Sunday, April 3, 2011

How to Make Banket

My boyfriend is 50 percent Dutch. His mom was the dissenter and ruined their pure dutch bloodlines by marrying his dad (and I'm so glad she did!) :D My boyfriend's great grandparents came over from Holland and his Grandma is very proud of the fact she's 100% Dutch. One of the tasty treats that I have come to enjoy is a traditional Dutch pastry called banket (bahn-KET). Banket is an almond paste filled pastry.

So, here's a how-to-make-banket-tutorial :) 

Ingredients for pastry crust                                                 

-4 cups of flour                                                                  

-2 cups of cold butter, cut into small pieces                         
-about one cup of ice water                                               
-1/2 teaspoon of sal
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Ingredients for filling
- 2 eggs (you can also use only one egg, we've tried both ways and they both work)
- 2 cups of sugar 
- 1 lb or 2 cups almond paste
- 1 tsp. lemon juice

Bake Temp: 425 degrees F.
Bake Time: 15 minutes

Step number one: cut cold butter up into small pieces. Put flour, butter, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.

Step number two: mix together flour, cold butter, salt and baking powder. The point is not to cream the butter into the flour mixture but to make it a crumbly mixture. My boyfriend's family actually uses frozen butter and has gotten the best results from that. You do not want to over mix your crust. You can use either a mixer or a pastry cutter.

Step number three: Mix in your ice water SLOWLY and only enough so that it starts to form a doughy ball. I would start with 3/4 cup, adding just a little bit at a time. The dough should not be sticky so make sure not to add to much water.

(this isn't actually one cup, it's two. I put ice and water in here then poured one cup into a one cup measurement)

 Once your dough is starting to look like this it is usually easier to mix the rest by hand. You can then add water a little bit as a time as needed.

Step number four: One you have your dough take it and break it into 8 equal balls. The easiest way for me to do this is to take the dough, break it in half and then continue to break those halves in half until I have eight balls.
 If you added to much water and your dough is super sticky you can add a little bit more flour. It also helps to put it in the fridge. You can refrigerate dough for a couple of days or so and it is actually easier to work with when it is colder.

Step number five: For the filling mix together the eggs, almond paste, and lemon juice. We buy our almond paste in 7 gallon cans from Blue Diamond because it is MUCH cheaper then buying the tiny little tubes of almond paste at the grocery store. 

Step number six: Time to roll out the dough! I usually sandwich the dough between lightly floured waxed paper. Roll each ball out so that it measures twelve inches long and four inches wide. If you have not over mixed your dough you should be able to see butter striations in your rolled out dough. I have yet to achieve making perfect dough. My boyfriend's family said they only get the striations when they start with frozen butter so that may be the key. In any case, it doesn't really matter, but, if you get butter striations then bravo! You've done it correctly. :)

Step number seven: Starting from about an inch from the top of the rectangle spoon filling onto the middle of the dough. Leave about an inch or so from the top and bottom of the rectangle.
 Step number eight: Starting with the short sides fold dough up and over filling. Then fold over long sides. Make sure to press seams together and seal tightly. Water can also help to seal seams. If the seams are not sealed tightly you will end up with a bubbly, hot, sticky, almond paste filling mess on your cookie sheet after baking.

  Step number nine: Flip banket over so that the seam side is touching the cookie sheet.
Step number ten: Use a knife and cut evenly spaced diagonal slits along the top of the banket. The slits are used to help release the heat while baking and they also serve as an easy way to break the banket into pieces to share and eat. :)

Step number eleven: Brush the top of the banket with either egg whites or milk (I usually use milk that way I don't have to figure out what to do with the extra yolk). Sprinkle with sugar.
 Step number twelve: Bake at 425 degrees farenheit for 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. 

Wait a little bit for the boiling hot melty insides to cool down a tad and then enjoy!!! :) 

*word of advice- while making banket the traditional way is well worth it, I usually buy pre-made pie crust (shhhh...don't tell my boyfriend's family!) and make it that way and it is still quite tasty* 

**if making this for the first time I recommend cutting the recipe in makes a lot!**

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