There are a few staples that I always have in my freezer: a pint of Graeter’s ice cream, a slab of bacon, and lots of puff pastry. When disaster strikes, one of those three items are sure to appease the situation.
I had one of those days where everything seemed to go wrong. A cake that I was working on fell apart. The dogs were going crazy barking at their reflection in the freshly cleaned windows. I’ve been waiting all afternoon for a package to arrive, only to realize that it was delivered to the wrong house hours ago. But the big kicker that really threw me over, was finding out that I was a couple days too late to cancel a looming contract renewal that I have been waiting to get out of.
Frustrated, hot, and bothered (because it’s been in the 90s all week here in LA), I pulled out the puff pastry from the freezer. I still had some leftover honey cream cheese frosting from the strawberry vanilla cake as well as a shelf full of blackberries (because I may have gone a little overboard at the market when blackberries were on sale for 99 cents).
I knew what would make me feel a hundred times better: strong coffee and a blackberry cream cheese pastry.
Puff pastry is one of my favorite ingredients. It’s so versatile and works perfectly for both sweet and savory applications. (I used to take the time to make it from scratch, but I really love the ease of using frozen ones. No shame in using frozen puff pastry!) Puff pastry is readily available in large sheets, but my favorite are these 5-inch square ones. Whenever I come across them at the market, I stock up.
When I’ve had a rough day, I want the simplest recipe with the least amount of clean up. These little blackberry cream cheese pastries fit the bill.
Puff pastry is super easy to work with. From the freezer, it takes about 10-15 minutes for the pastry is defrost enough to be pliable. I used a heaping tablespoon of honey cream cheese to line the bottom of the pastries, leaving about a half-inch border. Once the cream cheese has been evenly spread, I folded over the border to create these picture frame looking things. The folded edges will eventually puff up in the oven, but I fold them anyway just to keep the berries in place when I first pop them in the oven.
While you wait for the pastries to bake, go ahead and make your coffee. In 30 minutes, the kitchen will smell like your favorite bakery. The scent of fresh coffee and buttery pastries is enough to calm me down. Take the pastries out of the oven and dust them with some powdered sugar and you’re good to go. Eat these blackberry cream cheese pastries warm or enjoy them at room temperature. Either way, they’re the perfect little afternoon pick-me-up.
Once I’m sugared up and re-energized, I can go back to tackling the messy house, the crazy dogs, and my ever growing email inbox with a smile.
Happy Friday, friends! The weekend is finally HERE!
Blackberry Cream Cheese Pastries
Yield: four pastry squares
- 12 oz blackberries
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 4 5-inch square puff pastry sheets*, thawed
- 1/3 cup honey cream cheese
Honey Cream Cheese
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Toss together blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place puff pastry squares on baking sheet. Add a heaping 1 Tbsp of honey cream cheese in the center of each puff pastry square. Spread cream cheese, leaving about 1/2-inch border around the puff pastry square. Fold in about 1/4-inch of puff pastry all around the square. Add blackberries over cream cheese. Gently oil the exposed edges of puff pastry.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until puff pastry edges has risen and puff pastry is golden brown in the color. Remove from oven and let pastries cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle sifted powdered sugar over pastries before serving. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Honey Cream Cheese: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add butter and mix until combined. Add powdered sugar, honey, and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined.
* I use puff pastry that is already cut down to 5-inch squares. You can buy a large sheet of frozen puff pastry and cut it down to your desired size.
The Little Epicurean