I say simplicity because there is really not much to a banketstaaf, by the looks of it. A bit of puff pastry, a center of almond paste, and if you're lucky and get the more luxurious version, an almond on top. And yet it all its modesty, the banket gives you a feeling of well-being, of abundance, of comfort. It's sheer luxury to bite into the crispy, flaky top and taste the sweet, almond paste. Just look at people's faces when they take their first bite....Who can say "no" to that?!
Banketstaaf, or sometimes just called banket, is traditionally sold in the shape of a log or rod. If it's shaped like an M or an S, it's called banketletter. This recipe makes two 9 inch staven, or logs, that can be eaten cold or warm. It's a great gift to share, and fun for kids to help make. Or you can double the recipe, and while the other two banket are baking, put your feet up, pour a cup of coffee or tea and serve yourself a slice of the still warm banketstaaf you just made....A treat well deserved!
10 oz slivered almonds
10 oz powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm's puff pastry (box contains 2 sheets)
10 whole blanched almonds
Thaw the puff pastry sheet on the counter. In the meantime, pulse half of the slivered almonds with half of the powdered sugar in a food processor until the almonds have turned into rough meal. Do the same with the other half of the almonds and sugar. Mix the flours in a bowl, and add the teaspoon of lemon zest, the beaten egg (minus a tablespoon) and the almond extract. Knead to a pliable paste. Divide the amount in two halves and wrap each in plastic film. Refrigerate while you wait for the puff pastry to thaw. The almond paste can also be made a day or two in advance.
When the puff pastry has thawed, dust the counter with a little bit of flour. Unfold the puff pastry and carefully roll the dough out to a 9 x 9 inch square. Cut the dough horizontally in half so that you have two 9 x 4.5 inch pieces, with the long side towards you.
Heat the oven to 400F. Remove the almond paste from the fridge and roll each log, while still in the plastic wrap to a uniform log of about 8 inches long. Place it in the middle of one of the puff pastry strips. Carefully pull the top part of the dough over the log, and roll it towards you. Wet the bottom half inch of the dough with a little bit of water, and roll the dough tightly over the seam. Fold in the edges on each side so that the log is sealed. Do the same with the second log.
Put parchment paper on a baking sheet and place both logs on top. Press five almonds into the top of each log, and brush lightly with the remaining egg. Put the sheet pan in the fridge for ten minutes, then bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden and puffy.
Cool until warm, cut into slices and serve warm or cold. Goes great with a cup of coffee, some tea or hot chocolate!