Every summer when we head north to be with family, my husband and I both try to claim to be from the Cherry Capital. I say it is Michigan, and he insists it is Wisconsin. While the dispute is ongoing, we do agree that both places grow delicious cherries. Whether you like them freshly picked, in a pie or stewed over a pork tenderloin, you can’t go wrong with a midwest summer cherry. Last summer I made a Blueberry Lemon Curd Pastry, which were absolutely delicious. For this summer’s breakfast sweet, I decided to try them with cherries – yum!
Since my time in the kitchen is now limited between naps, I needed to figure out a shortcut so that we were actually enjoying these breakfast pastries before dinner. Lucky for all of us, Frozen Puff Pastry is great and easy to work with. To also save time in the morning, I prepped the cherries the day before and refrigerated them in a covered container until I was ready to bake the pastries.
In an effort to limit the sugar on our tarts, instead of stewing the cherries in water and sugar, I cooked the cherries in all natural orange juice. The natural sugars of the orange fruit sweeten the cherries just enough. I also chose not to dust the pastry with sugar or top with a glaze, but one or both would be tasty additions.
Makes 6 Pastry Tarts
- 1 Sheet Puff Pastry
- 1/2 cup Cream Cheese
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tbsp Sugar, optional
- 1/2 cup Fresh Orange Juice
- 30 Fresh Cherries, pitted & halved
- 1 Egg White
Optional Vanilla Glaze:
- 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 tbsp Milk
- 1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pit the cherries. If you are pitting them without an official pitter, be very careful with the knife! Remember also to wear an apron – cherry juice stains easily.
In a sauté pan, heat the cherries in the orange juice over a low simmer for 10 minutes, or just enough to soften the cherries. This step can be done up to a couple days in advance and refrigerated in a covered container.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and if desired, sugar for an extra hint of sweetness.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Defrost one sheet of frozen Puff Pastry as per the instructions on the box. Place the pastry dough on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Slice the dough into six equal sized rectangular pieces, spacing them at least 1-inch apart.
Carefully score the dough by cutting a smaller rectangle into each piece, leaving a 1/2-inch border from the edges. Do not all the way through the pastry. Then poke a couple shallow dents in the middle of each pastry.
Brush each outside border of the pastry with the egg white. This will give the pastry a beautiful, golden brown.
Inside the border of each pastry, spread a dollop of the cream cheese and then top with the cherries. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown & puffed. Serve warm, but they are still tasty at room temperature.
Store in an airtight container for up to one-day. Reheat in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes, watching so that the edges don’t burn.
*To make the optional Vanilla Glaze, whisk together all the ingredients until it is thick and smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the danishes and enjoy!