This Dutch Almond Pastry Is a Sweet Treat for the Whole Family

published Jan 30, 2022
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Much of my family hails from the Netherlands, about three or four generations back. My great-grandparents and their generation traveled from Europe and settled mostly around the Midwest: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. And while we don’t keep up all of their cultural or culinary traditions (aside from a hearty Dutch Protestant work ethic), it’s been something I’m learning to embrace and appreciate more over recent years, from De Ruijter chocolate sprinkles on toast to boerenkohl stamppot — a dish of potatoes mashed with kale and served with sausages.

But one culinary tradition we’ve maintained, one that reminds me of my parents and my grandparents, is banket. Pronounced “bahn-KET,” it’s a long, flaky pastry filled with almond paste. The sight and smell of those golden brown sticks is wrapped up in holiday celebrations going back to my childhood, with my grandmothers, various aunts and uncles, my mother, and some of my siblings baking it over the years. But to be honest — we happily craft these pastries in any season.

I’ve loved continuing the tradition of making banket with the family. We usually eat it by slicing off small sections, but if left to my own devices, I’ll easily finish an entire stick. Banket is an easy dessert to like, lightly sweet and buttery with a delightful almond finish. It’s a harbinger of the holidays, but it really speaks to any time the family is gathering together, which are the moments I cherish the most.

How to Make Dutch Banket

My wife has taken up the mantle of making banket in our family. The pastry sticks can be a little fussy, but making them isn’t too terribly difficult. And the almond paste is the only specialty ingredient; you should have everything else on hand. One of the tried and true recipes for banket comes from Spruce Eats. Their recipe uses a pre-made puff pastry, which simplifies the steps; their version also incorporates a little apricot jam as a topping, which plays nicely with the almond filling.

The end result looks impressive coming out of the oven, a golden brown log with a rich almond filling. We often make banket around the holidays, but as Spruce Eats suggests, it’s also perfect with a hot cup of coffee any time of the year.

Some Tricks for Making Dutch Banket

We make a few modifications of our own, usually skipping the apricot jam and powdered sugar, and making a simple pastry dough ourselves. The homemade pastry adds a little time because it needs to chill for a few hours, but overall it’s not difficult. My wife detailed some of our steps on my food/travel site.

The trick with banket is making sure you haven’t rolled the dough too thin, and that the edges are properly sealed. Otherwise the almond paste has a tendency to leak out the side, although personally I don’t mind when it caramelizes a bit.

We also make a slightly larger recipe and divide the dough into eight thinner sticks. That way you have more to share when you’re gathering with friends or family!