Puff pastry and fresh berries combined with cream cheese are all you need for an EASY and simple berry pastry braid. It’s much easier than it looks. So simple and delicious for breakfast or dessert. You can’t go wrong whichever berry you choose.
Berries are calling to me, they are my absolute favorite, at least until peaches get here. I’ve been working on a Berry Pastry Braid recipe for weeks and after lots of experimenting, I have a pastry that is an amazing way to show off berries. If it’s not berry season where you are, this will still be delicious with berries from the grocery or frozen. The cream cheese filling and puff pastry will make up for less than perfect berries.
With several trials, all of which were tasty, everyone had a chance to sample and these have been a big hit. I’ve tried making it with all of the traditional berries, and everyone has a favorite. Some prefer just strawberries while I liked the combination of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.
Can you use Frozen berries
Frozen berries will work fine, just add them while they’re still frozen. You can also mix frozen and fresh. If berries are out of season then frozen is your best bet.
In one batch we did blueberries on one half and strawberries on the other, and it looked like the Fourth of July. Pick your favorite berries, and have fun. I had one bag of frozen blueberries from last summer to use up before it’s time to pick for this season and they were delicious.
This is not super sweet, so for me it’s perfect for breakfast or brunch. If you want it a little sweeter, sprinkle with powdered sugar or make a simple glaze with powdered sugar and milk to drizzle over the top.
What’s the best way to serve a berry pastry
We decided that we liked it best either warm or at room temperature. When reheated in the toaster oven, it was just as good as fresh out of the oven. You do have to let it cool when it comes out of the oven which may be the hardest part. The filling gets so hot that you can’t enjoy it if eaten right away.
What you’ll need
- Puff Pastry – The best brand that I’ve tried is Dufour, you can find it at Whole Foods. Pepperidge Farm will also work but I prefer Dufour which is made with butter and is flakier. Of course the better route would be to make your own which I’ve never tried. The Flavor Blender, walks you right through each step and makes it look pretty easy. She claims it’s much better than the frozen store bought ones.
- Cream cheese – Philadelphia brand is what I use.
- Powdered sugar – This is by no means scientific, but it seems like when I buy an off brand of powdered sugar, it tastes like soap. It might just be me, but I stick with name brands.
- Lemon and vanilla – I love the citrus flavor this adds to the cream cheese mixture and the richness of the vanilla.
- Berries – you can use any type of berry or a mixture. You can also use fresh or frozen. If frozen you don’t need to thaw them first.
- Demerara sugar and and egg white to brush over the top.
Step by step directions
Step 1: Combine cream cheese with lemon juice, powdered sugar and vanilla.
Step 2: Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle and spread the cream cheese mixture down the center leaving about 4 inches on each side. Cut each side into 1 inch strips. Top the cream cheese layer with berries.
Step 4: Starting at one end, take a strip and fold it over at an angle, continue, alternating with each side. Top with an egg wash and sprinkle with Demerara sugar and bake.
What is Demerara Sugar
Demerara and Turbinado sugar are interchangeable, both can be used to top pastries. They are a partially refined cane sugar so the crystals are slightly larger and they have an amber color that makes them ideal for topping desserts and pastries. You can find them in the baking section of most groceries. I use it to top a Berry Crisp and Peach Crumble.
The end result is a breakfast or dessert pastry that you just have to try. Don’t worry about how pretty your braid is, you’re going to cut it into slices and no one will care if it’s not perfect.
FAQs and tips
Dufour is the best puff pastry because it’s made of butter. Trader Joe’s also is made with butter and is a much better value but it’s only available around the holidays. Pepperidge Farm is also fine especially if you are trying to make this recipe vegan ass it has no butter.
Yes, you can make this in advance and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake it. Wait to put the egg wash and sugar on the top until right before you put it in the oven.
Yes, let it cool completely before freezing. When ready to serve, let it that and place in the oven at 350º for about 5 minutes to crisp the pastry.
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Berry Pastry Braid
- 1 sheet Puff Pastry
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup berries blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
- 1 egg white
- demerara sugar
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- In a medium bowl add cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix with hand held mixer until smooth.
- Thaw puff pastry almost completely. Roll out onto a piece of parchment paper into a 14 x 11 inch rectangle.
- Place cream cheese mixture down the center of the pastry lengthwise in a row about 2 inches wide. Add fruit to the top of the cream cheese mixture.
- With a sharp knife, cut the side of the pastry into 1 inch strips on both sides of the cream cheese layer. Beginning at the top of the dough, take one strip and pull it over the cream cheese at an angle. Do the same on the other side. Continue until the filling is covered.
- Mix egg white with a teaspoon of water and brush onto the braid. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Place onto a Jelly Roll pan to catch any juices.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let cool before eating. Best warm or a room temperature.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can use all of one berry or any combination of berries.
- Frozen berries will work.
- If the dough gets too soft, put the entire braid on a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator for a few minutes.