Oh, you guys. These lemon cheese pastries are dreamy.
They are the perfect match between crisp-crusty and tender flakiness and come with the perfect amount of lemony sunshine. Which is really good because we have had so many blustery snow days these past few winter weeks.
Actually, just today the winter sprites blessed us with 8 inches of white fluff. The house was still, filled with all the peaceful qualities that only come with a thick blanket of snow. I was preparing to allow the inside of my home to reflect the out quiet, cozy, and dark- if only warmer when I noticed the flash of red along the walls. Grabbing my still steaming coffee I headed to the window. Oh, guys! I will spend many future nights replaying this sight in my mind.
The snow tractor contracted to dig out our neighbor was dutifully clearing the drive across the road. Warning lights flashing filling what was normally soft yellow light from the street lamp with eerie red. My boys had traded their shovels for long sticks and were running in and out over all obstacles and mounds. Chasing, running, suddenly stopping, aiming, flailing, falling! Up again. Running and repeating. Round and round in the wildly flashing light.
They came in about three hours later red-faced flushed and completely sopping wet. Miniature mounds of packed snow falling from head and shoulders. They had followed the snow tractor around a block or two ducking and dodging through the ditch into the schoolyard and around the corner park lost for hours in their crazy game. I wonder if the driver knew? I wonder if he saw their antics and was reminded for a moment of his own silly childhood games? I wonder if he laughed as hard as I did
So I suppose a long snowy winter’s not so bad. As long as it’s filled with silly games and a bit of sunshine. Even if it comes in the form of insane boys and little lemon rounds.
Lemon Cheese Pastry
Super bright lemony filling tucked neatly inside the most delicious crispy-flaky Danish pastry.
For the brioche dough
- 8 oz milk
- 4 oz butter unsalted
- 1.75 oz sugar
- 0.5 oz yeast
- 1 large egg
- .25 oz salt fine
- 16 oz bread flour
Butter for rolling in
- 8 oz butter unsalted
Cream cheese filling
- 8 oz cream cheese room temp.
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 2 oz sugar
Egg wash/ topping
- 1 egg whisked
- poached or candied lemon slices
- honey or maple syrup
To make the dough
Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until butter is just melted. Do not let boil. Cool to lukewarm. (hot milk will burn the yeast and scramble the egg)
Add sugar, yeast, and egg into a medium bowl. Mix well. Add the butter mixture and mix well. Let the yeast bloom.
Add the salt to the flour and incorporate into the butter-egg mixture. Mix until all the flour is wet. It will be a bit sticky and shaggy. We are going to forgo kneading this dough, the gluten will develop as we roll in our butter. Shape dough into a ball, place into a buttered bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, let rise in a warm place 1 hour and move it to the fridge to finish its rise 1hour.
Incorporate and roll in butter
About 15 minutes before the dough is ready, cut 8 oz. (2 sticks) butter into 16 pieces. Lay them flat on a sheet of parchment and pound them into a flat rectangle. Cover and chill in the fridge until the dough is ready. *see here
Incorporate butter and give 3 3-folds. *see here
After the doughs final turn and rest, roll the dough into a long rectangle about 11×21. Trim off the edges on all sides.
Cut the dough down the center lengthwise. Cut widthwise every 5 inches. you’ll end up with 8 5×5 portions.
Cover and let rest while you prepare the filling.
Mix cream cheese, lemon zest and juice, and sugar until well blended.
Fill pastries and bake
Pipe or spoon the cheese mixture down the center of each pastry square. Leaving about 1/2 inch margin on each end.
Fold in half to make a rectangle. Press the edges well to seal.
Preheat oven to 375.
Proof for 30-40 minutes until light, puffy and about doubled in height.
Wash the tops of your pastry with the whipped egg and bake at 375f for 15 minutes or until deep golden brown.
Cool on a cooling rack. If desired, decorate with candied lemon slices by adding a tiny drop of honey or maple syrup to the top center of the pastry and placing the lemon slice on top.