did some experimenting yesterday (and enjoyed the fruits of my labor) and came up with a fine dessert that I am going to serve at my next gathering of friends and/or family. Enjoy!

P.S. I think this would be a terrific Cinco de Mayo dessert, with the Red, White and Green Colors, but I'm not going to wait until May to serve it again.

Key Lime and Cream Cheese Danish
8 Servings

1 Box of Frozen Puff Pastry - Thawed
1 8 oz. Box of Cream Cheese Softened to Room Temperature
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (Eagle Brand Type)
4 Drops Yellow Food Color
1 Drop Green Food Color
1/2 Cup Lime Juice
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream - Unwhipped
1 Cup Cool Whip (or Sweetened Whipped Cream)
8 Nice Big Strawberries or Raspberries, for Garnish

Unfold the two sheets of puff pastry and cut each sheet into 12 equal portions. Place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, allowing room for the pastries to expand. I had to bake mine in several batches. Bake about 10 minutes at 430 F. (or longer if necessary) until golden brown and puffed. Remove from sheets when cool and set aside. While pastry is baking, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from bowl and set aside. In the same bowl (do not wash bowl) place the condensed milk and the food coloring. Mix until uniform color. Stir in the lime juice and whipping cream. Stir until smooth. Mixture with thicken upon standing. Remove from mixing bowl and set aside. (Refrigerate the cream cheese mixture and the lime mixture at this point if not assembling the dessert for serving.)

To serve:

On a dessert plate, place one pastry. Place a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on the pastry. Spread across top. Place a tablespoon of the lime mixture over the cream cheese and spread. Place another pastry over the lime mixture and repeat the cream cheese and lime layers. Place a pastry on top and place a dollop of sweetened whipping cream (or Cool Whip) on top. Top with a fan sliced whole strawberry. Serve.

This can be made ahead and refrigerated until serving but the pasty won't be as flaky. This can also be made into one large pastry and cut into serving portions, but the larger pastry sheets are more difficult to handle. The two large pastry sheets would need to be divided. Remove 1/3 of each of the two sheets and place the removed pieces side by side, pressing together before baking. This would give you three equal larger sheets of pastry to work with. Assemble as above and serve or refrigerate until serving.

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