Dairy-Free Cheese Danishes

There is a fascinating recipe for Pareve Cheese Flavor Crescents in Tzipporah Kreizman’s wonderful Delights of the Jewish Kitchen. They are super easy to make, there is absolutely no dairy involved, but they taste uncannily like cheese danishes. 


The recipe is fairly similar to the dough for the sour cream twists, except that the recipe calls for water and salted margarine instead of butter and sour cream. After refrigerating the dough for an hour and a half, the dough is divided up, and each portion is pressed out into a large circle. The circle is cut into wedges like a pizza pie, and each wedge is rolled up into a crescent shape.


The secret to these crescents is that they are dipped after baking  into a sugar syrup that is flavored with fresh lemon juice and lots of vanilla. The moisture from the syrup and the lemon/vanilla flavor give these pastries a taste that evokes cheese danishes.


Here is how they look on the inside:


I followed the recipe as it was written . . . well, mostly. I tried baking the crescents for the full 35 minutes suggested and also for a shorter bake time of 25 minutes. I think that 25 minutes is better. I also might add more liquid to the dough next time. Well, maybe. I definitely think the crescents need to be thoroughly soaked in the syrup. Otherwise, they are too dry. Especially if you bake them the full 35 minutes. I dipped the crescents briefly at first, but the syrup level did not seem to go down. Then I gave each crescent a second brief dip. I think a third dip is a good idea. You should use up the syrup.

Lighter crescents on left baked for 25 minutes, the darker ones on the right were baked for 35 minutes

Lighter crescents on left baked for 25 minutes, the darker ones on the right were baked for 35 minutes

I would imagine it is possible to make these vegan by substituting a cup of water for the four eggs.

I tried adding toasted almonds to these danishes, but I’m not sure it is worth it. They are perfectly fine plain.


This will be going out to Nick at Imafoodblog for BBD #23 and to Nick at Macheesmo for Yeastspotting.

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12 Responses to “Dairy-Free Cheese Danishes”

  1. Julia @ Mélanger Says:

    I can’t believe the beautiful texture inside these Danishes. Absolutely wonderful! I so must make these…..though not sure if I can read the entire recipe in the attachment. Will give it a go!

  2. Yeastspotting 8.21.09 | Macheesmo Says:

    […] Dairy-free Cheese Danishes […]

  3. Madam Chow Says:

    Oh, that dipping syrup sounds fabulous. And I love the idea of the cheese taste without all the calories!

  4. Mimi Says:

    Your rolls turned out so pretty. Every time I try to make similar things like rugalach, mine turn out deformed! Good job rolling them so perfectly!

  5. Stefanie Says:

    The danishes are perfect! The sirup sounds great!

  6. pragmaticattic Says:

    Julia–If you are having trouble reading the recipe from Google Books, I will be happy to send you the recipe.

    Madam Chow–Yeah, you save calories on not having the cream cheese, but I am not so sure these are diet food . . . (I like your thinking, though!)

    Mimi–deformed rugelach? Really? Yeah, actually I have that problem too. Truthfully, it is much, much easier to make rugelach in one big jelly roll and then cut them into individual slices before baking (or after). No more deformed crescents!

    Stefanie–the lemon vanilla syrup is fantastic. It would be great in other applications, too, I think.

    Thanks, everyone, for such nice comments.

  7. sara Says:

    Looks great. How interesting that the vanilla and lemon glaze give a cheese flavor. Thanks for joining us for this month’s BBD!

  8. lisamichele Says:

    Laura, those are absolutely gorgeous! I thought I was looking at photos from a high end patisserie you visited! They look absolutely perfect and delicious! I couldn’t participate in the last BBD due to my camera breaking, and after all the work I planned on doing (mixed starter Pain d’ Epi’s), to not get good photos would have been a crime!

    That said, I wiuld eat every one of those Danish, every flavor, in a nano second!!

  9. lisamichele Says:

    Umm..I meant WOULD, not wiuld..lol

  10. Israeli Kranz Cakes: Chocolate Halvah and Orange Date Almond « Pragmatic Attic Says:

    […] come out of the oven. Instead of using just sugar and water, I added in lemon juice and vanilla (see dairy-free cheese danishes). For the chocolate halvah loaf, I also sprinkled over a drop of Amaretto and a sprinkle of […]

  11. Are You Serving Dairy on Shavuot? Pareve Cheese Danishes « Pragmatic Attic Says:

    […] couple of years ago, I made really delicious “cheese” danishes. Completely pareve, they get their cheese-ey flavor from being dipped in a vanilla-lemon scented […]

  12. Vanilla Rugelach | Pragmatic Attic Says:

    […] A variation on the Chocolate Rugelach recipe. The vanilla version is partly inspired by the pareve cheese flavor crescents from Tzipporah Kreizman’s Delights of the Jewish Kitchen and partly inspired by the Lil Miss […]

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