Friday, April 1, 2011

Brunch pastries

I love the photos of my beautiful grandsons!  Here's a recipe for one of their favorite pastries, I sent it into the newspaper last week.  When I was visiting some people in Utah 40 years ago the lady of the house had just won first place at the Fair with this showstopper.  It is still one of my favorites all these years later.

THE MIXING BOWL
By Renee Zarate

ALMOND JOY!

Almond Pastry
This almond pastry has a delicate flavor and is so light it melts in your mouth.  It consists of an unusual combination of pie crust and a paste similar to cream puff dough baked together and then simply glazed with an almond flavored icing.  To make it complete just roast a handful of sliced almonds in a skillet until golden brown and sprinkle them over the two pastries.

Pastry:
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup of flour                           
2 Tbl. water

Choux Paste
½ cup water
½ cup unsalted butter
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten together, brought to room temperature

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut 1/2 cup butter into 1 cup of flour with a pastry blender.  Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of water over the mixture.  Round the dough into a ball and divide it into two pieces.  Pat each piece into a 12” by 3” strip on an ungreased cookie sheet (or if you prefer you can cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper).  The strips should be about 3” apart.  Set aside.
Combine 1 cup of water and ½ cup of unsalted butter in a medium sized saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil over medium high heat.   Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of almond extract and 1 cup of flour. Return the pan to the heat and stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball, about one minute.  Remove the pan from the heat and add in the eggs all at once, beat the mixture until it is smooth.  (Do not return the pan to the heat.)  Divide the paste in half and spread one half over each of the pastry strips.  Bake for 60 minutes in a pre-heated oven.  The pastries should be a golden brown.  Cool on a rack.  Frost while warm.

Frosting:
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons of softened butter
1 ½ teaspoons of almond extract
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons of warm water

Beat this mixture by hand or with an electric mixer until it is smooth.  Drizzle this over the pastry while it is still warm.

Sprinkle one cup of toasted, sliced almonds over the top of the pastries