The Dessert Challenge is hosted by Lady Behind the Curtain. It is a personal challenge and I have the option of playing along or taking a break...I like the flexibility. I like baking something I have never tried. I like eating all of it...oops, no, I will not eat all of it...somebody else will.
This months challenge was to make something that used almond paste and pastry. The first thing that came to mind was the melt in your mouth Twice Baked Croissant at Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle. It is heavenly...and I would so love to make some. Not to eat, of course, but to share with others.
I saw them again in Lucerne, Switzerland. It wasn't really a croissant more of almond rolled in pasty....who cares about the shape...it was delicious!
So, I was on a quest...but I also wasn't certain if using already baked croissants was acceptable..it was, but I learned that after the fact....so, I decided to use puff pastry and I found a recipe that looked as though it just might work. Of course the recipe was so easy that I was really skeptical...actually, it is embarrassingly easy...but what is wrong with simple if it has a great taste?!!! Nothing!!!
When Mr. T. took his first bite he closed his eyes and said, "I think I am in Bakery Nouveau." What a nice thing to say...I know it was the way the pasty flaked and the yummy almond flavor....it was close...
Sweet Almond Pastry
adapted from Pepperidge Farm
1 Tbsp water
6 oz almond paste
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 sheet of puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets), thawed per package directions
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Heat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a fork, stir one egg and the water together.
Place the almond paste, granulated sugar, one egg and vanilla in a food processor. Cover and process until the mixture is smooth.
Unfold the sheet of pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 X 10 rectangle. Withe the short side facing you, spoon the almond mixture on the bottom half of the pastry to within one inch of the edges. Cut several 2-3 inch long slits, about 1 inch apart, on the plain side of the pastry. Fold this side of the pastry over the filling and seal the edges with a fork.
Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Sprinkle with the almonds and place the filled pastry on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375° F. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes to serve warm or let cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, if desired.
I enjoyed playing in the kitchen with the puff pastry. I learned that follow the directions for thawing means just that...the first attempt turned into a ball of dough...I have since learned to read.
Next month is caramel and pretzels...I wonder what I will create....