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Sunday, January 3, 2016

January ABC challenge: Rondos (Dutch almond pastries)

The new year starts the Avid Baker's Challenge with a new challenge source:  The Weekend Bakery.  This blog is created by two folks from the Netherlands, so their recipes are originally in Dutch but also posted in English.  They are primarily artisan bread bakers, but do a lot of other baked items as well. 

So we're off on our first Dutch pastry, and just like Brittany, oops, I did it again:  I made the frangipane for this recipe, but didn't measure out what was called for when assembling the rondos. (I'm so used to recipes giving exact amounts, not leaving you with extra.)  So, I don't know if my final rondos have too much or not enough.  I used about 2/3 of the quantity made, and thought I was putting in a generous dollop.  (I mean, my rondos ended up domed instead of flat.)  I really need to pay better attention.  I'm getting cocky.

I made one quarter the recipe called for, but otherwise stuck pretty much to the directions.  The only significant change was that I considerably reduced the quantity of sugar in the dough to less than half the amount called for.

Here's what I used (yield 2):

For frangipane filling:
13g butter
13g (1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
¼ egg (13-14g)
zest of 1/8 a lemon
17.5g finely ground almonds

For the pastry:
50g pastry flour (of which 1 teaspoon was corn starch)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
37.5g cold salted butter, in cubes
25 g 9g (2 teaspoons) soft white or light brown granulated sugar 

For assemply:
35g to 50g frangipane
2 almonds
egg wash for brushing tops (beaten with some water or cream)
Slowly melt the butter over low heat and then let it cool. In a small bowl, beat together with a whisk the sugar, egg, and lemon zest until creamy. Slowly add the melted butter while continuing to beat. Add the almond flour and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the butter cubes and rub it into the flour. Add the sugar and quickly combine to form a smooth dough. Divide the dough into four equal balls and pat down to make a slight disc. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Roll out each of the dough discs to a small circle, about 1/8th inch thick, or to the approximate diameter of whatever baking ring or tin you're using.  (I used 2.75" and 3" round cookie cutters.)  Cut the dough to fit, two for each tin.  Place the rings (I lightly greased the inside of them) on parchment paper on a baking sheet, and fit one round of dough in the bottom of each.  Dab a generous blob of the frangipane on top of the dough rounds inside the rings (you will not likely use all of it), then carefully top with the second rounds. Softly press the tops and bottoms together, keeping the tops flat.  Brush each rondo with the egg wash. Place an almond in the middle of each rondo and press in lightly. Give the tops a second brush with the egg wash.  Bake the rondos for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately remove the baking rings.  Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. 

The original recipe contains an option for filling with almond paste.  These could also be made in a muffin tin or tart tins.  Here is a video that shows how that would work.

I found the original directions for these rather tedious and in that sense difficult to follow.  She goes so far as to tell us to remove the frangipane from the refrigerator before using.  I like to be able to skim a recipe and quickly and easily see what I need to do next without having to read through a lot of text like it's a novel.  These really aren't difficult at all, but they seemed so while making them.

One concern I had was that the frangipane might stick to the rings and the pastries would then be difficult to remove.  That's why I greased the rings, and also pressed the top dough down along the edges to try to prevent any leakage.  It probably wasn't necessary -- no one seemed to have a problem with that, though when making these in a muffin tin, one is directed to fully encase and seal in the filling.

Conclusion:  These were extremely tasty, like a good shortbread, and very rich (over 2 tablespoons of butter each.)  I expected them to be more cake-like, based on the original photos, and considerably less dense.  I would have liked a stronger almond flavor and less lemon.  It seems these often have almond extract added to the filling, which I would do in the future, and perhaps eliminate the zest (just for my own taste preference.)  Cardamom would also be a nice addition.

Original recipe:  Homemade Rondos via Weekend Bakery


  1. Great looking Rondo's. Glad you liked them. The ones I'm accustomed to have almond extract in them so I thought it was nice that the recipe called for citrus zest instead. I like both varieties :)

    1. Yeah, I'm just not much of a citrus fan. I either like it in there strong or not at all, usually.

  2. Very pretty! I think the more filling, the better. I poured all the rest of the filling in my last one and it was my favorite.

    1. I thought they could have used more filling, but I was afraid it would ooze and stick to the ring.

  3. They look very nice, and some extra filling can't be bad. I reduced the sugar, too, though I wasn't quite as daring as you.

    1. I thought they were plenty sweet as I made them. They would REALLY be decadent is sweeter!

  4. Those are very cute Paula. I'm glad to hear the recipe can be cut down.

    1. Thanks, Karen. Yeah, if you're willing to fiddle with those small measurements, it works fine.