Almond Puff Loaf

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Hands-on time:
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Yield: 16 to 20 servings

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The recipe for this buttery, flaky, tender confection has been around for years and years but, like all fine classics, its beauty never fades. It's incredibly easy to make, yet tastes and looks as though a professionally trained pastry chef might have labored over it for hours. Hey, a little subterfuge never hurts any bakers' reputation!

Almond Puff Loaf

star rating (53) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 16 to 20 servings
Published: 01/01/2010

Ingredients

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

Directions

see this recipe's blog »

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.

Reviews

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  • star rating 04/09/2015
  • Jenn from Preston, CT
  • I made this last night for breakfast this morning and wow, so good! My grandmother makes something very similar and this brought that flavor memory right away. I don't like jelly or preserves so I skipped it and just did the almond glaze listed on the blog and sprinkled on ground pecans (that's the only nut item I had in the house). The real star are the pastry layers themselves; delicious and easy to make! I will definitely make this again with different toppings, I'm thinking vanilla extract with nutella in place of the preserves :-)
  • star rating 11/23/2014
  • longhornmama from KAF Community
  • Easy and very good. A great breakfast, brunch, or dessert, would also be nice as a sweet option for cocktails. I used a full cup of homemade raspberry jam and increased the powdered sugar in the icing and used almond extract. Apricot would be delicious and I love the suggestion of almond paste in a previous review. A flexible recipe that could suit a variety of tastes. Definitely leave 6 inches between the pastries before baking. I used parchment paper on one giant baking sheet which worked well. A standard half sheet pan would have been too small. Thanks for the recipe!
  • star rating 06/18/2014
  • Evey's Mia from KAF Community
  • Thanks to the Betty Crocker cookbook, I made this decades ago, before I knew my way around a kitchen. The results were never sweet enough for me, but I was too inexperienced to venture away from the written page. Older and wiser, today I revisited this recipe thanks to the KAF website, and rediscovered an old friend! So easy, and you get two loaves for so little effort! I put a bit of sugar in the base mixture because now I know I can do so and still get excellent results. Also, I had a can of KAF almond schmear that I'd been wanting to use, so I put it on top of the first layer and then made sure to cover both layers completely with the second mixture, which I also sweetened to my own taste. I didn't use any preserves since I'm not a fan of fruit in my danish. Instead, I topped the cooled loaves with a good amount of confectioner's glaze and toasted, chopped almonds. It's absolutely delicious, sweet enough for my personal taste, and has tons of almond flavor thanks to the schmear. I'll be making this again and again now that the recipe and I've become reacquainted.
  • star rating 03/23/2014
  • jtee4short from KAF Community
  • I love this recipe! Late last month was my garden club's brunch so I made this recipe but only needed one loaf; the other I put in my freezer. This month my sister had total knee replacement of both knees. I went up to Wisconsin to visit her and warmed up the second loaf, added the fruit preserve (cherry!) and almonds, then drizzled with the icing. Sis loved it and was amazed that it seemed to have custard in the center. I'm making these for Easter this year, I know my extended family will devour them!
  • star rating 11/17/2013
  • SuzyQT from Spanaway, WA
  • One of my favorite recipes ever. Its looks as though it would be complicated but its actually very easy to put together and tastes fantastic. Bring it to a potluck brunch and it is sure to be a hit. I like either apricot or raspberry jam but there are so many variations you could try.
  • star rating 11/09/2013
  • lovebirdmom from KAF Community
  • I have been making this recipe for 33 years. As long as my husband and I have been married. My husband especially likes baked goods with an almond flavor and this has been his all time favorite. I do not use jam though. All of the sweetening comes from the glaze which I add almond extract to as well as the vanilla. I also don't toast the almonds, but put them directly on the uncooked custard top and then they toast while the custard is cooking. This recipe takes some time but is so simple to make. If you wake up early on a Saturday morning, give your family a treat and put together an Almond Puff Loaf.
  • star rating 04/22/2013
  • Jigglypuff from KAF Community
  • I made this in a toaster oven since my regular oven was broken. It puffed up beautifully! It was my first attempt at choux pastry and I love how easy it was. My brother-in-law, a true pastry snob, said it reminded him of something he would buy at his favourite French bakery. I've always been a bit scared of making pastry from scratch, but I must admit this recipe has boosted my confidence!
  • star rating 04/08/2013
  • Bell from New Hampshire
  • Delicious. Although I thought there wouldn't be enough almond so instead of using vanilla in the icing I used almond extract. Thanks for a fabulous recipe!
  • star rating 02/04/2013
  • lisagail1070 from KAF Community
  • Third time I've made this. First time was perfectly delicious and impressive, 2nd time I must have done something wrong (although I swear I followed instructions as always) because the cream puff part - top layer - was more like a crunchy light cookie. Made it yesterday for a superbowl widow's party and it deliciously turned out exactly as described in the recipe. I will probably only make it again when I have an event and can share. 2 of them are too much for my small family, and it's just as fussy to make half the recipe as it is for the full batch. Very much worth the effort!
  • star rating 05/06/2012
  • denlovert from Montreal. from KAF Community
  • Once again, it's a 5 stars, I made it for a special occasion diner, and it was the peak of the party, some of my guest told me that it is the best dessert they have ever eaten, it made me feel proud, I will bake it for every special occasion. The only difference in the recipe, is that I baked it 8 minutes longer.
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