Blueberry Cream Cheese Pastry Braid

With layers of buttery flaky dough and a sweet cheese filling, this blueberry cream cheese pastry braid is undoubtedly irresistible. Though it seems intimidating, making breakfast pastries from scratch is completely doable for the home baker. Here we’re using a modified variation of classic Danish pastry dough. Follow these detailed instructions for success.

blueberry cream cheese pastry braid with icing

Have you tried this variation of classic Danish pastry dough before? It’s a quicker method to real Danish pastry and an adaption of several trusted sources: Cooking IllustratedJoy of Cooking, and pastry master Beatrice Ojakangas. I combined all of the recipes I studied to produce a shortcut version of the famously flaky buttery dough.


This is a Shortcut Homemade Pastry Dough

This is not the traditional method of making real danish pastry. This dough is usually laminated several times between layers of butter, similar to how we prepare homemade croissants. Here we are working the butter directly into the dough using a food processor. We’re still rolling out and folding the dough, just as you do when you laminate dough with butter, but we’re not folding it up with a separate layer of butter.

I use the term “shortcut” loosely. This dough still takes at least 5-6 hours total with 2 rounds of refrigeration. Pastries made from this dough are just as buttery, tender, and flaky. My favorite creations from this dough are pastry braids. I usually make a raspberry pastry braid, but craved a blueberry cream cheese version. I’m so excited for you to try this one.

blueberry cream cheese pastry braid cut into pieces

Video Tutorial

Follow the Pastry Dough Recipe Carefully

Though I include the information in this post as well, I encourage you to review the pastry dough post. We’re using that exact dough to make our blueberry cream cheese pastry braid. Are you new to working with yeast? Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide where I include practical answers to common yeast questions.


Cream Cheese & Blueberry Filling

Lightly sweetened, this creamy cheese filling is my favorite for pastries. Tastes like cheesecake! You need a block cream cheese, 1 egg yolk, granulated sugar, a little lemon juice, and vanilla extract. I dotted the cream cheese filling with blueberries for a burst of juiciness. You can skip the berries or replace with raspberries, blackberries, sliced peaches, or chopped apples or strawberries.

cheese filling for breakfast pastries

How to Make a Blueberry Cream Cheese Pastry Braid

  1. Make the pastry dough. You can review it in detail in this pastry dough post.
  2. 1st refrigeration. Wrap the sticky dough up tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours. This dough is very sticky and should be sufficiently chilled whenever you are working with it.
  3. Shortcut lamination. Now let’s do a variation of laminating aka rolling and folding dough and butter together. Remember when we made croissants and laminated the dough with a sheet of butter? The butter is IN this homemade pastry dough. So, instead, we’re just rolling and folding the dough itself. Roll it out into a rectangle. Fold it in thirds like a letter, then turn it clockwise. Roll it out into a rectangle again. Repeat the folding. Turn it clockwise again. Repeat rolling and folding 1 more time for a total of 3 times. Have extra flour on hand for this step– I use plenty of it during this whole process!
  4. 2nd refrigeration. Wrap the laminated dough up tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  5. Shape the pastry braid. This recipe yields 2 braids, so cut the dough in half. Refrigerate any dough you aren’t working with. Roll the half of dough into a 12×8 inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut off two corners of the dough (on one 8-inch side) and then two small triangles 3 inches apart from each other on the other end (the other 8-inch side). Spread 1/2 of the cream cheese filling down the center of the strip. Using a sharp knife, pastry wheel, or pizza cutter, cut 10 slanting strips along both sides. Fold strips over dough, alternating each side to resemble a twist or a braid. Fold the bottom end up to seal the filling inside. Repeat with 2nd half of dough and remaining cream cheese filling. Step-by-step photos below.
  6. Brush with egg wash. This is a combination of egg and milk and guarantees a shiny and crisp golden crust.
  7. Chill. To help guarantee the braids hold their shape, chill them in the refrigerator as the oven preheats and even up to 1 hour.
  8. Bake until golden brown.

