Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Say cheese!

Sometimes, it's the things you are most resistant to that end up being your absolute favorites. I call this the "Green Eggs and Ham" principle. (In an unrelated note, if you like Dr. Seuss classics reinterpreted in hilarious ways...with here. It's worth it.)

I sampled my first cheese Danish when I was 12, under duress.

I had no interest in trying what was explained to me as a doughnut filled with cheese. (The small picture of a wedge of Swiss on the side of the bakery box didn’t help my somewhat vivid imagination.) I'm not sure why anyone would think this was the way to go. It's kind of like offering a cupcake with gravy.

But try it I did. And there was no going back. My refrigerator is never without cream cheese. I use it in everything. You'll see it make more than one appearance in this blog. In fact, I think it's already shown up a few times. I have trouble getting enough protein in my diet, and cream cheese offers me a delicious way to up the number of grams I get in a day. If you have a seriously picky eater, adding some cream cheese to his mashed potatoes or Kraft macaroni could give you a little piece of mind about rounding out his diet.

Something sweet is usually a much easier sell than something savory, however. And as a breakfast food, a good cheese danish is hard to beat. It's got dairy, protein, carbs, a solid foundation for a morning of work or school, especially if paired with a glass of juice.

If you are meeting, or think you might meet, similar resistance when you serve this delicious concoction, feel free to call it what my nephew does: white frosting pizza. I don’t intend to correct him for at least five years.

1 pizza crust
1 T. butter
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ c. sugar
1 T. vanilla
1 egg
2 T. butter
2 T. brown sugar
¼ c. flour
½ c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pizza crust on baking sheet. Spread with butter. Bake 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg. Spread over crust. In another bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and flour. Sprinkle over cheese mixture. Bake 10-15 minutes, until crust begins to brown, but the cheese is just beginning to set. Remove and cool. The cheese will set up more.

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Drizzle over cooled pizza. Slice and serve.


Jeweled Danish – Spread 1 c. blueberry or cherry pie filling over c cheese layer before sprinkling with streusel. Bake 15 minutes.

Lemon Cream Danish – Omit streusel. After baking the cream cheese layer, spread with ½ c. lemon curd. Sprinkle with flaked almonds. Replace vanilla in icing with lemon juice.

Extra Extra!!

Where in the world does Danish pastry come from? – Actually, it’s Austria. If you walk into a bakery in Denmark and ask for a Danish, you’ll get some funny looks. Ask for some “bread of Vienna” though, and they’ll know just what you want. Why? According to, the answer lies in a kitchen workers’ strike in 1880, when bakers walked off the job and were replaced by Viennese masters whose pastries were ultimately lighter and flakier than their Danish colleagues’ treats. When the bakers came back to work, customers were clamoring for the Viennese delicacies and savvy chefs had to learn to make them the same way. Those wily Danes weren’t melancholy for long. They got the last laugh since no one ever orders a cheese Austrian with their morning coffee.

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