Traditionally, Dutch ‘banketstaaf’ is eaten on the occasion of the birthday of Saint Nicolas, december 6th. This is a tradition going back to the 3rd century AD. And did you know that Santa Claus and his sled have been derived from this folk festival? In The Netherlands, the Flemish part of Belgium and a part of Germany this tradition is a children’s fest. There the good old saint passes out presents to the kids. The region has a lot of actors running around on that day. Adults, nowadays, receive poems discussing their own last year’s behavior and that usually introduces a small gift as well.
the art of making Dutch ‘banketstaaf’
If you have access to excellent almond paste and puff pastry, the making of this piece of pastry is easy and comes together in 10 minutes plus a 25 min oven bake.
However, if you live overseas and do not have access to these important ingredients, you must make these yourself. Please refer to the recipes for puff pastry and for almond paste to make these ingredients. Please note that the almond paste benefits from a night in the refrigerator, so make this at the least a day in advance. Both almond paste and puff pastry can be very well stored in your freezer, so in that case making Dutch ‘banketstaaf’ becomes an easy task again.
Use sufficient time to defrost especially the almond paste.
Store the ‘banketstaaf’ up to a week in your cellar or refrigerator (covered). Warming it up a bit before serving with coffee or tea provides for the best taste experience.
- 4-6 sheets puff pastry (1/8 inch thick)
- 10.7 oz (300 g) almond paste
- 1/3 beaten egg
- several halved blanched almonds (optional)
Making the Banketstaaf pastry
Defrost puff pastry and almond paste in advance when using from the freezer. Ensure the paste is pliable enough. Otherwise add a bit of a beaten egg and knead through
Place 4 (or 6, depending on your puff pastry sizes) puff pastry sheets net to each other.. Ensure to use a little water to glue the edges together
Roll the almond paste 1.5-2 inch in diameter
Place the almond paste roll in the middle of the puff pastry sheets
Then fold the puff pastry sheets around the almond paste and glue the fold with a little water. Also at the ends, fold the puff pastry dough around so it closes well.
Brush the top and sides of the pastry with egg wash
Optionally, for decoration one can place a few half blanched almonds on top
Bake in the preheated oven at 438 F (225 C) for 25 min while observing the color. Do not make it too dark, as the moist may get lost also.
Method: oven baking
Food allergy & intolerance information: nuts, lactose (butter)
- If you want to start off from purchased almond paste, ensure it is well ground and relatively fresh.
- Be careful with the oven time as always. Inspect for color when coming close to the 25 min.