For the second day of baked treats, let us go to Holland. Also known as Banketstaven / Letterbanket, these Dutch letters were introduced in the US by Dutch immigrants, originated at Pella, Iowa. MAde with a flaky pastry or puff pastry, filled with a sweet almond paste or marzipan, these are pastries or cookies shaped in the form of initials of family members. But nowadays, the letter S is the most commonly available.
These cookies were made an year and a half back along with the tea time biscuits I posted yesterday. The pastry turned out amazingly crispy and flaky and the soft almond paste filling added to the texture. Usually Dutch letters are made huge. But with the dough to make one letter, I made two. But if you want to make it huge, then with the given measurements, shape one huge S on your tray. And if you don’t want to make the pastry from scratch, then go for ready made puff pastry sheets. But I would recommend the pastry made from scratch as they taste absolutely yum.
Recipe Source: Taste Of Home
Makes 2 Dutch Letters
For The Filling:
Almonds – 115 gm
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Almond extract – 1/4 tsp
For The Pastry:
Maida / All Purpose Flour – 200 gm
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Cold Butter – 200 gm
Ice Cold Water – 1/2 cup
Preheat oven to 200°C.
In a mixer jar take blanched almonds and grind until oil from the almonds bring it together.
Now add sugar and almond extract and pulse until it forms a crumbly dough.
Remove from the mixer jar, divide the dough into 2 portions and roll each into a thin log. Set aside.
In another bowl mix together flour and salt.
Add chilled cubed butter and rub them together until they look like bread crumbs.
Add cold water a tbs at a time to bring the pastry dough together.
Do not add all the water at once. Once the dough comes together but still remains crumbly, stop adding water.
wrap it in cling film and refrigerate until slightly firm.
Divide the dough into two portions.
Roll each portion into a thin rectangle long enough to place the almond log and wide enough to wrap the almond paste around.
Place the almond log inside and bring the sides together and pich to seal.
Now shape them into S shape.
Place them on a greased baking tray.
Bake them in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until the top is golden.
Remove from oven and let it cool until it is warm to touch and serve.