This Cream Cheese Cherry Danish with Puff Pastry is a surprisingly simple and impressive homemade treat! It has golden brown, flaky puff pastry dough filled with an almond-flavored sweet cream cheese mixture and cherry filling, and the sweet pastry gets topped with sliced almonds and almond glaze. This cherry cheese danish recipe is so easy to make thanks to two store-bought ingredients - puff pastry sheets and cherry pie filling.
If you love this cherry danish, you'll also want to try these fruit and cream cheese puff pastry danish for smaller, individual variations.
The fruit danish pastry comes together in just a few minutes before getting baked into the perfect sweet for Christmas morning, a weekend brunch, Mother's Day, or Easter. It's a really versatile and easy recipe, and one of my favorite desserts. I like to display the whole danish kringle on a brunch or dessert table and then serve it in small pieces because it is very sweet and rich. Serve these danish pastries hot from the oven or at room temperature for brunch, along with your coffee, or as a dessert!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Semi-homemade - thanks to two store-bought ingredients, puff pastry and cherry pie filling, this danish braid recipe is mostly assembling the components, leaving most of the work to the oven.
Cherry almond flavor - this flavor combination is a classic for a reason. Juicy cherry pie filling tops almond flavored cream cheese filling, creating a tart, sweet, and creamy puff pastry cheese danish.
Buttery puff pastry - who doesn't love a crispy, golden puff pastry? It's much easier to use store-bought puff pastry than making a traditional danish dough, and there are lots of great frozen options at your local grocery store, and the result is flaky, brown goodness. You could also make your own homemade puff pastry recipe.
Customizable - the base recipe of this danish puff recipe is perfect for variations and substitutions. Swap out the cherry almond filling with other pie fillings for endless riffs on this danish puff pastry.
- Puff pastry. Use one sheet of store-bought puff pastry or a homemade rough puff pastry.
- Cherry pie filling. Canned pie filling is perfectly fine for this, though you can make your own cherry pie filling if you'd prefer.
- Cream cheese. Use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese at room temperature. The Philadelphia brand is best.
- Almond extract. This is added to the cream cheese danish filling to enhance the classic almond flavor.
- Powdered sugar. Used for the finishing glaze on top of the pastry.
- Sliced almonds. They add extra crunch and almond flavor to the cherry cheese danish.
See recipe card for full ingredients list and quantities.
Substitutions and Variations
- Substitute fresh fruit such as fresh raspberries for the cherry pie filling.
- Try blueberry pie filling in place of cherry.
- Swap strawberry pie filling for the cherry pie filling.
- Make an apple version using apple pie filling instead of cherry.
- Swap out crescent roll dough in place of the puff pastry for a doughier version.
How to Make This Recipe
One: Lightly roll out the puff pastry until it becomes a slight rectangle and is ⅛" thick.
Two: Cut the corners off of the top, and two triangles out from the bottom. Leave a strip in the middle of each side.
Three: Mix together the cream cheese, almond extract and powdered sugar until smooth.
Four: Spread the cream cheese down the center of the pastry, then top with cherry pie filling.
Hot tip! Try to scoop out mostly cherries and leave the thickened sauce behind.
Five: Cut 1cm strips diagonally along each side, almost meeting the filling.
Six: Starting on one end, cross the strips over each other, alternating sides.
Seven: Brush the pastry braid completely with egg wash.
Eight: Top the egg wash with sliced almonds. Bake completely until golden brown.
Nine: Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract.
Ten: Allow the pastry to cool slightly, then drizzle over the glaze and slice into 1" pieces.
Hot tip! Cut the pastry with a large chef's knife, pressing down and rocking back and forth to get clean slices.
- Don't cut the strips in too close to the filling, leaving about a centimeter border, or it may leak out of the pastry and burn in the oven.
- Refrigerate the whole thing for 15 minutes prior to baking if there is sticky dough or the pastry feels soft.
- Bake until the pastry is very golden brown.
- Wait at least 15 minutes to add the glaze or else it will melt off.
Preferably not. It is best enjoyed the day it is made.
While similar, traditional danish pastry dough is a yeast-leavened dough while puff pastry simply uses flour and butter to create flaky layers.
The center of each pastry won't become totally crispy due to being adjacent to the filling. However, if it seems very raw, simply continue baking the pastry braid until is has become more cooked.
Store the cherry danish at room temperature for one day. This recipe does not hold up well to storage, so it should be enjoyed the same day it is baked.
If desired, heat the danish in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer for a few minutes at 400℉ to re-crisp the puff pastry.
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Cream Cheese Cherry Danish with Puff Pastry
- mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Sheet pan
- Pastry brush
- 1 sheet puff pastry homemade or frozen
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ¾ cup cherry pie filling
- 1 large egg whisked
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 400℉ and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Roll out the puff pastry slightly, making it into more of a rectangle than square, then transfer onto the pan.1 sheet puff pastry
- Cut two small triangles out of one short end of the pastry, leaving a 3 inch section in the middle, and two one inch sections on each end. On the opposite end, cut off the corners match the center of the other side. See photo references in the blog post write up.
- In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and almond extract, then spread it down the length of the pastry. Then, carefully add the cherries on top.4 oz cream cheese, ⅓ cup powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon almond extract, ¾ cup cherry pie filling
- Starting on one long side, cut a slightly diagonal slice almost meeting the filling, spacing each cut every 1cm. Repeat the same on the other side.
- Starting with one end strip on the bottom, fold it over the filling, and do the same with the strip on the opposite side. Continue the entire way up the pastry until all strips are folded over.
- Brush the pastry with the whisked egg to cover completely, the sprinkle with sliced almonds.1 large egg, 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and puffy. Cool for 15 minutes.
- Mix together the powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract, then drizzle on top of the pastry.1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Use a sharp knife to cut the pastry into 1 inch pieces, and serve. Enjoy slightly warm or at room temperature.