Pantxineta (or Panchineta in Spanish) is a traditional dessert from the Basque Country of Spain. It is a simple dessert to prepare, yet looks very elegant. Your guests will never imagine that you spent less than an hour preparing it! Pastry cream is baked between two sheets puff pastry and covered with coarsely chopped almonds and hazelnuts and powdered sugar.
Note: Puff pastry sheets are sold in the refrigerator and freezer sections of most supermarkets. They may be rolled up in wax paper or floured and folded. If using frozen pastry sheets, defrost them in the refrigerator overnight, or remove from package and defrost them on the kitchen counter for approximately 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 365°F.
- Prepare the pastry cream filling: Measure and pour milk into a medium saucepan. Wash outside of lemon and orange and dry. Cut peel from lemon and orange. Try to take only the colored part of the peel. Place peels and cinnamon stick into milk. Add butter. Bring milk to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
- Separate whites from the yolks. Reserve yolks. Place egg whites in a large bowl. Add granulated sugar and mix well. Add the rice flour and mix very well, ensuring that there are no lumps.
- Remove lemon and orange peel and cinnamon stick from milk and discard. Pour milk into bowl of egg whites and sugar, and stir. Pour it all back into the saucepan and return it to the stove. While continuously stirring, bring to a boil. As soon as milk boils, turn heat down to a lower simmer. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Prepare the crust: Beat the two egg yolks with a tablespoon of water. Place one of the puff pastry sheets on a cookie sheet. Brush all edges with beaten egg yolks. Spread out thickened pastry cream on puff pastry. Carefully cover with the second sheet. Using a fork, seal all the edges. Brush the entire top pastry sheet with the beaten egg yolk.
- Chop almonds and hazelnuts very coarsely using a knife or food processor (big chunks are fine). Spread them evenly over the top of the pantxineta. Using a sifter spread powdered sugar generously over the top.
- Bake in the center rack of the oven for approximately 25 minutes.