Another filling is ricotta and cream cheese combined in equal proportions and run in a food processor with orange zest and just a touch of sugar. This method produces very smooth filling. The roasted strawberries went on top of the cheese mixture. The roasting makes even not-so-perfect strawberries taste great. And these particular ones were good from the start. After an hour spent in the oven, the berries had become even tastier, dark-red in color and extremely fragrant. To the still hot berries, I added some orange zest and a splash of Grand Marnier.
For the dough:
- Half recipe of the Danish dough
For the cheese filling:
- 3 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- Tiny pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Zest of ½ orange
For the strawberry filling:
- 1 lb strawberries
- Scant ¼ cup light corn syrup
- Zest of ½ orange
- 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
For the egg wash:
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp milk
For the clear glaze:
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup
For the sugar glaze:
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- About 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- A drop of orange oil (or pure orange extract)
Make the cheese filling:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl of the food processor and process until well blended and smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Make the strawberry filling:
Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 300F.
Cut the strawberries in half or into quarters if the berries are very large. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the strawberries with the corn syrup. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the color of the berries intensifies and darkens, and the syrup thickens, about 45 minutes to 1 hr. Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl or glass storage container. Add the orange zest and Grand Marnier. Cool, cover and store in the refrigerator until needed. Can be prepared a day ahead.
Make the clear glaze:
In a heavy saucepan, bring all of the ingredients to a rapid boil. Remove from the heat and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Assemble and bake the pastries:
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12 x 12-inch square, ¼ inch thick. Trim the edges straight and brush off any excess flour. Cut the square into 9 smaller squares, each 4×4 inch.
Place a scant tbsp of the cheese filling in the center of each square. Using a slotted spoon, transfer a strawberry half (or two quarters) on the top of the cheese filling. Brush the outside edge of each square with the egg wash. Take two opposite corners and press the tips of the corners together to seal. Repeat with the remaining squares. Brush the egg wash over the tops of the pastries.
Place the pastries on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. In a small bowl, beat the egg with milk and brush the egg wash over the tops of the pastries. Spray oil over plastic wrap and loosely cover the pastries. Let the pastries rise until puffy and spongy to the touch, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Meanwhile, center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F. After the pastries have risen bake them for about 25 minutes, until nicely browned, rotating the baking sheet halfway through to ensure even baking.
Cool the baked pastries on a rack for 5 minutes, then brush them with the clear glaze.
Make the sugar glaze and finish the pastries:
Whisk the ingredients together until completely smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add a little bit of the orange juice or water until the glaze reaches the right consistency for drizzling.
When the pastries have cooled, set the rack with the pastries over a baking sheet and drizzle the sugar glaze over the tops.