With guests coming over for the holidays, it’s always fun to have a menu that includes sweet treats that everyone will like. So, yes, lots of chocolate but also desserts with a lighter flavor. I happen to love anything with fruit in it. That’s why I like making these Lemon Zest Cream Cheese Pastry with Candied Lemon treats. They are fragrant, bright and delicious. Plus, so easy to make!
If you love to have friends and family over but worry that your cooking skills didn’t carry through from Mom to you, don’t worry! There are so many recipes that will “wow” your guests that won’t have you googling every ingredient or technique. Plus, you will find the ingredients at your local grocery store.
The other suggestion that I have for you when it comes to choosing recipes, is find one that you can use as a base for your dish. Kind of like making chocolate chip cookies but only using the batter and then adding your favorite items to be included in the cookie. So, for example, making cranberry, white chocolate and pistachios in the batter makes a completely different cookie than chocolate chips. This cream cheese pastry recipe allows you to do the same thing. Make the recipe as is, but instead of lemon juice, substitute apple cider and chopped apples sauteed in butter and cinnamon to the cream cheese mixture. Be creative. Really no wrong choice!
Now, back to this recipe. I always use fresh lemon juice rather than bottled. It just tastes better to me. I increased the lemon flavor by adding the zest and making candied lemon rings. Now, the latter sounds so difficult to do but is really easy. It just needs a little time to harden once they have had their lemon sugar bath. It’s a pretty touch to the dish as presentation does matter, in my opinion. Remember the expression, “You eat with your eyes”? True, right?!
The steps for the recipe are pretty straight forward. Blend the cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice and zest together. In a 9 x 13 inch pan, line with aluminum foil which you have prepped with cooking spray. Take the crescent roll dough from one container and lay in pan. It will look like it won’t reach the edges. All you need to do is to press the dough into the pan and it will easily cover the bottom of the pan. Add the cream cheese filling, spreading across the dough.
Now, to add the top layer from the second crescent roll tube, I would suggest laying it out on a cutting board. That way you can press the dough out so it will cover the cream cheese center. Once you have done this step, carefully place the dough over the filling. It will puff up as it bakes.
Now, melt the butter, sugar and lemon juice and brush gently across the dough. This will give a nice glistening sheen to the pastry once its baked. I used a silicone brush as it makes clean up so easy and leaves no fibers behind.
After the pastry comes out of the oven, let it rest for 20 minutes.
Then using the tin foil, remove the dessert from the pan, placing on to a cutting board so you can cut it. It’s easier to do now rather than once it is cooled.
My final touch is the candied lemon. It is such an easy step that makes for pretty presentation. Plus, I always like putting the main ingredient somewhere on the dish so that guests know what the flavor is before trying it.
I hope you enjoy this Lemon Zest Cream Cheese Pastry with Candied Lemon recipe for your next gathering. Wishing you a happy holiday season!
- 2 8 ounce cans crescent roll dough
- 2 8 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese bricks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 lemons, juiced; zest from one lemon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 lemon, sliced in 1/8 inch rounds
- Preheat oven to 375
- Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray.
- Lay one can of crescent roll dough across bottom of pan, spreading dough to edges of pan.
- Mix cream cheese, sugar and juice of two lemons and zest from one into mixture. Gently spread filling cross first layer of dough.
- Top with second can of crescent roll dough. Before putting on filling, gently stretch dough on cutting board to fit over top of dessert. Lay across filling.
- Melt butter, lemon juice and sugar mixing till incorporated. Brush across top of dough.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until top is light brown in color.
- Remove from oven. Let cool 20 minutes.
- Take pastry out of pan using foil to place on cutting board. Cut into squares or triangles. Return to pan in foil. Refrigerate.
- Warm water and lemon juice, adding sugar. Stir gently till sugar is dissolved.
- Add lemon slices. Turn occasionally. Cook for 14 -16 minutes or until rinds are softened.
- Remove lemon from pan and place on wax paper. Cool for an hour. Then put in refrigerator for two to twenty four hours.
- Leave whole or slice into quarters.