Almond Puff Loaf: A Flaky, Buttery, Jammy Pastry

One of the (many) benefits of working for a baking company is the wealth of recipe knowledge and expertise around me. Every day I’m surrounded with new inspiration: Truthfully, there aren’t enough hours in the day to make everything I’m jotting down on my “to make” list.

When I get a rave recommendation on a recipe from a coworker, I can safely assume it will be a showstopper. This almond puff loaf is absolutely no exception. It comes highly recommended by PJ Hamel, who promised me it was a favorite of hers from growing up and a perpetual crowd-pleaser amongst her friends and family.

Almond puff loaf via @kingarthurflour

Not one to argue with tradition, I immediately set out gathering the ingredients. The recipe looks a bit unusual and complicated at first glance. Composed of two layers topped with jam and toasted almonds and drizzled with icing, it might appear daunting to you.

But it’s a cinch! The base layer comes together like a biscuit dough: cutting in butter and pressing it out thinly. You mix up a simple choux pastry for the second layer and bake it all together.

Almond puff loaf via @kingarthurflour

The result is stunning. The jammy, buttery pastry would look at home in the display case of any French bakery. It puffs up impressively in the oven, then sinks quickly (don’t fret about that! It’s supposed to). The delicate, flaky base shatters at first bite, yielding to the gentle pull of the soft, eggy, popover-like top layer. Barely sweet and fragrant with almond extract, the pastry gets a decadent sugary touch from the jam and icing topping.

Almond puff loaf via @kingarthurflour

I brought it, warm and sticky with jam, to an office full of hungry desk-bound friends. It was devoured in minutes. Through mouthfuls of pastry they mumbled very high praise, so let that be an omen for how well this will go over at any summer party you’ll be attending.

Here’s how to make it. For the first layer, you’ll need:

1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water

Almond puff loaf via @kingarthurflour

Combine the flour and salt, then cut the butter into the flour as you would for a biscuit recipe. Add the water and mix until the dough begins to come together. The dough won’t be entirely smooth. Divide the dough in half and use wet fingers (it will be sticky) to pat each half out into a 10″ x 3″ rectangle on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and make the second layer. You’ll need:

1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract

Bring the water and butter to boil in a medium saucepan. Once the butter melts, add the flour and salt all at once. Stir vigorously with a spoon or spatula until the mixture steams and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Transfer immediately to a mixing bowl and beat for a minute to cool the dough down slightly.

Almond puff loaf via @kingarthurflourAdd the eggs, one at a time, and then the almond extract. Beat until the eggs are fully incorporated, and the dough is matte-looking and no longer glossy or shiny.

Almond puff loaf via @kingarthurflour

Spread half of the batter evenly over one of the dough rectangles, and the rest over the other. Wet your fingers and smooth the top of the batter.

Almond puff loaf via @kingarthurflour

Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. The pastry will turn a deep golden brown and puff up immensely. Remove from the oven and let cool. It will very quickly sink but that’s OK! Don’t panic. It will still be light and airy inside.

Almond puff loaf via @kingarthurflour

Once you’re ready to finish the pastry, spread 1/3 cup of jam (I like apricot or raspberry) over each rectangle. Sprinkle with toasted almonds, and drizzle with icing. To make our simple icing, combine 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar with 1 teaspoon vanilla and about 4 teaspoons of milk. Mix until smooth.

Almond puff loaf via @kingarthurflour

I’m lucky to be the beneficiary of such excellent baking wisdom, and I’m happy to pass along the recipe recommendation to you. I promise that you’ll be the most popular guest at your next graduation party/Memorial Day cookout/potluck if you bring this pastry. Bake it, share it, and see for yourself!

comments

  1. Renee

    I have made this several times, and it is also one of my favorites!
    People are amazed they this is not from a pastry shop. Can one of the unglazed loaves be wrapped well and frozen for another time? Will the texture suffer at all?

