These elegant dessert pastries are so easy to make, but no one will believe it! I've served the fruit-filled crowns at brunch as well as after dinner.
- 2 packages (17.3 ounces each) frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup cold butter
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 6 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons water
- Fresh raspberries, blackberries and sliced fresh strawberries, optional
- Thaw three puff pastry sheets (save remaining sheet for another use). Unfold pastry; cut each into four squares. Gently press squares into greased jumbo muffin cups, pulling corners up and out of cups; press corners down onto muffin pan.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle 1 heaping tablespoonful into each muffin cup.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs on low speed just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Spoon into pastry cups.
- Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until filling is almost set and pastry is golden brown. Cool completely on wire racks. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour or until set.
- For glaze, in a small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and enough water to achieve a drizzling consistency. Garnish crowns with fresh berries if desired; drizzle with glaze. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 1 dozen.
Originally published as Cheesecake Crowns in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2007, p56
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