Fall arrived in Houston this week. Now don’t get all excited, that doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing here as it does in Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York or Montreal or any other part of the continent considered north. In Houston autumn is when the temperatures hover around 60F and the relative humidity stays under 90%. It’s really a tease because in only a few days the weather will change again and it will be hot and muggy. While there is a chill in the air though it is nice to embrace the season. For me that means cooking comfort foods and baking something made from pumpkin. I am not one to jump on the whole pumpkin craze of everything has to smell and taste like pumpkin but the flavor and scent ignite those ol’ synapses and I can smell the crisp air tinged with decomposing leaves and smoke from peoples chimneys. So not being in the mood for pie but definitely craving those flavors the Pumpkin Cheese Danish was conceived. Creamy and sweet with a hint of warm pumpkin pie with vanilla sugar glaze drizzled across the golden crisp pastry. Mmmmm. . .
What made making this tasty treat even more enjoyable was being able to make this with a group of residents at The Medallion Assisted Living Facility. Together we mixed the filling and then each of the participants was able to create their own pastry. With the filling that remained I made the staff a few larger pastries to cut apart and share. The activities room smelled amazing.
When I was headed home from the program the nip in the air made me think that it was time to make the first soup of the season. A quick stop at the market and I had all that I needed to put together a hearty vegetarian mushroom barley soup. To make the meal complete I planned on serving it with crusty bread and a dollop of sour cream in each bowl. Making a big pot of soup is easy and this soup freezes well for future use.
Pumpkin Cheese Danish
1 ½ cups cream cheese at room temperature *
1 egg at room temperature *
½ cup organic canned pumpkin puree
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
Parchment paper lined baking sheets
2 packages Pepperidge Farms puff pastry sheets defrosted and cut into 6 equal rectangles
Vanilla sugar for sprinkling
¼ cup to ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 to 2 eggs whisked for egg wash
Preheat oven to 400F. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl using a hand mixer whip together the cream cheese, pumpkin, egg, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves. Place the puff pastry rectangles on the prepared parchment paper. Spoon filling into the center of half of the rectangles leaving approximately ¼ inch of pastry around the edges. Using a pastry brush, stroke the edges with egg wash, brush egg wash along the edges of the empty rectangles as well. Place the top piece of pastry dough over the filled half. Using the tongs of a fork seal the top pastry to the bottom half. Poke some holes into the pocket to release the internal steam while baking. Brush the top of each pastry pocket with egg wash. Sprinkle each pocket with vanilla sugar and cinnamon. Bake in center of oven until pastries are lightly brown and puffy. Remove from the oven and let cool. Whisk together confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract and milk forming a smooth glaze. When pastries are completely cool drizzle glaze over them.
*Note: the cream cheese and the egg need to be at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes
Hi, I'm Chef Shoshana. I have been cooking as long as I can remember starting out in both of my grandmothers kitchens learning by observing and practice. Over the years I have cooked my way through all of life's moments; cooking for family, friends, and clients. For me cooking has always been an expression of caring and love. Each meal I prepare is a reflection of that. When I cook for a client I want them to feel as if the meal was made by a loved one especially for them. The blog section of my website is where you will find recipes & anecdotes from my daily experiences in the kitchen with both clients and family. I hope you enjoy!