Bake This Easy Almond Puff Loaf

Bake This Easy Almond Puff Loaf

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Almond LoafIt is hard to believe that it is already time to blog about my third trimester. While I have yet to experience the “pregnancy glow” that I heard so much about, the weeks have quickly gone by and the time until we meet our little one continues to shrink. I feel lucky that I have felt well overall, but as I am sure everyone reading this has experienced, we have had a few very hot weeks here in North Carolina. You can probably imagine how much hotter one feels carrying a little human oven on one’s abdomen. So if you have a pregnant woman in your life, offer her a cool drink or a Locopop. Staying hydrated is of utmost importance for expectant moms as dehydration is the number one cause of preterm labor.

The other weekend, my little one was jumping around and preventing me from sleeping, so I took the opportunity to enjoy a quiet, early Sunday morning to finish the almond puff loaf I started the day before, enjoy the biggest sunflower from the farmers’ market and read the New York Times. The loaf is impressive looking, but I promise, easy to make. Before topping with jam, I chose to cool and freeze one of the loaves for a later date. Enjoy!

Almond Puff Loaf

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 2 loaves, each serving 8-10

Ingredients:

First layer

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pats
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ cup water

Second layer

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Topping*

  • 2/3 cup jam or preserves (I chose raspberry)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted

Icing*

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ or glazing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ~1 Tbsp. milk or water (adjusting amount based on desired consistency)

 

*if freezing one of the loaves, only use half of these ingredients for one finished loaf.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  2. First layer: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the butter, flour, and salt, working the butter into the flour with a pastry blender. Mix until everything is crumbly, then stir in the water. The dough will become cohesive, though not smooth.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Wet your hands, and shape each piece of this wet dough into a rough log on prepared baking sheet. Pat the logs into 10″ x 3″ rectangles, leaving at least 4″ between them, and 2″ on each side. These puff up in the oven, and you need to leave them room for expansion.
  4. Second layer: In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil. Stir until the butter melts, then add the flour and salt all at once. Stir the mixture with a spoon till it thickens, begins to steam and leaves the sides of the pan; this will happen very quickly.
  5. Transfer the stiff batter to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat it at medium speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just to cool it down a bit.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat until the batter loses its “slimy” look, and each egg is totally absorbed.
  7. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  8. Divide the batter in half. Spread half the batter over one of the dough strips on the pan, covering it completely. Repeat with the remaining batter and dough.
  9. With wet fingers, spread the batter until it completely covers the entire bottom layer of dough. Smooth it out as best you can.
  10. Bake the pastry for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until it’s a deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and transfer each pastry to a wire rack to cool. If you are freezing a loaf, wrap tightly with plastic wrap once completely cool and freeze.
  11. Topping: Spread each warm pastry with about 1/3 cup of jam or preserves.
  12. Sprinkle the toasted almonds atop the jam. By this time, your beautifully puffed pastries are probably starting to sink; don’t worry, this is all part of the plan.
  13. Icing: Stir together the sugar, vanilla, and enough milk or water to form a thick but “drizzlable” icing.
  14. Drizzle the icing atop the pastries.
  15. Cut into squares or strips to serve.

 

Please note that my last blog until I return from maternity leave will be on September 1.