Because of all the chilling, this pastry is a wonderful recipe to begin the night before and serve the next morning. Or even prep the dough a few days in advance so your work is cut down the day of serving. I include freezing and make-ahead instructions below.

Here are step-by-step photos after the 2nd refrigeration.

homemade laminated pastry dough

shaping pastry dough for a braid

shaping pastry dough for a braid

shaping pastry dough for a braid

shaping pastry dough for a braid

shaped pastry braid before baking

pastry braid after baking

Once the braid is finished, drizzle it with vanilla icing.

blueberry cream cheese pastry braid

blueberry cream cheese pastries

This Recipe Yields 2 Braids

This recipe yields 2 lbs of dough, which equals 2 braids. (The filling and icing are enough for 2 braids.) 1 braid serves 5-6 people. If you don’t need that many tempting pastries around, freeze the second half of the dough for a later time. That’s what I usually do!

Take some time to read through the instructions before you begin. That will make the whole pastry-making-process much easier for you. You can do this!

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blueberry cream cheese pastry braid cut into pieces

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pastry Braid

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 6 hours (includes chilling)
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 braids, 6 servings each
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Danish

Description

Follow these instructions to create a buttery crisp and flaky pastry braid at home.


Ingredients

Pastry Dough

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) warm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast (1 standard packet)*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature (between 68–72°F, 20-22°C)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50ggranulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14 Tablespoons (205g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (315g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for generously flouring hands, surface, and dough

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8oz (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (125g) fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
  • optional: 1/3 cup (40g) sliced almonds

