The banketstaaf, with its flaky pastry exterior and center of amandelspijs (almond paste), is pretty much as traditional as it gets for Dutch Christmas. The best part? It's not only good to eat, but incredibly easy to make if you use good-quality store-bought puff pastry and the best spijs you can get your hands on. You can, of course, also buy the spijs in a store, but it's quite easy to make from scratch, so we usually do.
- 1 1/3 cup (10.5 oz/300 g) amandelspijs (Dutch almond paste) (300 g)
- 10.5 oz (300 g) ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- Powdered sugar, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 437 degrees F (225 degrees C). Cut the ready-rolled puff pastry into a strip of approximately 4.5-inches by 15-inches (12 cm x 40 cm).
- Roll the Dutch almond paste into a log that is 1.1-inches (3 cm) shorter lengthways than the pastry. Place on the pastry. Wet the edges of the pastry with a pastry brush dipped in water. Fold in the short ends first, and then fold over long bits and press at the seams. Now carefully flip the pastry over so that the seam is at the bottom. Brush with the beaten egg. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, heat the apricot jam in a microwave-safe container for a few seconds, so that it melts a little. Brush the still-warm banketstaaf with the apricot jam. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve sliced, with freshly brewed coffee.
- If you don't want to make your own almond paste, you can buy ready-made almond paste in most Dutch supermarkets, or online.
- To achieve that authentic old-fashioned look, decorate the banketstaaf with red glace cherries and/or toasted almonds slivers. Simply toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until they turn golden brown. Remove from pan and decorate the pastry with the toasted almonds. Now dot a few red glace cherries along the pastry and dust with powdered sugar.