Sunday, December 15, 2013

Banketstaaf

It simply does not feel like Christmas without it. As soon as the banketstaaf hits the neighborhood bakery pastry case or the grocery store (which is right around Sinterklaas's arrival towards the end of November), there will be no way around it. At the office for the daily mid-morning cup of coffee, in the afternoon for that encouraging mug of hot tea, whenever you are presented with or have the opportunity to select something sweet, a tempting slice of banketstaaf will be there, in all its plain simplicity.

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!

Banketstaaf
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!



5 comments:

  1. Hi there. Thnx for posting this. It was incredibly easy to follow, and it was my first baking attempt, and so I wanted to give my Dutch roots a try! It tasted great-the texture of the filling was a bit dry. Also wanted to ask - was the 200 degree Farenhiet correct? I increased the temp on mine - maybe that's why it turned out dry?

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    1. Welcome! Glad you liked the flavor! The dryness depends on a lot of things, it could be the oven but also the size of the egg or whether you used powdered or granulated sugar. You want it sticking together enough to where you can roll it. If it's too sticky, rolling it in powdered sugar sometimes helps. I'm glad you turned the oven up, 200F should read 400F. I've corrected it in the text.

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  2. Thnx Nicole! I used powdered, but I'm thinking now it was probably the oven since I started at 200 for 10 minutes, then got to thinking maybe 200 was celcesius, so I adjusted to 400. I'm thinking my next batch will be perfect! I'll use a larger egg next time too.

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  3. Great post! We are running a Christmas photo challenge at the moment by which we hope to gather photos and descriptions of Christmas traditions from all around the world. If you'd like to participate, write a couple of sentences about Christmas in your country, send us a photo to represent it and we will publish the best entries on our blog with a link to your site. Sounds good? :) Here you will find more details: http://hitchhikershandbook.com/2013/12/21/christmas-traditions-around-the-world-photo-challenge/
    Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! :)

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  4. I made these for Christmas.... sooooo good. Big hit with everyone, even my wife who doesn't like marzipan.

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