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) whole milk

Vanilla Icing

  • 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) heavy cream or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preliminary note: To help guarantee success, I recommend reading through the recipe before beginning. I also detail this recipe in the separate pastry dough post. Do not use an electric mixer for this dough. It’s best if the dough is folded together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula since it is so sticky. There is very minimal mixing required.
  2. Make the Pastry Dough: Whisk the warm water, yeast, and 1 Tablespoon (6g) of sugar together in a large bowl. Cover and allow to rest until foamy on top, about 5 minutes. If the surface doesn’t have bubbles on top or look foamy after 15 minutes (it should if the yeast isn’t expired), start over with a fresh packet of yeast. Whisk in remaining sugar, the milk, egg, and salt. Once these wet ingredients are mixed together, lightly cover and set the bowl aside as you work on the next step.
  3. Cut the cold butter into 1/4 inch slices and add to a food processor or blender. Top with 2 and 1/2 cups flour. Pulse the mixture 12-15 times, until butter is crumbled into pea-size bits. See photo below for a visual. Using a food processor or blender is best for this dough. Keeping that in mind, if you don’t have one, you can use a pastry cutter to work in the butter.
  4. Pour the flour mixture into the wet yeast mixture. Very gently fold everything together using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Fold *just until* the dry ingredients are moistened. The butter must remain in pieces and crumbles, which creates a flaky pastry. Turn the sticky dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, parchment paper, aluminum foil, or into any container you can tightly cover.
  5. 1st Refrigeration: Wrap the dough/cover up tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours.
  6. Roll & Fold: Take the dough out of the refrigerator to begin the “rolling and folding” process. If the dough sat for more than 4 hours, it may have slightly puffed up and that’s ok. (It will deflate as you shape it, which is also ok.) Very generously flour a work surface. The dough is very sticky, so make sure you have more flour nearby as you roll and fold. Using the palm of your hands, gently flatten the dough into a small square. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a 15×8 inch rectangle. When needed, flour the work surface and dough as you are rolling. Fold the dough into thirds as if it were a business letter. (See photos and video tutorial.) Turn it clockwise and roll it out into a 15 inch long rectangle again. Then, fold into thirds again. Turn it clockwise. You’ll repeat rolling and folding 1 more time for a total of 3 times.
  7. 2nd Refrigeration: Wrap up/seal tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. You can also freeze the dough at this point. See freezing instructions.
  8. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Rimmed baking sheets are best because butter may leak from the dough as it bakes. If you don’t have rimmed baking sheets, when it’s time to preheat the oven, place another baking sheet on the oven rack below to catch any butter that may drip.
  9. Make the cheese filling: In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and egg yolk together on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla, then beat until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  10. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut it in half. Wrap 1 half up and keep refrigerated as you work with the first half. (You can freeze half of the dough at this point, use the freezing instructions below.)
  11. On a floured work surface, roll dough out into a 12×8 inch rectangle. You can roll out the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper or lightly floured silicone baking mat instead because you will transfer the shaped dough to a lined baking sheet next.
  12. Using a sharp knife, cut off two corners of the dough (on one 8-inch side) and then two small triangles 3 inches apart from each other on the other end (the other 8-inch side). See visual below.
  13. Spread 1/2 of the cream cheese filling down the length of the center of the strip, which should be about 3 inches wide. Dot with half of the blueberries (1/3 cup). Using a sharp knife, pastry wheel, or pizza cutter, cut 10 slanting strips (3/4 – 1 inch wide each) along both sides. Fold strips over filling, alternating each side to resemble a twist or a braid. Fold the bottom end up to seal the filling inside. Repeat with the second half of the dough and the rest of the filling. The braids may seem very narrow, but they puff up and out as they bake.
  14. Egg Wash: Whisk the egg wash ingredients together. Brush all over the dough. If you want a little crunch from almonds, sprinkle them evenly on top of the braids after brushing the dough with egg wash.
  15. I strongly recommend refrigerating the shaped braids before baking for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour before baking. The braids tend to leak more butter and/or lose more shape if they haven’t chilled.
  16. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  17. Bake each braid for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Some butter may leak from the dough, that’s completely normal and expected. Feel free to remove the baking sheets from the oven halfway through baking and brush the dough with any of the leaking butter, then place back in the oven to finish baking. (That’s what I do!)
  18. Remove baked braids from the oven and cool for at least 5 minutes before icing, cutting, and serving.
  19. Vanilla Icing: Whisk the icing ingredients together. If you want a thicker icing, whisk in more confectioners’ sugar. If you want a thinner icing, whisk in more milk or cream. Drizzle over warm pastries and serve.
  20. Cover leftover iced or un-iced pastries and store at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw before serving. Before enjoying, feel free to reheat leftover iced or un-iced pastries in the microwave for a few seconds until warmed.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare the dough as instructed in steps 2-4. At this point the dough can be refrigerated up to 48 hours. You can also prepare the dough through step 6. At this point the dough can be refrigerated up to 24 hours. During or after this second chilling time, you could also freeze the dough for up to 1 month. (I don’t recommend freezing the dough before the rolling and folding step.) Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then continue with step 8. You can also freeze the shaped and filled braids after shaping them in step 13. Thaw in the refrigerator, then continue with step 14.
  2. Temperature & Substitutions: The temperature of your ingredients is imperative to this pastry’s success. Make sure you take the time to warm the water and bring the milk to room temperature. Keep the butter in the refrigerator until you need it in step 3. I do not recommend any substitutions in this carefully formulated dough, though a lower fat or nondairy milk works in a pinch. For the egg wash, low fat or nondairy milks work, as do heavy cream or half-and-half.
  3. Yeast: You can use either active dry yeast or instant (quick rise) yeast. The instructions and amount are exactly the same no matter which you use. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  4. Halve the Recipe? I don’t recommend halving this dough recipe. Make the dough as written, then freeze half after step 10.
  5. Special Tools (affiliate links): Food Processor (I own and love this one), Pastry Cutter, Pastry Brush, Rolling Pin, Rimmed Baking Sheet
  6. Dough recipe adapted from Cooking IllustratedJoy of Cooking, and Beatrice Ojakangas

Keywords: blueberry cream cheese pastry braid, breakfast, pastries

Click through to learn how to make unbelievable cream cheese danish at home!

