I made a little thing that I have decided to call Easter Bread and I am pretty excited about it.
I am mustering every bit of my persuasiveness here and asking you to have an open mind and a welcoming palate as I sprinkle some sage into your Sunday morning breakfast.
No, sage does not often appear in the typical pastry case, but that does not mean that it shouldn’t.
By mingling sage with the ever-loved vanilla bean, we create a duo light and subtle as the tulle on those frilly Easter dresses of our childhoods.
This combination really is so fantastic, friends, and it simply teems with spring flair, hence my naming this odd little concoction “Easter Bread.”
Our vanilla bean and sage join sugar, eggs. mascarpone, and cream cheese to form a sweet cheese filling.
Yes, you could make these into hand pies or turnovers or anything you like, but I opted for a loaf shape for two reasons. First, I picture these being assembled Easter morning, prior to church, so time is likely of the essence and the less cutting and rolling the better! Second, I really wanted this treat to be all about the filling and this shape allows a perfect filling-to-pastry ratio.
One box of puff pastry should lend you two “loaves.”
As the pastry bakes, the cheese filling will set to a smooth, cheesecake-like consistency and we will get to work on the most delicious wild blueberry sauce.
This blueberry sauce is better than Easter candy. Truth.
The special something that makes this sauce so incredible is that vanilla bean pod leftover from our filling.
As the blueberry sauce simmers, the vanilla bean will give up all of its soft, sweet flavor.
Sliced, drizzled, and ready to serve!
Spring never tasted so wonderful.
makes two “loaves” // serves 8-10
FOR THE EASTER BREAD
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Madagascar vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 tablespoons fresh sage, roughly chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces mascarpone, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
egg wash (1 egg + 1 teaspoon cold water, whisked together)
all purpose flour, for the pastry
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Set puff pastry out to defrost. Prepare the filling.
Combine the vanilla bean contents, sugar and sage in the work bowl of your food processor and pulse until the sage is in fine pieces. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and mascarpone and beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed and beat in the sugar. Continue mixing on medium low speed and drop in eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is well combined.
Beat in vanilla extract and set the mixture aside.
Dust a large, clean surface with a light layer of flour and lay the first sheet of puff pastry out. Use a very sharp knife to divide the pastry, slicing from top to bottom, forming two large rectangles.
Place one rectangle on the prepared baking sheet and use a large spoon to place half of the filling down the center of the piece of pastry, being sure to leave a 3/4-inch margin around all sides. Top with the other piece of pastry and use the tips of your fingers to crimp the edges of the pastry.
Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.
Brush an even layer of egg wash over each “loaf” and bake for 25 minutes; until golden and crisp. Allow the pastries to cool until just warm before slicing.
In the meantime, prepare the sauce.
WILD BLUEBERRY SAUCE
6 ounces frozen wild blueberries
scraped vanilla bean pod
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup filtered water
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and set over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar has melted and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Once the mixture is simmering, reduce heat and simmer slowly for 10 minutes; until the mixture has become a thick syrup.
Allow the syrup to cool until just warm.
Slice the warm Easter bread into diagonal slices and drizzle with the blueberry sauce just before serving.
Cook’s Note: The Easter bread can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Do not slice or drizzle with blueberry sauce until you are ready to serve. To serve, preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place the Easter bread on a lined baking sheet and toast for 5-10 minutes; until warm. Slice and cover with sauce just before serving.