Can the Dutch almond Banket recipe be improved upon? Nope. Not a chance. BUT sometimes this fabulous pastry recipe can change SHAPE and that’s exactly what we’ve done. The buttery almond goodness is all still there but now we’re serving this Dutch goodie in a new bite-sized form.
If you’ve been making banket already, this recipe will be easy-peasy. If you haven’t worked up the courage to try this fabulous recipe, then this variation will be an easy introduction to the art of banket. (And just in case you’re REALLY new to this, BANKET is pronounced bahn-KET.)
For those of you who have made enough banket already this season to proceed on auto-pilot (you know who I’m talking about, Sarah Hoogeboom-Williams!) then simply use the dough and filling recipes you already make without needing to refer back to the recipe at every turn. For those of you who haven’t jumped on the banket train yet, here’s a scaled-down approach.
First, make your almond filling. This year, I don’t have any commercial almond paste in the house so I made my own. You can do this in a blender but a food processor really is the best tool for this.
Almond Paste Filling for Banket Bites
Process the following until smooth:
- 3 c. toasted almonds
- 3 c. sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 t. almond extract
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 t. lemon juice
Cover this filling and refrigerate until later. If you leave it sitting out where people can slick away at it, they WILL. So consider yourself warned.
The crust for Banket Bites is essentially the regular banket crust. This year, I’ve started making quarter-sized banket crust portions. Part of the reason for this is that it all fits into my Cuisinart food processor; I get a more consistent dough texture when I use the food processor to make the dough.
One fourth of the recipe for regular banket dough also conveniently makes 24 little bites in the mini-muffin tin that has 24 little mini muffin cups. For those of you using the traditional banket recipe, two sticks worth of dough = 1/4 dough recipe = 24 banket bites.
Quarter Portion Banket Dough
In a food processor, mix together
- 1 c. flour
- 1/4 t. baking powder
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 stick (1/2 c.) very cold butter (I froze mine and chopped it into pieces)
Process until the butter and flour is crumbled together. STOP before it starts creaming the flour and butter.
While the food processor is running, very slowly drizzle in:
- 1/4 c. plus 1 t. ice water (I also used ice cold vodka with good success) (adjust the liquid if you need to. The dough should barely stick together)
If using a Kitchenaid mixer, mix the butter, flour, baking powder, and salt first, then drizzle in the ice water a little at a time, JUST until the dough forms a ball. (It might be a little less or a little more than 1/4 c., and it MUST be ice water.) If mixing by hand, cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until all the butter is mixed in and the mixture is grainy. Then add the water a little at a time.
Roll the dough into an oblong. Fold it in thirds (fold the ends in 1/3 of the way) and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Roll out into a strip again, and fold in thirds again. Let rest for at least 20 more minutes.
Roll out a third time in a strip, fold in thirds, let rest in fridge.
I had GREAT luck with doing all the rolling out BETWEEN two pieces of plastic wrap. This is another advantage to making quarter-sized batches of dough. I folded the plastic wrap over the top of the dough and rolled it out each time. This minimized mess and went very quickly.
After the last rest in the fridge, take out the dough. Cut it into 24 equal parts. (This is easier than it sounds; here’s how. Cut the dough in half. Cut each half in half and then half again. Cut the final pieces into thirds. You end up with little chunks of dough that are approximately 1 inch cubes. Preheat your oven to 450° now.
Place the cubes of pastry dough, one at a time, between two layers of plastic wrap and roll into 2.5 – 3 inch circles. Carefully peel each circle off the plastic wrap and tuck into the cups on the mini muffin pan.
Fill each muffin cup with a little less than a tablespoon of the almond filling. Top with a slivered almond.
Turn the oven down from 450° to 350° before you bake these little bites. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes or until the flaky pastry crust is golden brown.
Here’s the practically magical part of these Banket Bites: remember the crusty bits of almond paste that overflow from the banket sticks when they’re baking? Those crusty bits are beautifully browned and so delicious when you pick them off the baking sheet. Well, the almond filling on each Banket Bite is just like those crusty overflows! Deeeeeelicious!
This recipe will, of course, work with regular almond paste prepared for banket and with regular dough. You can also use our recipe for making your own almond paste for this recipe. It works too.
The best part of this variation on banket, for me, is that they are really fun to give as gifts!
~~Come on over and visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. Better yet, subscribe over in the sidebar to receive an email whenever we post something new here in the Kitchen.