38 Comments

  1. I made this tonight, intended for Easter breakfast tomorrow, and my daughters already ate half of one. I wish I had added the almonds for a bit of bite in the texture, but one of my daughters dislikes them. It was still amazingly delicious (and warm) and I have to hold them all back from eating the other 1 1/2 (still warm). I’m eager to have some with coffee.

    Thank you for this. My eldest says it tastes like pancakes with a hug.

  2. Anne Johnson says:

    Sally. Oh. Sally. I made this last night, for Easter breakfast. I subbed cherry pie filling and cream cheese for the filling. It’s the best danish recipe EVER!!!! It’s so easy, and soooooo yummy!!! It’s our new favorite! Thank you so much!!!! Happy Easter!!!

    1. So glad you tried it! I have to try a cherry version soon. Enjoy!

  3. These look amazing! I’ll be trying them tonight to be served for breakfast tomorrow. Been studying the dough recipe for days! Quite nervous since it’s my first attempt. Wish me luck! 🙂

    1. Good luck! Take your time with it – glad you read through the recipe a few times before beginning. That, right there, spells success. Enjoy!

  4. Sally I just made this to take on a picnic tomorrow with my Hungry Hubby – we’ve only been married 4 years but we’ve been together for 14 on Monday se we’ve taken a long weekend off to celebrate. The pastry is amazing! The lamination is wonderful and it tastes sublime. I love the blueberry cheesecake vibe to it too. Thank you for sharing a wonderful recipe I can’t wait to make again! 😀

    1. So so glad you made and are loving this Jo! Thanks for reporting back. Have an amazing anniversary weekend!

  5. Haha whenever I’m browsing Pinterest for dessert ideas I always find myself back at your site Sally! It’s so awesome and everything looks so delicious! Especially this Danish.

  6. Absolutely love your danish recipe and so does my family… I actually made the cream cheese version and added your raspberry filling on top of the cream cheese filling instead of blueberries and skipped the glaze… was a total hit. Another time I made your raspberry filing using mixed berries, really yummy too. I have been making this recipe with varied fillings (apple, poppy, mixed berries) quiet frequently, next I want to try it with a nut filling (should be similar to a “bear claw”). Thank you so much for posting this recipe, like you stated I will never buy danishes again.

  7. Oh my goodness! This is, by far, the most delicious thing that I have ever made. Thank you so much for making this seem approachable. I never would have thought that I could have made something like this but your step-by-step instructions (and beautiful pictures) really made it easy. I feel like I can do anything in the kitchen now. Wonderful recipe! I sincerely appreciate it! 🙂

    1. thanks Michelle! I am so glad you gave this a try. great job making it!

  8. Fantastic, easy recipe. I’ve made this at least 5 times now with great results every time. The cream cheese filling is amazing and has gone well with a variety of fillings: fresh blueberries, apple cinnamon, and pumpkin. I get rave, and I mean RAVE, reviews from everyone who gets to sample these things. Thanks so much for taking the time to post such detailed instructions. Your recipes seriously make me look like a star baker!

  9. Sally, I made this and added cherry pie filling to the cream cheese filling for Easter brunch. It’s a delicious recipe, everyone loved it, and it will part of our holiday traditions in the future. It wasn’t too bad given your instruction. No more butter braids for us – we will be eating this!

  10. Wonderful! Your pictures and the detailed steps made this so doable. Made it for Easter and they couldn’t stop talking about it!

  11. Thanks for the great recipe! I made this with puff pastry dough that I had in the freezer and needed to use up and it turned out fabulously! In lieu of the glaze, I went for cinnamon sugar and it tastes wonderful!

