On one of the few trips to Costco where I actually brought my husband, he grabbed my hand and pulled me over to the bakery section and pointed to the cream cheese pastries. Even though I knew they were one of his faves when we go on a morning coffee date, I opted to promise him that I would make him some and they would be WAY better. He gave me a look and said ‘I’m holding you to that!’ - challenge accepted. Now I realize I bought puff pastry sheets, hence the ‘halfway homemade’, but I wasn’t about to start rolling butter between ultra-thin sheets of dough unless I was going to be making myself chocolate croissants. I made a couple of variations of these cream cheese pastries, some to include strawberries, so I could make a fancier copycat of another favorite of his - strawberry cream cheese toaster strudels.
Halfway Homemade Cream Cheese Pastries // Makes 19
1 pkg frozen puff pastry dough, thawed (2 sheets)
1 - 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature
1 T sour cream
⅓ c sugar
1 T flour
1 egg yolk + 1 whole egg
1 tsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
Fresh berries (optional)
1 c powdered sugar, sifted
¼ tsp vanilla
While your pastry is thawing on the counter (about 40 minutes), combine cream cheese, sour cream (I used light versions of both), sugar, flour, egg yolk, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl using a hand mixer. Beat well, for 3-4 minutes, until no lumps remain and you have a nice, smooth filling. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place a sheet of parchment on two half-sheet pans.
Once thawed, place one sheet back in the fridge so it doesn’t get too soft while you make the first version. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining sheet to about 12” x 10”, ensuring the seams have been rolled out. Using a pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or nice sharp knife, cut the dough lengthwise into ten 1” strips. Taking one strip at a time, twist ends in opposite directions to create little loops. Pull the ends around to create a horseshoe shape.
Curl one end in toward itself to the halfway point, keeping the end flat to create a little space for the filling; roll the other side in the same manner to create what looks like the shape of….binoculars? Position the dough where you want it on the prepared sheet and repeat with remaining strips. I wasn’t sure how much they would puff up, so I only place eight on the pan, but I think ten would fit just fine. Place 2-3 teaspoons of the filling in each little basket you created.
In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk the whole egg and a bit of water together to create an egg wash. Lightly brush onto the pastry part only, to help with the browning. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden and puffed. Immediately remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
While the first batch is baking, roll your second sheet of pastry just enough to remove the seams and keep an even square of dough. Cut into nine equal squares and transfer them to your second prepared baking sheet; I placed six on one and three on the other sheet once it was cooled. Equally divide remaining filling among the squares, about a heaping tablespoon, then spread it out, leaving a ½ inch border of pastry on each one. Fold up the edges to encompass the filling and squeeze the corners together to create a little point. Arrange sliced strawberries or whole raspberries/blueberries on top of the filling or leave them plain - I did some of each because the local berries were so great!
Brush edges with egg wash and bake for 15-18 minutes, removing immediately to cool.
To make glaze, whisk together sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and just enough milk to make it a medium-thin consistency. Drizzle over pastries while they are still slightly warm. These are best eaten right away, but in case you can’t eat 19 pastries in one sitting, wrap them each individually and store in airtight container in fridge. Toaster ovens are great for reheating, however, we don’t have one so I pop them under the broiler to revive them - you can also do a quick pan fry in a dry skillet! Microwaving them will just make them soggy and unappealing so I recommend one of the above options.
I was just throwing these together, but there is so much you can do with them to make them a bit fancier for a dinner party, or fold them over to make a more toaster-pastry type look! Get creative and try incorporating some of your favorite ingredients - Nutella perhaps? Above all else, enjoy the process and the eating!
With a full heart and an empty plate,