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood , post author

      Glad you love it too! You can certainly freeze the unglazed loaf — it should be just fine texture-wise. It may not be quite as flaky but I’d pop it in a warm oven for just a few minutes to help dry out any moisture the loaf may have retained from freezing. -Posie

    2. Emily

      You can freeze it glazed as well! Just warm in the oven! We do it every year (my family has been making this recipe for over 30 years)

    3. Jill

      I grew up with this wonderful pastry, it is a family favorite! My mom got this recipe from a family friend who was a chef in France. He called it Swedish Pastry. Our favorite jam on it is raspberry. There are never any leftovers with this pastry. Everyone is correct in saying that it gets raves when new people try it for the first time. My daughters make it now and share with their friends also. They get the same reaction all the time!!! We have been making this for over fifty years.

    4. Lucy Beecher Wright Cooney

      There’s absolutely no leavening agent in this recipe – is that intentional, or an error.

  2. Kay

    Ooh, these are some of my favorite things to pick up at the bakery! I’ll have to try the recipe out for myself.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Any baking mix (gluten free or wheat) would not work as it includes leavening and other ingredients not needed for this recipe. Save the baking mix for quick bread recipes or even cakes. Happy baking! Irene@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We know there are similar GF versions of this recipe on line, but have yet to test it here in our GF test kitchen. If you decide to give it a go before we do, we’d love to know your results! Happy baking! Irene@KAF

    2. Dawn Matejka

      Yes! I use an all-propose Gluten Free flour for my Swedish Kringle/Almond Puff and have rave reviews from both Gluten free eaters and those lucky people who don’t have to avoid gluten!

  3. Joni Black

    This looks so good…
    Is the butter in the first pastry mix cold or room temperature?
    Thanks
    Joni

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Think of the pastry layers and you’ll know that using cold butter will help you achieve those flaky layers! Happy baking! Irene@KAF

  4. Marilee

    I have made this for years….without the jam though. It is a tradition in many scandanavian families. We have called it Danish Puff.

    Reply
    1. Bernie

      I have also have been making this forever and call it Danish Puff. I was told you can put pie filling between the layers but I didn’t have any luck doing that..one of my favs

    2. Dottiebears

      We call it Danish puff also and it has been our Christmas morning breakfast for at least 50 years. It’s delicious with or without jam. Our method is a simpler for the base layer though

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes, Stephanie! For best results, you might bake the first two layers, then complete with glaze, ice and sprinkle the next day. Some bakers noted that completing the entire treat the night before resulted in a bit of soggy-ness. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  5. Ady Boyd

    I like to use different fruits for the toppings. Blueberries cooked with so sugar, cooled, and topped with almonds and icing is yummy.

    Reply
  6. Marcia Locke

    My mom used to make this (without the jam), I don’t know where she got the recipe.
    She beat the choux dough with a hand mixer right in the cooking pot & that is how I’ve always done it as well. I’m wondering if this would work with spelt flour as well (my daughter-in-law is intolerant of regular wheat).

    Reply
  7. Bfischer315

    I have used an almost identical recipe since the early eighties. A member of the “mothers” group loved to bake and this was a frequent request. I now make it every Christmas and Easter morning but never tried it with jam. It truly is an easy recipe. I use the food processor for the bottom layer and now make it with gluten free flour

    Reply
    1. Kerianne

      Lots of people have been asking for a gluten free version of this recipe. Would you please post it here?

  8. Regina

    What is a good substitute for almond-extract? My son has a peanut and tree nut allergy. Thank you and so want to try this

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood , post author

      You can just use vanilla extract, or leave it out altogether! -Posie

    2. Cheryl Blansett

      I called McCormick several years ago and asked if almond extract would affect someone with tree nut allergies. I learned that real (not imitation) almond extract is made with the drupes of apricots instead of almonds and is not a concern for those with tree nut allergies.

    3. Susan

      My mother has a peanut and tree nut allergy, too, and I just use artificial almond extract for anything that I know she will be eating.

  9. Barbara

    I’ve made this before and it turned out wonderfully! The only change I made was I grated almond paste in between the layers before baking to amp up the almond flavoring. I then topped them off with strawberry jam and toasted almonds…perfection!

