They are so decadent. Creamy almond filling, sandwiched between two disks of buttery puff pastry. Hello, does it get much better than that?
Around this time of year, Carnival season, I have a love hate relationship with these. On one hand they are so beautiful and tasty, and I can count on one hand with, with three fingers, how many bakeries in New Orleans make them. So my customers at the Farmer Market are always so happy to see them on my table.
And on the other had, I make my own Puff Pastry so the labor involved is quite time consuming. But non the less, I am dedicated to making them.
|And these little piggies went to the Market.....|
But please do not let this stop you from trying these. They will still be very good.
Traditionally, the filling consists of almond cream mixed with pastry cream. In my version, I use only the almond cream.
(This makes about 3 cups of almond cream. You can use the extra to fill a tart shell and top with poached pears, fill croissants,or freeze it.)
3 cups sliced, blanched almonds
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups softened, unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoons almond extract
Place the almonds and flour in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until it resembles flour. Add the sugar and the butter. Mix until combined. Add the rest of the ingredient and mix until completely combined. Chill until needed.
Now prepare you puff pastry. Roll out the puff pastry to 1/8 inch thickness.
Using a round cookie cutter of your choice, cut out even number of disks.
If you are making large cakes, use a template of you choice. I used a mixing bowl.
Place the rounds on a parchment lined sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 min. This will help with shrinkage and will result in a flakier pastry.
Once it is rested, line half of the rounds on a sheet pan. Brush each with egg wash. Using a small scoop, place a ball of almond cream in the center of each round.
If you are making a large cake, spread an 1/8 inch layer of the almond cream in the center on one round, keeping an one inch border around the perimeter.
Now, top with the other half of the circles. Pressing around the edges to make sure they are sealed all around. Refrigerate for another 5 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Using a paring knife, mark the tops of the cakes in a pinwheel pattern. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
As you can see, I cut a hole in the top of the large one to vent steam.
Now place in the oven and bake for 20 -25 minutes. Until puffed and golden. Time may vary with each oven, just keep a close eye on them.