Sunday, June 1, 2014

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pastries

I went to Utah to help my daughter move from Orem to South Jordan last week. She moved in with my niece and her family...so nice that they had room and were willing to let Sarah live there until she's done with her internship and knows where she's going. My niece's daughter LOVES to bake and try out new recipes just like me!! I'm always happy when kids love to bake. She made strawberry cream cheese crepes on Sunday morning for all us and for memorial day there were lots of strawberries and cream cheese left over. She googled this recipe and it looked yummy so she thought she'd try it out. She let me help and this is the recipe we came up with. SOOOOO good! I'm posting the recipe I did, (I halved the recipe as the full one made 3 big pastries and it's just me and my hubby at home, but feel free to double) My hubby loved this! He said it was one of the 3 best pastries I've made! I asked him what the other two were and he said my Maple Bars with bacon on them but couldn't remember the second... made me laugh. Hope you enjoy as much as we did! :)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pastries
Dough:
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups flour

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 oz softened cream cheese
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Strawberry filling:
1 pint of strawberries, washed and cut in half
1 to 2 Tablespoons Sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are, start with 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch.

Icing:
1- 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon  vanilla
2 teaspoons Milk (may need 3 teaspoons, you want to be able to drizzle it in a pastry bag)

Directions:
Stir together the yeast in  the water with a teaspoon of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer; let dissolve about 5 minutes or until it starts to foam. Add  rest of the sugar, butter, milk and egg. Mix together. Add salt to  2 cups flour and stir to combine; then add to the yeast mixture and stir well.  Add the last cup of flour a little at a time  until the dough is a smooth mixture- just a little sticky ( you may not need the whole last cup... I used 2 1/2 cups when I made them, but it depends on the humidity of the day)  Knead until smooth. Let dough rise in a greased bowl covered with plastic wart for 1- 1/2 hours or until double in size. 
Make your fillings while the dough is raising. For the Cream cheese filling just mix together in a small bowl with a fork or spoon until smooth and set aside.
For the strawberry filling place the cut up berries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch in a small saucepan. Mash with a potato masher until mostly all mashed up. Some big chunks are good mixed in with the mashed. Bring this to a simmer over medium heat and stir for a minute or two until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.

When ready to make your pastry;
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with a nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Divide your dough into 2 balls. Roll each ball of dough into a rectangle so that the dough is about 1/2 inch (maybe slightly less) thick all over.  Place your dough rectangles on prepared baking sheet. Spread 1/2 of the cream cheese filling down the center of each rectangle. Spread 1/2 of strawberry filling on top of cream cheese filling.
Cut 1″  thick strips all the way down each long side of dough from the edge of the filling to the outer edge of the dough to weave with. Braid the bread by starting with the strips in each top corner, laying them over the filling and criss-crossing over each other. Continue braiding and tuck the last braid under when you get to the end.

Let the braids rise for another 15-30 minutes. ( I think I did the full 30 minutes)
Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. 
Let cool while you make your frosting. In a large mixing bowl mix all frosting ingredients and stir until smooth. If slightly thick add another teaspoon of milk. You want to be able to spread or drizzle on the top of your pastries. I put my frosting in a pastry bag with a small round tip. You can place in a sandwich or freezer bag and cut the very tip out of one corner. Drizzle over pastry while it's still slightly warm. Or if you don't want to go to that trouble you can just spread over the top with a knife or spatula.
I suggest eating this while still warm! YUMMO!