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I’m In The Mood To Bake: Strawberry Puff Loaf

Some mornings I wake up and just want to be home in my kitchen, making something really good for my family to enjoy for breakfast.  That doesn’t happen terribly frequently, much to their chagrin, but when it does, they are happy guys. 

There is a recipe I’ve been meaning to try to out to share with you guys and I finally made time for it today.  It’s a recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. (I love King Arthur Unbleached Plain Flour. Its texture gives a nicer chewiness to my cookies, I’ve noticed, and I really prefer it to the bottom-of-the-line store brand flours that are out there. It’s more expensive, but it’s really superior.) They call this recipe “almond puff loaf,” but I used vanilla extract instead of almond extract, and strawberry preserves instead of their chosen apricot.  We prefer strawberries any day. 🙂

The recipe has several steps to it, but don’t let that deter you; each step is easy, and the culmination of the four steps turns out a lovely pastry that your family will love.  Here it is:


King Arthur Flour’s Almond Puff Loaf

via KingArthurFlour.com

First Layer

Second Layer

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter*
  • 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature; warm them, in the shell, in hot tap water for 10 minutes if they’re cold from the fridge
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • *If you’re using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Topping

  • 2/3 cup jam or preserves
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup slivered or 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 confectioners’ or glazing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 teaspoons milk or water (approximately)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a large cookie sheet.
1) First layer: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the butter, flour, and salt (if you’re using it), working the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or fork, your fingers, or a mixer. Mix until everything is crumbly, then stir in the water. The dough will become cohesive, though not smooth.
2) Divide the dough in half; if you’re using a scale, each half will weigh about 4 5/8 ounces. Wet your hands, and shape each piece of this wet dough into a rough log. Pat the logs into 10″ x 3″ rectangles on the sheet, leaving at least 4″ (but preferably 6″) between them, and 2″ on each side. These puff up in the oven (hence the name), and you need to leave them room for expansion.
3) 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, if you’re using it) 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.
4) Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat it at medium speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just to cool it down a bit.
5) 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.
6) Mix in the almond extract.
7) 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.
8) With a spatula (or your wet fingers) spread the batter until it completely covers the entire bottom layer of dough. Smooth it out as best you can.
9) 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.
10) Topping: Spread each warm pastry with about 1/3 cup of jam or preserves. (Any flavor is fine, but our favorites are raspberry and apricot.)
11) 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.
12) Icing: Stir together the sugar, vanilla, and enough milk or water to form a thick but “drizzlable” icing.
13) Drizzle the icing atop the pastries.
14) Cut into squares or strips to serve.

I really like this recipe; it’s not one that you can make in the thirty minutes before school or church inthe morning, but on a Saturday morning, while the kids are sleeping in, you can get into your kitchen and flex your baking muscles.  Everyone will think you are a baking genius when you show them your creation, and they’ll love eating it, too!  

Enjoy!


(Don’t forget to check out my “In the Kitchen With Mama Steph” Facebook page right here: In the Kitchen with Mama Steph  I’d love to visit with you there!)

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6 thoughts on “I’m In The Mood To Bake: Strawberry Puff Loaf

  1. I agree, some mornings I just want to be in the kitchen makiing anything. This recipe looks great. I can’t wait to make it. I LOVE almond flavoring in baked goods. Thanks for sharing.
    Karen

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