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Made with puff pastry, sweetened cream cheese, and fresh apples, this apple danish is an impressive breakfast or dessert. Drizzle with icing for an extra-special treat!
A while back I made a peach danish for work, and ever since I have not been able to get the idea of an apple version out of my mind.
I’m glad it happened, because this gorgeous apple danish is perfect for all of our upcoming fall weekends.
You might think that danishes are really hard to make at home. I did, too, until I realized while there are multiple steps, they’re all very easy.
Plus, with puff pastry as the base, you’ve got the best shortcut taken care of!
My homemade apple danish is topped with sugar for a bit of sparkle, then drizzled with a simple icing and topped with sliced almonds. It might seem over the top, but it’s so good.
Flaky, sweet, and filled with spiced apples, this danish never fails to impress. You’re gonna love it!
Ingredients for apple danish
Apples – I used two Pink Lady apples for this recipe. You can use any apple you prefer.
The apples should be cored and sliced thinly. Peeling is up to you!
Cinnamon – For me apples and cinnamon go hand in hand! You can use less if you don’t like a strong cinnamon flavor.
Sugars – This recipe uses granulated sugar and brown sugar in the fillings, and coarse sugar and powdered sugar for the toppings.
If you like, you can use more granulated sugar in place of the brown sugar. The coarse (or sparkling) sugar can also be omitted.
Butter – I use a small amount of butter for cooking the apples down with the brown sugar.
Cream cheese – Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature before making this recipe, as it needs to be soft to mix and spread.
You can also use low fat cream cheese, sometimes labeled as neufchatel cheese.
Egg – You will use the egg yolk and egg white separately.
Vanilla – Vanilla is added to the cream cheese filling. I always recommend using pure vanilla extract rather than imitation.
Milk – Used for making the icing. Regular 2% milk is fine, or you can swap in whatever milk you have on hand. If you’re using plant-based milk, make sure it is plain, unsweetened milk!
Salt – Just a pinch of salt is added to the cream cheese filling.
How to make this recipe
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
If you’re using frozen puff pastry, thaw it according to package directions. If your puff pastry is refrigerated, keep it chilled until ready to use, per the package.
Core, peel, and slice your apples. You want the apples to be sliced thin, about 1/8 inch.
In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Stir to coat the apples, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until apples are softened but not mushy. The amount of time will depend on the apples you use and how thinly they are sliced.
Set aside to cool slightly. If you like, you can make the apples ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Put the softened cream cheese and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat until smooth.
Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Beat again until smooth and creamy.
Unroll your puff pastry onto a sheet of parchment paper, and place another sheet on top. Roll the pastry out gently until it’s about 10×16 inches.
Remove the top sheet of parchment and transfer the pastry with the bottom parchment to a baking sheet.
Spread the cream cheese mixture lengthwise down the middle, leaving about a 2-inch border on the sides and 1-inch border at the bottom. I recommend using an offset spatula for this step!
Spoon the apples on top of the cream cheese, leaving a border of cream cheese. This will help to fold over the pastry.
Use a paring knife or kitchen shears to cut the dough into strips on the diagonal on both sides. If using a knife, take care to not cut through the parchment paper.
Starting at the top, fold strips in toward the center, stretching the dough slightly to make the strips overlap. Tuck in the bottom and top.
Brush with egg white (this helps it bake up a glossy brown). Sprinkle on coarse sugar or sparkling sugar.
Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and filling is bubbly.
Let cool to room temperature.
You can serve as it is, or add more finishing touches.
Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until you have a smooth, pourable icing.
Drizzle evenly over the top. Sprinkle on sliced almonds or chopped nuts.
Let the glaze harden before serving, or serve immediately.
If you like, you can omit any of the toppings. I do recommend using the icing if you plan to add the sliced almonds, however, as the icing makes the almonds stick to the pastry.
You can swap the almonds for other chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans.
Try this recipe using fresh peaches or your favorite fruit filling.
Add other spices along with the cinnamon, like nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, or ginger. You can also use your favorite apple pie spice blend.
Can I use apple pie filling in this recipe?
Yep! If you want to save some time, swap in a can of apple pie filling. You’ll need a 20- or 21-ounce can, depending on what’s available at your store.
You can also use homemade apple pie filling.
Help, my puff pastry is cracking!
In order to be able to shape the danish braid, you need to let your puff pastry rest a bit at room temperature.
If you are using a frozen puff pastry sheet, it will need to thaw for about 20 minutes.
Refrigerated puff pastry rolls do not need to sit out and usually can be used directly from the refrigerator.
Be gentle while shaping the danish and do not stretch the dough too hard, or it can crack or tear.
My puff pastry can’t fit all of this filling!
Puff pastry sheets can vary in size. I recommend rolling yours to about 10×16 inches.
If your dough would be too thin rolled to that size, you can make two smaller danishes instead.
You can also cut the pastry into rectangles and make individual braids.
Storage and reheating
This apple danish can be stored at room temperature, wrapped or in an airtight container, for about 2 days.
If you do not plan to eat it within 2 days, I recommend storing it in the refrigerator.
I wrap the danish in two layers of foil or cling wrap and then slice off portions as desired.
The danish tastes great cold, so there’s no need to warm it unless you want to!
You can rewarm the entire danish, or individual slices, in a 350°F oven until heated through. Individual slices will take about 5 minutes, while the whole danish will take longer to warm.
Keep in mind that if you used icing on the danish, it will melt as you heat it.
Make this delicious apple danish for a special breakfast this weekend!
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- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced thin
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cream cheese filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon coarse sugar, optional
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar, optional, for glaze
- 1 1/2 teaspoons milk, optional, for glaze
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, optional
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Thaw frozen puff pastry per package instructions, or keep refrigerated as directed.
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir to coat apples. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the apples are softened, but not mushy. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together softened cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, and salt.
- Unroll puff pastry onto a sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment on top and gently roll out the pastry to about 10×16 inches. Remove the top sheet of parchment and transfer the pastry to a baking sheet.
- Spread cream cheese mixture lengthwise down the middle of the pastry, leaving about 2 inches on each side and 1 inch on the bottom. Spoon apples on top.
- Use a paring knife, kitchen shears, or pizza cutter to cut diagonal strips on both sides of the pastry.
- Starting at the top, fold the strips over toward the middle, stretching gently to overlap pieces. Work your way down to the bottom, then tuck in bottom and top of pastry.
- Brush egg white over the pastry. Sprinkle on coarse sugar if using.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before serving.
- Once pastry is cooled to room temperature, whisk together powdered sugar and milk in a bowl until you have a smooth, pourable glaze.
- Drizzle over the top of the apple danish. If using almonds, sprinkle on top.
- Let glaze harden before serving, or immediately.
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.
I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…