Banketletter or Banketstaaf (Puff Pastry filled with Almond Paste)

This recipe is the result of a freezer cleanup. You know when freezers get overstuffed with dough, fillings, buttercreams and in my particular case: veggies? You use half of a certain dough recipe and freeze the rest for a rainy day. Or you use half a bag of veggies and don’t look at the remainder again until you dig into the back of your freezer drawer.. I really needed to make room in my freezer and I found some puff pastry leftover from my birthday and almond paste which I had made for my previous recipe for filled speculaas. 1+1=2 and puff pastry+almond paste=banketletter! Absolutely delicious and perfect to bake on that rainy day 😉

This is another Dutch Sinterklaas treat… I know, I already have so many on the blog! But I can’t get enough. Sinterklaas bakes are just perfect. In my mind, the period around Sinterklaas is inherently “gezellig” (cosy) and any food related to it just releases those relaxing hormones (or something..).
This is a fairly easy recipe; I made my own “base ingredients”, but you can use shopbought if you don’t feel like folding your own pastry or whizzing up your own paste. I would recommend adding some lemon or orange zest to the paste in any case, for that extra bit of flavor! You can also use this recipe to make a “christmas wreath” or two “banketstaven” (directions underneath the recipe), but I always get a lot of fun out of shaping it into a letter. Okay, an E or an F might be difficult, but you could always go for the S of Sinterklaas, as many professional bakers do. I hope you’ll enjoy this buttery, flaky treat! 
 
Banketletter Recipe
 
Tools: pastry brush
 
Ingredients:
 
300    gr puff pastry 
300    gr almond paste
1       egg, beaten
 
1. Preheat the oven to 225C/440F.
 
2. On a lightly floured working surface, roll the puff pastry out to a rectangle a little bigger than 40 x 10 cm. Trim the sides to make it an exact 40 x 10cm. If you’re using separate sheets of pastry, pile them onto eachother and proceed to roll it out.  
 
3. Roll the almond paste out into a 37 cm long strand. Place it into the centre of the dough. Brush edges of the dough with a little water and roll the whole thing up. Seal the roll by pinching the seam and the ends.
 
4. Lightly spray a baking sheet with some water and place the banketletter onto the sheet, shaping it into the desired letter as you go. Brush letter with eggwash.
 
5. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until it is a good golden brown.
 
6. Once baked, leave on the sheet for about 10-15 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely (or eat it warm!). 
 
Variations:
Banketstaaf: Cut the longer roll into two pieces, seal the ends and bake as above.
Christmas wreath: Shape roll into a circle, seal the ends together. Decorate with glacé cherries, flaked almonds and candied peel. Bake as above. Brush with a little heated apricot jam once baked and cooled slightly.

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