I was introduced to the glorious Dutch pastry Banket (pronounced bahn-ket) when I married into a Dutch family full of culinary traditions. It isn’t a Dekker Christmas without these foil-wrapped almond pastry sticks on the kitchen counter, slowly getting smaller and smaller each time someone walks through and just “grabs a bite.”
I am a huge fan of almond anything, and it’s even better when it’s wrapped in flaky pastry. The other great thing about this is that it makes eight sticks of banket, which is the perfect amount for our extended family Christmas celebration, BUT they can also be made ahead and frozen. So, you can always have banket in the freezer, ready to thaw and freshly bake when the mood strikes. And the mood WILL strike.
To start, combine 3 sticks of butter, 4 cups of flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1 cup of water using your favorite pastry-combining method. This can be using 2 knives to chop the butter into the flour, pulsing with a food processor, or a pastry blender. The main idea is not to work it too much, so that there are bits of butter surrounded by flour and held together by water.
Pat it into a ball. Divide this ball in half, then those in half, and then those in half until you get 8 balls. Chill for at least an hour, or overnight. I like to shape them into oblongs so they are really easy to roll out when you go to do so.
**Dutch note: In our recipe, and in many others I’ve found, there is direction to mix the pastry dough more than you normally would for most pie crusts or delicate pastry. I have done it both ways and it comes out pretty similar.
Mix the almond paste, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3 eggs & 1 egg yolk together.
I find this easiest in a stand mixer, after crumbling the almond paste with your fingers into pea-sized pieces first. Stick it in the fridge to firm up a bit.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and cover 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take one ball of dough and start rolling and flattening it into a long oblong rectangle, roughly 3″ wide and 18″ long. Nick remembers his maternal grandmother’s Banket being a bit wider, more like a cake-shape. Grandma Dekker and his mother make it thinner like shown.
Spoon 1/8 of the almond paste mixture into the center of the pastry strip, leaving about 1/2″ around the edges.
Pinch the sides together, using a little bit of water as the “glue” to make them stick.
Try to seal it up as much as you can. This will help keep the almond paste in as it cooks. This isn’t a HUGE deal, as you’ll see later…
Once you have it sealed, flip it over and brush it with the remaining egg white, and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes until it is golden brown. So beautiful!
Do you see where the almond filling has leaked out and browned up a bit? Yeeeaaahh… I’ve never been able to perfectly seal the edges enough to keep it all in. The secret to banket is that THOSE are the BEST PARTS. Trust me.
3 sticks chilled butter
4 cups flour
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1# almond paste (2 cups)
1.5 cups sugar
4 medium eggs (1 egg white saved)
1/2 tsp salt
- Combine butter, flour, water, and salt using your favorite pastry method. Chill for a few hours or overnight.
- Crumble the almond paste and mix with the sugar, eggs, and salt and chill for an hour.
- Divide dough and filling into 8 even sections; also divide the one stick of butter into 8 even pieces.
- Roll dough into long rectangles, adding 1 remaining piece of butter into each. Brush egg white over the top of each stick just before baking.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
Can be frozen and thawed in fridge before baking.