- ¾ cup milk, warmed
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour (divided)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
Cream Cheese Filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup sugar
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
For the Rhubarb Jam:
Combine the rhubarb and the sugar into a 3 QT saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the rhubarb is broken down and the jam is thick.
Allow the jam to cool and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks.
For the Cream Cheese Filling:
Using an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese, sugar and egg until they are well combined.
For the Icing:
In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and milk together until smooth.
To Make the Puff Pastry:
In a large bowl, stir together the milk and yeast. Stir in the sugar, eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Add the salt and a cup of the flour, and then gradually add another 2¼ cups of the flour, stirring and then kneading for several minutes, until it is smooth and elastic, but still a little tacky. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap. Chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the butter and the remaining ¼ cup of flour with an electric mixer for a couple minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until it is smooth.
When the dough has chilled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle that is about 13x18-inches and ¼-inch thick. Spread the butter evenly over the dough, and then fold it as you would fold a letter, in thirds. The dough ends should line up, so that it is folded in three. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and put it back into the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Pull the dough out and put it back on the countertop, with the open sides to the left and right. Roll it out into another 13x18-inch rectangle, a ¼-inch thick. Fold the left third over the middle, then the right third over the middle. This is referred to as “turns.” To keep track of each fold – or turn – press your finger into the dough at the edge to make two marks – you can do this each time you roll and fold so that you know how many times you’ve done it. Chill the dough for another 30 minutes.
Roll, fold and refrigerate the dough two more times, so that you’ve done it four times total. On the last turn, gently roll the rectangle into a 12x12-inch square so the dough is about a ½-inch thick. Cover and refrigerate it for at least an hour, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Take the chilled dough and cut it into 3-inch squares. Place about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture in the center of the each square. Spoon a tablespoon of rhubarb jam on top of the cream cheese mixture. Fold each of the corners over about a ½-inch. Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg over the puff pastry (not the jam filling).
Place the pastries onto the baking pans, keeping about two inches in between each. Bake the Danishes for about 18-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Allow them to cool on wire racks. Drizzle them with icing.