|Flaky yummy Dutch letters|
I've made Dutch letters once before, with traditional puff pastry. Today I tried it with the Jaarsma's Bakery recipe from midwestliving.com. I haven't decided yet if this method of puff pastry is easier, but it's different, and just as delicious. The pastry is puffy, flaky and crisp. I used leftover almond filling from my first try. The leftovers had been in the freezer for a couple of months, and it thawed and baked up great in these Dutch letters. If you're not afraid to spend a little time folding, rolling and forming the letters, don't be intimidated by this recipe. Even if they don't look perfect, they'll taste great.
Dutch Letters (Jaarsma’s Bakery Recipe)
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups cold butter (1 pound)
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 cup ice water
- 1 egg white
- 1 8 - ounce can almond paste
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
For dough, in a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt. Cut cold butter into 1/2-inch-thick slices (not cubes). Add butter slices to flour mixture; toss until slices are coated and separated.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together egg and ice water. Add all at once to flour mixture. Using a spoon, quickly mix (butter will remain in large pieces and flour will not be completely moistened).
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured pastry cloth or wax paper. Knead the dough 10 times by pressing and pushing dough together to form a rough-looking ball, lifting pastry cloth (or wax paper) if necessary to press the dough together. Shape the dough into a rectangle (dough still will have some dry-looking areas). Make corners as square as possible. Slightly flatten dough. Working on a well-floured pastry cloth, roll dough into a 15x10-inch rectangle. Fold 2 short sides to meet in center; bring top edge down to meet bottom edge to form 4 layers each measuring (rectangle will now measure 7-1/2x5 inches).
Repeat the rolling and folding process once more. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Repeat rolling and folding process 2 more times. Chill dough for 20 minutes before using.
For filling, in a small bowl, stir together egg white, almond paste, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a sharp knife, cut dough crosswise into 4 equal portions. Wrap 3 portions in plastic wrap and chill. On a well-floured surface, roll 1 portion into a 12-1/2x10-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle crosswise into five 10x2-1/2-inch strips.
Shape a slightly rounded tablespoon of the filling into a 9-inch-long rope and place it down the center of one strip. Roll up the strip lengthwise. Brush edge and ends with water; pinch to seal. Place, seam side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, shaping strip into a letter (traditionally the letter "S"). Brush with water and sprinkle with additional granulated sugar. Repeat with remaining dough strips and filling. Repeat with remaining dough portions and filling.
Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet. Cool on wire racks.
Makes about 20 letters