Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dutch Letters

I come from a Dutch heritage and grew up in a darling little Dutch village of about 12,000. Dutch letters and Sinterklaas cookies were pretty much a staple on Sunday night's at Grandma's house. (That and popcorn.) It took me about 9 years of being away from home to not take the taste of a good Dutch Letter for granted though. I thought for Christmas it might be fun to make a few Dutch Letters of my own.

When you purchase your almond paste, check the ingredients listed on the package.
Get one that only has almonds and sugar as the ingredients. Not corn syrup or fructose.
Otherwise your filling will melt and leak out of the pastry during baking. Not cool.

2 17.5 oz pkg. frozen puff pastry*
1 slightly beaten egg white
1 8 oz. can almond paste
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
Granulated sugar (the coarser the better) for dusting
a little milk for the outsides

Thaw the frozen puff pastry according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 370*
In a food processor (or small mixing bowl) combine egg white, almond paste, ½ cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar.  Set aside.

On a well-floured surface, (I actually use powdered sugar - just a personal preference)  roll each sheet of thawed puff pastry into a 12 ½ x 10-inch rectangle.
Cut each rectangle into five 10 x 2 ½ inch strips.
 - Just eyeball it. It should look like a ruler.

Place your almond filling into a thick freezer baggie and snip the corner to make a pastry bag.
Squeeze a rope of almond down the center of puff pastry strip.
Brush the edge and ends with water; pinch well to seal.
Repeat with the remaining dough strips and filling.
Place the filled strips, seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet, shaping each strip into a letter “S”.  Brush with milk; sprinkle with additional granulated sugar.
Bake in a 370 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes or till pastry is golden.
Remove pastries from the baking sheet.  Cool completely on wire racks.
This is supposed to make 20... but I usually get about 12.

*Puff pastry bakeries make much better pastry than I can ever hope to, but if you are good at the pastry chef gig, then by all means go with it.

Alternate non-lazypants pastry instructions:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, chilled
  • 1/3 cup ice water
 In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt. Cut in chilled butter until the texture of the mix is mealy with pea sized lumps. 
Add ice water gradually while stirring with a wooden spoon until dough forms a ball. Cover your dough and chill for 1/2 hour.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe - we love dutch letters!

I know this probably isn't the right place to post this question, but I couldn't find an email link - Just wondering if you could tell me how you prepare your Mommy Mac to freeze? Tried the recipe last week and LOVED it - and now I'd like to make it to freeze (we're expecting a baby in the spring). Do you cook all the way then freeze? Or partially cook/freeze/cook the rest upon defrost? Just curious.

Thanks again for the recipes!


Angie said...

I usually freeze the mommy mac at the point right before putting the bread crumb topping on and baking it. I put the crumbs in a separate baggie and add them after it has thawed again. I'm so glad you liked it. It's one of our favorites too. :)