Red, White and Blue Almond Puff Pastries

A flaky pie crust topped with cream puff pastry, topped with sweet blueberry and cherry preserves, sprinkled with toasted sliced almonds, and finished with a drizzle of icing. It sounds complicated, but it’s a delicious, easy-to-make Danish. 

King Arthur Flour posted on Facebook that their Almond Puff Loaf was their all-time favorite recipe. They described it as a buttery, flaky, tender confection that is incredibly easy to make, yet tastes and looks as though a professionally trained pastry chef labored over it for hours. How could I resist giving it a try.

I decided to change the recipe up a little bit to create a fun 4th of July breakfast or dessert. I used blueberry and cherry preserves instead of apricot jam; vanilla extract instead of almond extract; made the crust in my food processor; and I wanted individual round pastries, so I baked them in my muffin top pans.

If you don’t have muffin top pans, you could bake them on two baking sheets. Just be sure and space them apart to  leave room for expansion.

This is a delightful combination of contrasting textures and flavors, a rich but not too sweet pastry that would be a great way to kick off your 4th of July. I can see why it’s a King Arthur favorite. I’ve been snacking on it all day. This may be dangerous for me to have in the house.

Red, White and Blue Almond Puff Pastries

Ingredients:

Bottom Crust Layer

  • 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Puff (Pâte à Choux) Layer

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (can sub almond extract)

Toppings

  • 3/4 cup jam or preserves (I used blueberry and cherry)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a 350°F oven for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until they’re a light, golden brown

Icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 – 4 teaspoons milk or water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease muffin top pan cups.

Bottom Crust Layer

Combine flour and salt in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add cubed butter and pulse several times until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup cold water; pulse a couple of times until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. Turn out onto a work surface; knead once or twice, until dough comes together. Do not overmix.

Divide in to 12 pieces, about 1 tablespoon of dough, and press into muffin top cups. Wet your fingers, and flatten dough into a circle.

Puff Layer

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil. When butter is melted, add the salt and then add the flour all at once. Stir the mixture with a spoon until all the flour is absorbed and a dough forms,  this will happen very quickly. Keep stirring to continue cooking the flour another minute or two.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat it at medium speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just to cool dough down a little.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat until the dough loses its “slimy” look, and each egg is totally absorbed.

Mix in the vanilla extract.

Spoon the dough into a large gallon-sized plastic bag (or piping bag.) Use your hands to squeeze dough towards the bottom corner. With scissors, snip off the cornerof the bag. Pipe dough on top of crust layer until it completely covers the entire bottom layer of dough. Use wet fingers to smooth it out.

Bake the pastry for 40 – 45 minutes, or until it’s a deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and transfer each pastry to a wire rack.

Topping

Spread each warm pastry with 1 tablespoon of jam.  (The pastries may start to sink in the middle, which makes it easier to spread the jam. If  yours don’t, like mine didn’t, you can puncture the top with a fork to help deflate them a bit.)

Sprinkle the toasted almonds  on top of the jam.

Icing

Stir together the sugar, vanilla, and enough milk or water to form a thick but “drizzlable” icing.

Drizzle the icing over the top of the pastries.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

*Tip: To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, warm them, in the shell, in a bowl of hot tap water for 10 minutes

More 4th of July recipes you might like:

Red, White and Blue Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Barbara Bakes
4th of July Layered Jell-O, Our Best Bites
Fourth of July Funfetti Cupcakes with Triple Swirl Frosting, Sugarcrafter
Easy Red, White and Blue Fruit Tart, Mountain Mama Cooks
20 GREAT! Patriotic July 4th Dessert Ideas, Family Fresh Cooking