Cheat Almond Pastries

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These simple pastries are shamelessly inspired by Jésuite Amandes, a triangular puff pastry filled with frangipane, that’s shaped like a Jesuit three-cornered hat. I devoured a number of them on a recent brief trip to France for a friend’s wedding.

These Cheat Almond Pastries are not Jésuite Amandes.

I’ve taken the idea, stripped it down and created something with five cheat, store-cupboard, ingredients, making them easy to prepare, yet impressive to serve.

 Cheat Almond Pastries | Vagabond Baker

Just five ingredients and some nifty cut-and-paste work transforms into some rustic patisserie that’s perfect to serve with fresh coffee on a lazy sun-filled morning.

Delicious marzipan sandwiched between ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry with apricot jam, baked, then drizzled with a simple icing and scattered with toasted slivers of almond. Easy huh!

The marzipan ‘melts’ during baking leaving a fragrant, luscious filling between the flaky layers of pastry, the apricot jam doing its best to keep the hot marzipan from oozing out.

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Hopefully these pastries will send your senses to some French idyll, maybe a medieval town with honey-coloured buildings and an ancient church.

We found such a place the other week, while we were in the Dordogne for our friends wedding. Cadouin was a couple of kilometres along the road from the venue, a delightful rural town complete with a 12th Century abbey that glowed golden in the late afternoon sun. 

A restaurant in the square served excellent pizzas and made a wonderful place to people-watch while a small restaurant across the street specialised in local dishes, fois gras being the speciality of the area. I weep for the geese!
Cadouin | France-8302

The wedding was held in Paleyrac, a tiny, pretty village nearby, the venue was a gorgeous old manor house with views out over the countryside.

We spent five days there helping to prepare the place for the wedding and enjoying the location. Staying with the family, we ate outside for every meal on a long sociable table, simple, delicious food, this is how life should be!

Paleyrac| France Paleyrac-| France

I find this rural way of life bewitching, despite the vast quantities of cheese consumed, it felt healthy and life-giving. The social aspect of eating together in the great outdoors, sharing food and stories, taking time to enjoy the meal is a great pleasure and very comforting. I wish the British climate was a little more suited it!

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Cheat Almond Pastries

Oven 200 C / 400 F / gas 6, baking sheet lined with parchment

  • 250 g {9 oz} marzipan
  • 320 g {12 oz} pack of ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 175 g {1 + 1/2 cups} icing sugar plus more for rolling and dusting
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds

Unfurl the puff pastry and roll it out a little thinner while still on the paper it’s wrapped in, not too much thinner though.

Use a knife to cut it into four pieces by cutting down the centre and across. Then cut it into eighths and finally cut each rectangle into two triangles. You should end up with 16 pieces, it’s best not to separate the pieces yet.

Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to a long rectangle around 20 cm by 8 cm {8 in by 3 in}. 

Cut it into 4 equal pieces then slice each of those into two triangles.  

Test that the marzipan triangles are smaller than the pastry triangles and that they leave a 5 mm gap right around the edge, you may need to trim them.

Tip: Try flipping the marzipan triangle over if it doesn’t seem to fit the dimensions of the pastry triangle.

Warm the apricot jam and use a pastry brush to lightly coat the pastry.

Lay a triangle of marzipan onto one of the pastry triangles and cover it with another, pressing around the edges to seal the marzipan in. 

Use a sharp knife to tidy up any overlapping edges.

Tip: try not to get jam on the outside of your filled pastry as it will catch in the oven.

Once all the pastries are filled and trimmed, place onto the prepared baking sheet leaving a little room for them to expand.

You could brush them with egg wash or milk now if you like, to make them look glossy once baked but as I was going to ice them I didn’t bother.

Bake in the preheated oven for around 10 to 12 minutes, they should have puffed up and turned golden. Transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Don’t worry if some of the marzipan is oozing out, use a knife to scrape it off while it is still molten. Be careful, it will be scalding.

Toast the slivered almonds for a few seconds in a dry frying pan until just beginning to colour, set aside.

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl and add around 40 ml {1/5 cup} of water a bit at a time until the sugar turns into a glossy icing that coats the back of the spoon. You may not need all of it, you may need more.

Dip the cooled pastries into the icing then set back onto the wire cooling rack to set, once all the pastries have been coated, scatter the toasted almond slivers over them while the icing is still wet.

Leave to completely set.

A dusting of icing sugar to serve {which I completely forgot to do for the photos} lifts them to heavenly  heights and makes them look even more French.

Et voilà, Almond Pastries!

Cheat Almond Pastries
5 ready-made ingredients turned into French-inspired almond pastries
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Ingredients
  1. 250 g {9 oz} marzipan
  2. 320 g {12 oz} pack of ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
  3. 2 tbsp apricot jam
  4. 175 g {1 + 1/2 cups} icing sugar plus more for rolling and dusting
  5. 2 tbsp slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F / gas 6, line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Unfurl the puff pastry and roll it out a little thinner while still on the paper it’s wrapped in, not too much thinner though.
  3. Use a knife to cut it into four pieces by cutting down the centre and across. Then cut it into eighths and finally cut each rectangle into two triangles. You should end up with 16 pieces, it’s best not to separate the pieces yet.
  4. Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to a long rectangle around 20 cm by 8 cm {8 in by 3 in}.
  5. Cut it into 4 equal pieces then slice each of those into two triangles.
  6. Test that the marzipan triangles are smaller than the pastry triangles and that they leave a 5 mm gap right around the edge, you may need to trim them.
  7. Tip: Try flipping the marzipan triangle over if it doesn’t seem to fit the dimensions of the pastry triangle.
  8. Warm the apricot jam and use a pastry brush to lightly coat the pastry.
  9. Lay a triangle of marzipan onto one of the pastry triangles and cover it with another, pressing around the edges to seal the marzipan in.
  10. Use a sharp knife to tidy up any overlapping edges.
  11. Tip: try not to get jam on the outside of your filled pastry as it will catch in the oven.
  12. Once all the pastries are filled and trimmed, place onto the prepared baking sheet leaving a little room for them to expand.
  13. Bake in the preheated oven for around 10 to 12 minutes, they should have puffed up and turned golden. Transfer to a wire cooling rack.
  14. Don’t worry if some of the marzipan is oozing out, use a knife to scrape it off while it is still molten. Be careful, it will be scalding.
  15. Toast the slivered almonds for a few seconds in a dry frying pan until just beginning to colour, set aside.
  16. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl and add around 40 ml {1/5 cup} of water a bit at a time until the sugar turns into a glossy icing that coats the back of the spoon. You may not need all of it, you may need more.
  17. Dip the cooled pastries into the icing then set back onto the wire cooling rack to set, once all the pastries have been coated, scatter the toasted almond slivers over them while the icing is still wet.
  18. Leave to completely set.
Notes
  1. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Vagabond Baker http://vagabondbaker.com/
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What treats have you found abroad then wanted to make eat when you got back home?

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By Rachel Davis

2 Responses

  1. Ooh the blog looks great! As do these pastries, seriously love a shortcut! Ready rolled pastry is just the best invention ever

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