2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1 block (225 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pkg (397 to 454 g) store bought puff pastry, defrosted.
- Using a vegetable peeler, pull long strips of peel and pith from one end of lemon to the other. Cut into strips about 1/4 inch thick. Bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil.
- When boiling add peel. Cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a bowl of cold water. Repeat this step 2 more times.
- Pour 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water into a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat. Heat until sugar dissolves. Add peel. Simmer until lemon is tender and mixture is syrupy, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove peel to a rack. Let cool completely. When cool, place 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Add peel and turn to evenly coat. Remove to a lightly oiled rack set over a baking sheet. Let cool and dry for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Finely chop half of lemon peel. Place cream cheese in a bowl. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat until smooth. Add all purpose flour, vanilla, 1 egg and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Beat on low speed until evenly mixed. Add chopped peel. Beat until evenly mixed.
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll out half of pastry over a lightly floured counter until 12 x 12 inch square. Cut into 4. Repeat with remaining piece of pastry. Arrange pastry squares over 2 parchment lined baking sheets. Divide and spoon cream cheese mixture over centre of each. Beat remaining egg in small bowl with a little water. Brush over edges of pastry. Working 1 pastry square lift 2 opposite corners and pinch together over cream cheese. Repeat with remaining pastries. Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes until chilled and firmed up.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Brush pastry tops with egg wash. Bake in centre of preheated oven until pastry is golden, about 16 to 20 minutes. Carefully press a few pieces of candied lemon peel into tops of warm pastries. Serve warm or at room temperature.