Friday, December 04, 2009

Geneabloggers 2009 Holiday Cookbook: Banket

The following is excerpted from my post "Childhood Food Memories," originally written 15 January 2007 for the 16th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy - Family Food and Recipes:

My all-time favorite treat growing up (and even now) was banket (bun-KET), a traditional Dutch pastry with almond paste filling. My grandfather would make it and send it in our Christmas package from the relatives on my mother's side of the family. A huge box would arrive, plastered over with sheets of stamps. Grandpa worked for the US Postal Service in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and he, along with my dad and myself, collected stamps. The box was a gift in itself! After Christmas, Dad would carefully cut the cardboard, then place wet towels over the stamps to soak them off, later to be mounted in our albums. Inside the box, everything was packed in the Sunday comics, another treasure in itself. We were not regular subscribers to the nearest paper, The Ketchikan Daily News, and even then, its comics were in black-and-white. The Grand Rapids Press, however, had Sunday comics in full, glorious color! At the top of the carefully wrapped and packed Christmas presents would be the banket, wrapped in foil and still semi-frozen. Dad would cut the pastry into one-inch diagonal slices, and we would enjoy every bite. There never seemed to be enough!

In 1997, I wrote my grandfather, and asked him for the banket recipe. At that time, he was 81 years old, and I figured I may not have many opportunities to ask him. As a matter of fact, he lived another 9 1/2 years, passing away just a few days ago, on January 6th [2007]. Every year when I make this treat for my family and friends,I think fondly of my grandfather, and next Christmas, it will be with a mixture of loss and joy. I've included the recipe here, in this very long blog, as a tribute to my grandfather. Although complicated, time-consuming, and expensive (almond paste is not cheap!), the results are worthy!


4 c. sifted flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1 lb. margarine (good quality)
1 c. cold water

1 lb. kernel or almond paste
(Kernel paste is cheaper and tastes as good, says Grandpa.
I say add in a teaspoon or two of almond flavoring if you use kernel paste.)
2 c. sugar
2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk (save white for glaze)
1/4 c. flour
2 t. vanilla

1 egg white
granulated sugar

1. To make pastry, crumble or chop margarine into flour, salt, and baking powder mixture until mixed fine.

Add water and mix well. Form dough into flat ball; wrap in waxed paper and chill overnight.

2. For filling, crumble or chop paste (a blender or food processor can be used, says Grandpa, but I used a hand pastry cutter).

Add sugar and flour and mix. Add two whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Form into a flat ball, cover or wrap, and chill in refrigerator overnight.

3. Divide pastry and filling into 8 equal parts each.

Shape pastry dough into an oblong ball. Roll the ball away from you on a floured pastry cloth into a strip about 3 inches wide by 12 - 14 inches long.

Take one piece of filling and roll with palm of hand into a long rope a little shorter than the pastry strip. Roll the filling onto pastry.

4. Brush one edge and the ends of pastry with water, fold the ends over the filling, and roll the pastry around filling toward moistened edge.

Press lightly to seal and place each finished roll lengthwise on an ungreased cookie sheet, seam side down.

Put 4 rolls on each sheet [or 8 on a double-wide sheet].

5. Beat egg white and brush on top of rolls; sprinkle with sugar. Prick rolls with fork at one-inch intervals. Bake in preheated oven 425° F for about 25 - 30 minutes or until light brown. Remove fro pan after cooling for 10 minutes.  Wrap in foil and refrigerate (or freeze for shipping). Slice into one-inch diagonal pieces for serving.  Makes 8 rolls.

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