From Your Wife With Love….
UPDATE (Feb. 2017) : If you want to make this vegan, or plant based, you can replace the butter in the pie crust for coconut oil (I have tried this, and if the oil is chilled it works just fine.) and you can omit the egg. 🙂 HAPPY BAKING!
Last week I posted my Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish recipe. My husband “oooo’d and awwwww’d” over it nonstop saying that it was literally the BEST dessert I’ve ever made, and I’ve made a lot of desserts! Up until this point his favorite was my chocolate cheesecake, but he said that this one was even better. While I was afraid that I might over do a good thing, I thought I would take it just one step further and see if I couldn’t make it even just a little bit better.
I wanted to add a fruit filling into the pastry along with the cream cheese, just like I generally do with cheesecake, and I decided to use cherry pie filling. For some reason cherry pie filling reminds me of Valentine’s Day, so traditionally this would be the wrong time of year to post this recipe, but we like to do random nice things for each other throughout the year rather than be stuck doing something just because a commercialized holiday says that we have to. (Sorry Hallmark, we aren’t buying into it.) There was also another dilemma, I called this pastry danish, he said it was more like a strudel, but both names give the wrong impression, so I will generalize it and call it a braided pastry.
Right now my husband is at work, and it is going to be another late night. Knowing this I wanted to have this waiting when he got home. At this point he hasn’t tasted it, but of course I had to take a bite. Do you really think I can give it to him before I try it? I absolutely detest cherry pie filling. I always have, but I am pretty sure I admitted out loud, even though no one was around, that they cherry filling made this pastry absolutely amazing! I know that he will be pleasantly surprised. No need to wait until Valentine’s day to surprise someone you love with a little sweet treat, or you could just eat it alone, and indulge your inner foodie. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
UPDATE: My sweetheart got home from work and had a grin from ear to ear when he saw the dessert I had waiting. When he tasted it all the “Ooommmaaaagawww” expressions were there, right down to closing his eyes. Since he doesn’t over exaggerate just to make me happy, and is honest about what he likes and doesn’t like, I would have to say, “We have a winner!”
Cherry Sweetheart Braid
By Angie Gouchenour
4 ounces cream cheese – room temperature
5 Tablespoons Sugar 2.0 or sweetener of your choice
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg yolk (save the white to wash the top)
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring or extract
2/3 cup cherry pie filling
1/2 Tablespoon butter- room temperature
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
Prepare pie crust according to directions. (I use my hands to make sure there are fairly large chunks of butter, about almond to pea size) Chill for at least 4 hours to overnight.
After chilling roll half of the crust into a rectangle. Fold in thirds. Roll out again, fold in thirds and chill again for at least one hour. (Repeat)
NOTE: If you are careful and roll the dough, and fold it in a nice square, you will get more pieces out of it because you won’t have to cut parts of the dough to make a rectangle. 🙂
Preheat oven to 420’f
While the dough is chilling combine room temperature cream cheese with sugar, cocoa powder, egg yolk, and vanilla. (Generally I hand mix, but using an electric mixer is necessary to make the mixture as creamy as possible.)
Remove one portion of dough from the refrigerator and roll into a rectangle. Cut the corners of the top of the triangle at an angle leaving about an inch between the two sides.
Using a knife make cuts at an angle down each side
Place half of the cream cheese filling down the center
On top of the cream cheese gently spoon ½ (1/3 cup) of the cherry pie filling down the center. Approximately two cherries side by side all the way down
Gently fold one strip over the filling, alternate sides all the way down
Place the braid on a non-stick cookie sheet, wash top with leftover egg white
Cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until lightly browned
Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack
Combine butter and powdered sugar together for the glaze
Spread half of the glaze on the cooked braid when slightly warm
You can either assemble the second braid while the first is cooking or keep the first in the fridge until the second is done. Either way it is crucial that the pastry be kept cold until it is cooked.
NOTE: Unless you are feeding several people I wouldn’t make both at the same time. This type of pastry tends to get soggy if it sits over night. 🙂