    Reply
  10. Shonann

    I must try this for my daughter’s bday party next month. Just a quick question, how many slices did you get from this? I was thinking of cutting these in sticks. I am new at trying out your recipes and I have been satisfied so far.

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood , post author

      I cut mine in about 5 two inch slices, but you could probably get six “sticks” easily out of each loaf (so 12 overall). -Posie

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sadly, we haven’t tested the Almond Puff Loaf recipe with gluten free flour. We know there are some gluten free versions of similar recipes on-line for baking right now if you just have a craving for this treat after seeing this blog. Happy baking! Irene@KAF

    2. jo

      We’ve made gluten-free biscuits and gluten-free choux pastry that turned out wonderfully, so I imagine that this would work gluten-free. Worth a try!

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      If you can pull together a good recipe for a gluten-free version, please share! Elisabeth@KAF

  11. cynthia blair

    This recipe is a family tradition, when someone close passes away trays of these are made for the family. I still carry on this tradition, I have added assorted coffees and teas also. Everyone also loves this as a brunch favorite also.

    Reply
  12. Pam Joyce

    I have been making this since 1972, when my mother-in-law gave me a Betty Crocker Cookbook. My husband’s favorite!

    Reply
  13. Katie Traxel

    My Milwaukee grandmother’s favorite recipe. We grew up eating it and I make it occasionally now. Thanks for the reminder. Time to pull out the stained, hand-written recipe card.

    Reply
    1. Robin Sharp

      All these comments make me want to head to the kitchen to bake instead of studying for an exam or working on the next paper. Your comment is the best- I love old stained recipe cards particularly those with loved ones’ handwriting. Love reading their cookbooks too!

  14. SHIRLEY SHELLEY

    I would like to make gluten free ! Do you think it will work? I always made this before I was gluten free and the family was home!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We haven’t tested this recipe for a gluten free version, but notice there are several on-line that may quench your thirst for this one! Happy baking! Irene@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The first layer where the butter is cut in benefits from chilled butter. For the second layer, it doesn’t matter as it’s cooked on the stove and mixed with a stand mixer. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  15. Marilyn Roninson

    I made this often back in the ’70’s but had forgotten about it. Going to try it again because it was easy and delish! Thanks for reminding me

    Reply
  16. Ginny wirka

    I started making this for every Christmas morning back in 1965. We called it Danish puff. I didn’t do the jam, just glaze.

    Reply
  17. Ruth

    I grew up with my Grandmother making this. She didn’t put jam on hers (I don’t either). I’ve made it for my family and several school teacher lunches. It is one of my favorite dessert/breakfast recipes. I add a little almond extract to the icing and sprinkle the toasted almonds on top of everything to add color. It’s always amazed me how such a simple recipe is so incredibly tasty.

    Reply
  18. Beth

    I got this recipe from my mother about 40 years ago. It has always been one of our favorites. And so easy to make.

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood , post author

      I’d suggest making the loaf and waiting until the next day to cover it with jam and frosting. -Posie

  19. Kathy Harer

    Can’t wait to try this! I love this type of pastry and didn’t realize it could be this easy.

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood , post author

      Yes, it’s a nice surprise to know how simple it is to whip it up! Enjoy. -Posie

  20. Sue

    I, too have made this exact recipe for over 20 years and never was disappointed in the results or the accolades received from happy eaters. Follow the recipe exactly and you will have the same superior results.

    Reply
  21. Bon

    What a beautifully written piece! The photo alone would make me want to try this, but just reading about it was a real treat this morning. I’ve got to get out of bed and try it!

    Reply
  22. Diane Gladstone

    We’ve been eating this since we were little kids. My mom called it Swedish Kringle. We never had it with the am, though. I add almond flavoring to the icing, also. If there is no rolling pin close at hand, rolling the base dough into a long log and pressing it down with your palm works well also (I figured this out in college).

