Banket is one of my favorite pastries for Christmas, or anytime!
With my Dutch heritage, it is especially dear to my heart, and my pleasure to share it with you. Although not as delectable as homemade, banket can sometimes be found in pastry shops/bakeries as one nears Holland, MI, about one hour from where I live. -LuAnn
These headnotes are from the blog, My Sister's Kitchen. I love the way the blogger introduces banket, a traditional Dutch pastry. "If you were to ask any of my family, nuclear or extended, what is THE most important family heirloom recipe, I think almost everybody would answer that it’s Banket. (Pronounced bahn-KET.) In my house, it is not Christmas until we’ve made Banket. Banket is a traditional Dutch pastry (have Barb and I mentioned that we are 100% Dutch? Our grandparents came over from Holland!) that is made in long tubes of pastry, with an almond paste filling. Some people shape the tubes into letters–into “Merry Christmas”, for example. We just do long skinny “baguettes”. It is unbelievably delicious, and any time I have served it to non-Dutch people, they have just about died from the deliciousness. (Now THERE’s a news headline for you–”Woman dies after sampling exquisite pastry, autopsy shows pleasure overload.”) Anyway, this is a wonderful thing, and is totally worth the very involved and time-consuming preparation."
Thankfully, this recipe, which I clipped from an "ancient" (30+ years) Ladies Home Journal magazine, has simplified the old world procedure by using a food processor to prepare both the pastry and the almond filling.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups butter, very cold
1/2 cup ice water
1/2 pound almond paste*
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 large eggs, beaten
1 large egg white, unbeaten
*See Parting Shots
(Pastry can be made without food processor. Do as you would for any pie pastry).
Measure flour into bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade.
Add salt and baking powder.
Turn on and off once to mix.
Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces, drop into processor and turn on and off rapidly 3 or 4 times until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add ice water and turn on for 2 or 3 seconds, or until dough leaves sides of bowl.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface.
With heel of your hand, rapidly smear the dough, a small portion at a time, 6 to 8 inches out in front of you. (This ensures complete blending of butter into dough).
Form dough into ball.
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
(Can also be made using mixer).
Fit food processor with steel blade.
Break almond paste into small pieces and put in work bowl.
Process 3 or 4 times.
Add sugar and process for about 5 seconds.
Add beaten eggs and process until well blended, 5 to 10 seconds.
To assemble and bake:
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Divide pastry into 5 equal pieces. (LuAnn notes, I divide pastry into four pieces).
Roll each into 12 x 4-inch rectangle. (LuAnn notes, I roll into 12 x 5 or 6 inch rectangle).
Drop filling by teaspoonfuls lengthwise onto middle of dough, leaving 1/2 inch at each end.
Fold one long side of dough over filling; fold other side over and seal edges with ice water.
Place rolls, seamside down, on ungreased cookie sheets. (LuAnn suggests lining sheets with parchment paper).
Prick tops with fork at 1/2-inch (or 1-inch) intervals.
Brush with egg white.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool on wire racks.
Cut into slices; serve warm. (Or store cooled pastry in an airtight container).
Makes five (or in my case, 4) 12-inch rolls.