Holiday Recipe Winner: Almond Puff

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This light pastry is the perfect balance of sweetness and nuttiness. Our staff members’ tastebuds enjoyed the buttery pastry, caramelized frosting, crunchiness of the nuts and the immediate flavor of almond. Becky Heward used chopped pecans on this puff, but walnuts or almonds also work well. Becky is excited to share her mom’s famous recipe with our readers. Each year, Becky and her own children make Almond Puffs for their own family in honor of grandma.

From Memory

Becky Heward, Orem

My mom, Marjorie Jones, lovingly made dozens of batches of Almond Puff each December. For decades, she would make and deliver nearly 100 pastries to family, friends, married children of friends and many current as well as past neighbors every year.

She lived in Holladay on St. Mary’s Way, and during the weeks leading to Christmas her kitchen would be covered with ingredients and boxes with Almond Puffs.

When she was 85, we finally convinced her that she needed to slow down. We made a card with a note for her to give her loved ones stating that she was now “puffed out” and included the recipe so they could continue the tradition of a Christmas Almond Puff on their own. Many have continued the tradition in their homes.

She would not only share this light, delicious pastry with those who lived locally, but she would mail it to friends and grandchildren as far away as Connecticut. She used a neighborhood mail and copy store, and the owner also benefited from the tradition, along with her hair stylist, yard workers, mechanic, seamstress, mailman, milkman, Grandpa’s golf friends and others. She called them all “my friends.”

Mom would cut up cardboard boxes and gift boxes to just the right size of rectangles, cover the rectangle with foil, place an almond puff on top, cover it with waxed paper, and tie it off with a red bow. Christmas time with a cup of eggnog and slices of Almond Puff is a tradition we enjoy each year along with the memory of a great lady who loved people.

— Becky Heward

Almond Puff

    • 1 stick butter or margarine
    • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoon water

Heat oven to 350ºF. Cut butter into flour until well blended. Sprinkle water over mixture and mix with a fork. Round into ball; divide in half. On ungreased baking sheet, pat each half into a strip 12×3 inches long and about three inches apart. Prepare puff recipe.

Puff

    • 1 stick butter or margarine
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs

In a medium saucepan, heat butter and water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in almond extract and flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about one minute. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, all at one time, beat until smooth. Divide in half. Spread each half over pastry strips on baking sheet, covering each pastry completely. Bake about 60 minutes or until topping is crisp and golden brown. Cool and top with glaze (see below) and nuts.

Glaze

    • 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
    • 1 tsp. almond extract
    • 2 tablespoon butter or margarine
    • 1 – 2 tablespoons water
  • Dash of salt

Combine all ingredients. Mix until smooth. Spread on cooled puff and generously top with chopped nuts.

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