Cranberry Orange Breakfast Pastries are the perfect Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving brunch item, or the perfect way to use up that leftover cranberry sauce when the Thanksgiving feasting is over!
When it comes to Thanksgiving, we Americans tend to obsess over the main feast–the turkey, the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sides. But since breakfast is the best meal of the day IMHO, I’m just as concerned with how we’re fueling ourselves for the cooking. Let’s make sure we get our Thanksgiving eating off to a good start, ok?
These cranberry orange cream cheese breakfast pastries are pretty much the best way to start off your Thanksgiving day. You can prep all of the ingredients ahead of time, then assemble and bake just before you need them.
Alternatively, they can also be a great way to use up any leftover cranberry sauce you might have. Or whip up a batch of cranberry orange jam. Either way, they’re a delicious, festive, and beautiful pastry that come together rather simply.
How to Make the Breakfast Pastries
- Begin by preheating the oven to 400°F.
- Cut two 9″ sheets of puff pastry into 3″ squares and place all of them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You should have 18 squares.
- Beat the egg well and use a pastry brush to brush it over each square of puff pastry. This is called an egg wash.
- Next, use the tip of a sharp knife to score a square about 1/4″ inside the edge of each square of pastry. Make sure not to cut all the way through the pastry. It should look like there’s a small frame around the outside (see the photo below).
- Score an X in the center of each frame.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or the pastry squares have puffed up and are a light golden brown.
- While the squares are baking, beat together the room temperature cream cheese, zested orange peel, and sugar until it’s smooth.
- Add the rest of the egg from the egg wash and vanilla extract and stir until thoroughly mixed.
- Remove them from the oven and press down the center to make an indentation in the center. You may want to recut the score lines around the edges to prevent them from collapsing.
- Divide the cream cheese into the center of each pastry.
- Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes, or until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the cream is set and not jiggly in the center.
- After they’ve baked, allow the pastries to cool.
- While they’re cooling, combine the cranberries, sugar, orange zest, and orange juice.
- Cook the cranberries over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. They will begin to split and pop, then the mixture will gradually thicken. Make sure to stir so that the sauce doesn’t scorch.
- Spoon the cranberries over the cream cheese filling of each pastry.
- They’re now ready to serve! Puff pastry usually tastes the best the day it’s baked.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- You can either use pre-bought puff pastry or make your own with this Easy Puff Pastry, which comes together in just a few minutes!
- While I’ve included a recipe for the cranberry relish on top, this is a great way to use up any leftover cranberries you may have from Thanksgiving dinner!
- Cranberries are naturally high in pectin, a thickener, so you don’t have to add any thickeners to the cranberry sauce.
- You can make all of the components (puff pastry, cream cheese mixture, and cranberry sauce) ahead of time, then bake and assemble the pastries when you’re ready.
- The tiny ribbon of orange peel on top is just decorative and definitely not edible! Alternatively, you could make some beautiful sugared cranberries to garnish them with.
- 2 sheets of puff pastry
- 1 large egg
- 1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, soft and at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar
- Zest from one medium-sized orange
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Cranberry Sauce
- 2 cups whole, fresh cranberries
- 2/3 cup sugar
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2/3 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
Begin by preheating your oven to 400° F.
Cut the puff pastry sheets into 3″ squares and set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Beat the egg until well blended, then brush it over the top with a pastry brush. Using a sharp, pointed tip knife, score a line about 1/4″ inside each of the squares. Don’t cut all the way through the pastry. They should look like they have a frame around them. Use a fork to poke inside the frame several times–this will help the centers stay flatter while the edges puff up. If your pastry has gotten warm while working with it, put the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to let it chill.
While the pastry is chilling, make your cream cheese mixture. In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, orange zest and sugar until it is smooth. Next, add the vanilla and the rest of the egg from the egg wash and mix until it’s all combined.
Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and place it in the oven for 10-12 minutes. The pastries will be puffy and just starting to turn a light golden brown color. Remove it from the oven and use a spoon to press down the centers inside of the scoring lines.
Add about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture to the center of each pastry, spreading it into the corners with a spoon. Put the baking sheet back in the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes. The cream cheese will be puffy but not browned and the pastry should be a deep golden color.
Remove the pastries from the oven and spoon some cranberry mixture over the top of each.
These pastries are best eaten the day they’re made. However, if you’d like to make them ahead of time, bake them with the cream cheese centers then refrigerate. To serve them warm and freshen the pastry, pop them back in a 400° oven for 5-8 minutes, or until the pastry is looking warm and flaky again. Top with cranberries and enjoy!