  12. Yay yay yay! Thank you for the extremely detailed instructions and step-by-step photos (on the other page); they helped me successfully make a cheese danish!! I can’t believe how easy it was to make the puff pastry — something I previously thought only pro bakers did o_o!!! Thank you for giving a newbie baker like me some confidence, Sally! ^_^ 
    I will say, though, in case anyone else likes to cut sugar when they can… I made the dough with only 3 Tbsp of sugar, and cut the sugar in the cream cheese filling to 3 T as well, and to my tastebuds it was still very sweet! For my second danish braid I’m only going to use 2 T of sugar in the filling, and I think that will be just right for my not-so-sweet sweet-tooth. ^_^

  13. This is one of my favorite go-to recipes! I seem to have “just enough” for us to have this with breakfast, but then I find we are always wanting more so making the dough ahead and freezing a batch or two it is the best option. Thank You Sally!!

  14. Looking to make this for a 5 day camping trip. Will it keep ok? We have a fridge in our camper.

    1. That would be just fine. Have fun!

  15. Sally, this is our go-to holiday breakfast recipe. I’m wondering: can you make and freeze the whole braid? If you do so, should you defrost before baking? Maybe overnight in the fridge?

  16. Emily Wyngarden says:

    Most delicious thing I’ve ever made! Everybody was dying over it! Thank you so much! Just a tip for anybody, I used a cheese grater to grate the butter before adding it to the flour and it worked really good! Thank you so much!!

  17. Thank you for posting this!  The directions were easy to follow and ever so much easier than croissants!  These were delicious! A hit with the family!  They asked me to make them again today!  My daughter, who is 25, exclaimed,  “where have these been all my life?!”

  18. Could I sub cherries for blueberries? My mom wants a dessert with cherries and cheesecake and loves danish.

    1. Yes, absolutely! I recommend halving the cherries.

  19. If I prep it to the point where it’s all put together, do you think I can leave it in the fridge overnight so I can just put it in the oven to bake quickly in the morning? I want to bring it to a work event and have to leave early, but if it’s best eaten day-of, I don’t want to bake it the night before.

    1. Hi Kate! Yes, you can prep and shape the braid the night before then bake in the morning. It definitely tastes the best when it’s fresh-baked that morning.

  20. This recipe is AMAZING. I made this for Father’s Day because my dad loves blueberries and had just picked fresh ones. I doubled it-and I’m so glad I did -my dad ended up eating an entire danish himself over a few days!

    Do you think lemon curd would work in the recipe?

    Thanks!

    1. So glad to read this. Yes, lemon curd is a wonderful filling for this braid!

  21. Kim Billhimer says:

    I have made these plenty of times and love them . So does my family.

  22. Hi Sally,
    I am really excited to try this recipe! I was wondering if the whole milk could be substituted for 2% milk?

    1. Absolutely. (Whole milk provides a richer pastry, so use that next time!)

  23. I made these last weekend for my family and they are a HUGE hit! Thank you so much for the detailed instructions, Sally! One thing I noticed is that the written instructions don’t, I believe, tell you when to add the blueberries. However, when I reviewed your pictures with the printed recipe, I figured it out 🙂 Your recipes have been a staple in our home for months now, and I so appreciate all that you do!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Corinee, In step 13 it says after you spread 1/2 of the cream cheese, you dot with half of the blueberries. I’m glad you figured it out!

  24. I have the dough resting in the fridge right now! Very excited to try this.
    Sooo, how much creme patisserie does someone need to have left for 8 pastries and one braid? Particularly if we’re currently eating said creme pat with a spoon while it cools down.

    I see a lot of egg white omelets in my future.

  25. Do you have to use whole milk? I want to make this today but all I have is 2% milk in my house

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bethany, Definitely. I wouldn’t use a lower fat than 2% though.

  26. Hello! This is one of my absolute favorite recipes! I’ve made it dozens of times. But I’m curious if you’ve ever made it with sourdough starter instead of dry yeast.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laura, We haven’t tested this recipe with a sourdough starter. Let us know if you try it!

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