Porto's Copycat Cheese Rolls
Updated: Mar 5, 2021
Flakey buttery crunchy savory sweetness! It's like a cheese cake stuffed inside of puff pastry!
I've been hearing so much about Porto's bakery in L.A. and seen so many people order their frozen pastries to bake at home. My good friend Debra, who grew up in Southern California, ordered some cheese rolls for me to try out! I decided to make a copycat of this puff pastry treat! I mean, I love cream cheese filling, cheesecakes and puff pastry, so how could I not fall in love with the Porto's cheese rolls! So here's my take on this tasty treat!
What is puff pastry? It is a laminate dough where thin layers of butter is created by repetitively folding and rolling to create hundreds of layers. Thin layers of butter browns and crisps up the pastry when baked. It is similar to a croissant with the exception that there is no yeast used to create a puffier pastry.
In order to produce a really tasty puff pastry, I will be using a higher butterfat content butter. In my local supermarket I can find the Kerrygold, which is an Irish butter and contains a higher butter fat. This will produce a very flakey crust for our puff pastry. You can use pre-made puff pastry instead of making your own, but keep in mind that most pre-made puff pastry are not made with 100% butter. It is usually some butter, if any, shortening or other fats.
My recipe and methods are all hand produced for this recipe so that everyone can make it at home. You do not need any special equipments.
Okay, my first attempt a making a "quick puff pastry" was a fail. Not completely, but I did not achieve the separate flakey layers with the frozen butter shredded into tiny pieces. So in my next attempt, I will be rolling the really cold butter into the dough instead of incorporating them into the flour in tiny pieces. In the meantime the puff pastry from the super market produced a very beautiful golden brown crust and flakey layers. What it is missing is the butter flavor factor. But for a homemade quick copycat of the Porto's cheese roll; it's not bad at all! And I promise I will be back with a better homemade puff pastry so that we get that buttery goodness that the Porto's cheese roll has. I'm a woman on the mission now! Wish me luck!
Puff Pastry Ingredients Yields 9-12 (Skip if using pre-made from the grocery store. I've also modified instructions for rolling the butter between the dough instead of the method I used in my YouTube video. New video with the new method coming soon!)
2 cups AP flour
12oz high fat butter (3 sticks from fridge)
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup ice water (may or may not use it all)
Cream Cheese Filling
1-8oz cream cheese package (room temperature, not whipped)
4 tbsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar (mild sweetness, increase to 3/4 cup if you like it sweeter)
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup Baker's Sugar (large crystals)
Making the puff pastry....
Combine flour, salt and water. Add water little by little until dough just starts to come together. Do not over water! Each flour brand is different and it's intake of water will vary more or less.
Shape dough into a square and wrap up. Refrigerate for 1-hour.
After resting and chilling the dough for an hour; dust rolling surface and roll dough out into a larger rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
Slice chilled butter sticks in half and lay them in the center. Wrap dough around the butter like a square envelope.
Use a rolling pin and lightly press down on dough and butter layer.
Roll dough out (12x12) and this time fold dough in thirds like a letter. Then again in thirds to create a square again. Chill dough for another hour or two.
Remove dough from fridge and repeat rolling and folding twice. Chill again. Repeat one more time and it's ready for use at this point with minimal layers of lamination.
If you want really big puffs, repeat the chill, roll and fold a few more times and let dough rest overnight before using in your baked goods.
Cream Cheese filling....
Place the room temperature cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Regular cream cheese not whipped. Cream together the cream cheese, butter, salt and sugar till smooth.
Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
Place in a pastry bag or ziplock bag for easy filling later.
Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before use.
Egg Wash Glazed...
Mix together the egg and water to produce the egg wash applied before baking. Keep in fridge until it's time to use.
Putting It All Together....
Dust working surface. Roll ready made or homemade puff pastry out 1/4 thick. Divide dough into 3 or 4 strips that are 3-inches wide.
Take the pastry bag of cream cheese filling and drawing a line of filling down the middle of each strip.
Roll one side of pastry dough over the filling. Thinly apply water on the other unrolled end of the pastry dough and finish rolling the dough.
Gently flatten the rolled dough lightly.
Make a diagonal cut at one end of the roll and measure out 3.5-4 inch pieces cutting diagonally. Should be able to get 3 pieces of pastry from each rolled dough.
Homemade pastry dough will produce 12 cheese rolls and store bought single sheet will produce 9 rolls.
Once done, pastries will need to be chilled again for 20-30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 400°F. When it comes to temp, allow oven to continue to heat up for 5-10 minutes before adding the cheese rolls.
Apply egg wash and sprinkle baker's sugar crystals to tops of cheese rolls right before baking.
Bake rolls for 18-20 minutes. At the 15-minute mark; watch your pastry because depending on your oven, they can be ready and golden brown earlier than expected. All ovens are different so watch yours at the 15-minute mark. Convection function works at the same temperature...my oven automatically reduces the 400°F to 375°F. Timing varies and the pastry will bake faster!