Friday, January 22, 2016


Hier geht's zur deutschen Version dieses Posts

In 2016 we Avid Bakers have a new challenge for breads and pastries: Weekend from the Netherlands.

This is especially interesting to me, since Amsterdam is one of my favorite places.

I have traveled there several times, and love what it has to offer, amazing art, a beautiful, walk-able city, and lots of good food.

Hanaâ, our "head baker", chose rondos, buttery pastry filled with almond paste - very appealing to a marzipan fan like me!

The little cakes, very popular in the Netherlands, are supposed to have a texture like Dutch apple pie - I never had one, so I can't comment on that, but they are certainly delightful.

Dutch bakers have special pastry rings to make rondos (or kanos, if they are ovals). Lacking these, I used my (slightly larger) English muffin rings (the other option would have been baking them in a muffin tin).

There are two choices for the marzipan filling, either the traditional almond paste that needs to be prepared a day ahead, or a same-day frangipane, equally nice - but with more butter.

A tender-crumbly little cake with marzipan filling

Not to stray from my good intentions for the New Year , I piously opted for the slightly slimmer almond paste (the rondos didn't need more calories, anyway), reduced a sugar a bit (this could have been more, as it turned out),  and exchanged some of the white flour for whole wheat.

The rondos turned out as delicious as described, a tender, almond-y little cake, crisp on the edges, with a hint of lemon (now I really have to check out Dutch apple pie!) They were still a tad too sweet for my taste - next time I would reduce the sugar in the dough even more.

Alas, I had to eat them all by myself - my husband being on a trip to Vietnam - but life is hard and requires sacrifices....

A great sacrifice - I had to eat them all by myself!

DUTCH RONDOS (adapted from Weekend
(8 -10 cakes)

160 g/5.6 oz pastry four (or Italian Tipo 00)
40 g/1.4 oz whole wheat pastry flour (or all white pastry flour)
5 g/0.18 baking powder
1 pinch of salt
150 g/5.3 oz  cold butter, cut in 1/4-ich/1/2 cm cubes
70 g/2.5 oz light brown sugar (down from 100 g/3.5 oz)
almond paste or frangipane (see recipes below)
8-10 whole almonds, for topping
egg wash for brushing tops (egg beaten with some water or cream)

Almond Paste
75 g/2.6 oz blanched almonds (or almond meal)
60 g/2.1 oz sugar (down from 75 g/2.6 oz)
1/2  lemon, zest
1 small egg, beaten (added just before baking)

50 g/1.8 oz butter, melted
50 g/1.8 oz sugar (I would reduce the sugar here, too)
1 egg
70 g/2.5 oz finely ground almonds /almond meal
1/2 lemon, zest

Almond paste

Almond Paste (must rest 24 hours for flavors to meld)
In food processor, grind almonds together with sugar to a very fine powder consistency. (Or use almond meal).

Add lemon zest and some water until you have a smooth and stiff paste, neither too wet, nor too dry. Store in fridge until needed (up to 2 weeks)

When ready to use, slowly mix egg into paste, until mixture is very smooth, and can be easily piped with onto dough rounds, but still hold its shape.

Spoon almond paste in piping bag and put it in fridge until needed.

Frangipane (can be made the same day)
Whisk sugar, egg and lemon zest until creamy. Slowly add melted butter while continuing to beat. Add almond flour and mix well. Put in a piping bag and refrigerate until needed.

The dough is quite crumbly, use the plastic wrap to press it into a disc

 Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in food processor bowl. Pulse to combine. Add butter cubes and pulse, until clumps form (don't overmix!).

Divide dough into 2 halves, wrap both pieces in plastic wrap, pressing dough into flat disks. Refrigerate dough disks for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 175ºC/350ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 10 rondo baking rings (or 8 English muffin rings on the paper, with a small distance between them (or use a non-stick muffin pan).

I used English muffin rings to cut out and hold the dough rounds

Remove first disk of dough from refrigerator. Roll out to a thickness of 4 mm/0.15 inches (cover the dough with plastic wrap, before rolling it out, so that it doesn't stick to the rolling pin.)

Cut out 10 rounds with a 7-cm/2.8-inch cutter (I used an English muffin rings to cut out 8 rounds). Re-roll and cut out leftovers

Place dough rounds in baking rings. Use the second half of chilled dough to cut out the top rounds.

Almond paste filled rondos

Remove piping bag with almond paste or frangipane from the fridge. Pipe equal amounts of filling on bottom dough rounds inside the rings. Then top with remaining half of dough rounds. Press edges together to seal.

Brush each rondo with a first coating of egg wash. Place an almond in the middle of each cake and lightly press down to attach it. Brush rondos a second time with egg wash.

Brush rondos with egg wash

Bake rondos for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Immediately remove baking rings (protect your fingers with a kitchen towel). Leave cakes to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer rondos to a cooling rack.

Bar Harbor in January - no snow yet, but cold!