Recipes - 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 Illustrated, Joy 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. I usually make individual breakfast pastries from this dough, but another option is a beautiful pastry braid like this raspberry pastry braid or today’s blueberry cream cheese version.

blueberry cream cheese pastry braid cut into pieces
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. (I use it for my regular breakfast pastries too.) Tastes like cheesecake! You need brick 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
Make the pastry dough. You can review it in detail in this pastry dough post.
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.
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!
2nd refrigeration. Wrap the laminated dough up tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
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.
Brush with egg wash. This is a combination of egg and milk and guarantees a shiny and crisp golden crust.
Chill. To help guarantee the braids hold their shape, chill them in the refrigerator as the oven preheats and even up to 1 hour.
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. Perfect if you’re looking for Easter brunch recipes to feed a crowd! (The filling and icing are enough for 2 braids, too.) 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!

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