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Almond Pastry

This fairly easy pastry recipe is great for brunches and can be made easier with store bought or premade preserves. It features that flakey, buttery pastry dough with a sweet almond paste. There are many components to this recipe, but you easily throw it together. Not to mention, they look pretty impressive. Mmmh. Imagine the nutty pastry paired with a semi-dark coffee (or mimosa 😊).

I recall enjoying an almond pastry like this at a pitstop in almond country on one of our trips. Fun food fact, California produces 80% of the world’s almonds.

Rotate and adjust – if baking both sheets of puff pastry at the same time, don’t forget to rotate the sheets, to ensure even cooking.
Time is money – Use premade or store-bought preserve to save more time! But don’t skimp on the baking time. The pastry with the fruit filling will require a few more minutes of baking time.
Almond paste – you can use store-bought almond paste as well. If using store-bought almond paste, you’ll only need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the extracts, an egg or egg whites, plus ¼ teaspoon of salt.

Almond Pastry

Time: 1 hr (including prep time)
Serves: 8-12

Cherry filling (use premade preserves or pie filling as alternative)
1 cup fresh or frozen (pitted) dark cherries
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
Slurry made with 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoons lemon juice

• In a saucepan over medium heat, add cherries, sugar, lemon juice and slurry. Cook until mixture thickens. Let cool completely before using in the pastry. This should be fairly thick so it doesn’t not run and cause the pastry to be soggy.

Egg wash
1 large egg

• In small bowl egg and water.

½ cup (50g) confectioners sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

• Whisk together the confectioners sugar, milk and almond extract. If the glaze is too dry, add a little bit more milk and whisk until smooth.

Pastry & Almond filling
1 (17.3 oz) package puff pastry (thawed according to package instructions)
1 ½ cup (160g) almond flour
2/3 cup (65g) confectioners sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
Turbinado sugar (optional)
Toasted sliced almonds

• Preheat the oven to 400F.
• Make almond filling by adding the almond flour, confectioners sugar, egg, salt, vanilla extract and almond extract in a food processor. Pulse a few times a ball forms and mixture resembles a paste. Set aside.
• On a floured surface roll out the sheets of puff pastry. Transfer onto parchment lined baking sheets.
• Cut slits at a slight angle, one-third the width of the pastry on both of the long slide of the pastry sheet.
• On one pastry sheet, fill with 2/3 of the almond filling. Smooth the mixture with the back of a wet spoon. Take one slit and fold it in, alternate to a slit on the other side and back again. Continue until you’ve braided all the slits. Brush with the egg wash (from above).
• On the other pastry sheet, repeat the same by filling with the remaining 1/3 of the almond filling and 1 cup of cherry filling or preserve. Braid the pastry. Brush with egg wash. Top with turbinado sugar, if desired.
• Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 375F and bake for another 18-20 minutes. Note that if you are baking both pastries at the same time, you will have to rotate them between upper and lower rack for even cooking. You may also need to bake the pastry with the fruit filling for a few minutes longer. Baking until the pastries have puffed and are golden brown to brown.
• Let sit for 5 minutes. Drizzle with the glaze (from above). Top with toasted sliced almonds. Serve immediately.

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