    Reply
  23. Jennifer

    Any ideas for incorporating a layer of cheese inside? This looks a lot like cheese danish I used to have in New Jersey. Thank you for the great looking recipe. I an’t wait to make it.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We bet the first and second layer are as written with some form of cheese filling in place of the apricot preserves. That would make this recipe more like a cheese Danish and may be the long lost recipe you’re looking for! Happy baking! Irene@KAF

  24. Hane

    One of my all-time favorites, which always draws raves! I’ve made this more times than I can count, with almond-flavored icing and sliced almonds on top. Definitely try it!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      When you’re thinking of pie crust or pastry layers, cold butter can be your best friend so the pastry will be flaky – not just tender. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  25. Nancy McConnell

    Do you have the nutritional information about this. I don’t expect it to be a diet pastry but I would still like to know.

    Reply
  26. MaryAlice Denson

    Am I putting one of the rectangles on top of the other with the pastry cream in the middle to bake them?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      MaryAlice, no, this recipe actually makes two separate pastry loaves. Barb@KAF

    2. Marlene

      I didn’t read where any pastry cream is involved. Just pie dough layer and choux paste. The later smeared into place on top of the pie dough. Bake, then finish with jam and eat!!

  27. Jahna

    My family calls this pastry Kringle, which has been passed down through 3 generations of Scandinavians. I have also made it with a layer of pie filling between the layers, which is yummy. In this case, skip the jam, but keep the icing drizzle.

    Reply
  28. Marcia Severson

    This has been a very popular treat in Minnesota for “ages” as Swedish Kringle but a French Canadian friend called it Danish Kringle…I have a sister in law who makes it on a 12 inch round pizza pan and tops it with a can of cherry pie filling before drizzling with frosting..easier? And wow! It is a favorite, no matter what…😘

    Reply
  29. Cassie

    Hmm, this looks just the King Arthur kringle recipe I made around Christmas. Regardless, delicious. Try this with a layer of almond paste between the base layer and pate a choux layer; I did and it’s awesome

    Reply
  30. cheryl

    I always made this by cooling then adding one egg at a time till I read & tried a new method that worked excellent… put the hot dough in a mixer, let it beat up while you break the eggs in another bowl. Add them cold, all at once. while u continue to beat. Works perfectly every time!

    Reply
  31. Sue R.

    I made individual pastries like this for our daughter’s morning wedding reception! Delicious! (Made them ahead of time, froze, then thawed and frosted)

    Reply
    1. sandy

      This is a very helpful comment. I like to make things ahead and would not have thought this pastry would freeze well. Thanks so much for letting us know it does. I also like the idea of making individual pastries. Do you put the jam on before freezing? Sounds like you do but I want to be sure.

  32. Meg F

    Would you recommend placing the baking sheets (with the first dough layer) in the fridge while making the second layer? (Also, thanks for creating and sharing so many fabulous recipes).

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood , post author

      I wouldn’t worry about chilling the first dough layer — it doesn’t take too long to put together the second layer, so it should be just fine. If you were in a VERY warm kitchen, you could, but even then it would be okay if you didn’t. -Posie

  33. Christy

    I used to make this a lot when my kids were home. So easy. Yet it looks like you slaved over a hot stove for hours to make it! I will have to make it again soon. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  34. protzmom

    An old version of the Betty Crocker cookbook has essentially this recipe, without the jam, called Danish Puff. I make it for Easter breakfast, coloring the glaze a delicate yellow, and decorating it with pastel sprinkles. It’s delicious!

    Reply
  35. Lois Springer

    I’ve made this for years also. Betty Crocker had it listed as Danish Puff. My daughter ask for this for her birthday – no cake for her. She shares one with the family and the other is hers over several days.

    Reply
  36. kathleen schilling

    The recipe I use calls for a cream cheese frosting, flavored with almond extract. Then, of course, toasted sliced almonds on top. Yum! Gonna have to make it again.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Suzanne, although currently our blog posts are not printable, you can print the recipe page. Click on the recipe page link that is located beneath the title photo, highlighted in orange. Once on the recipe page, click on the words “print recipe” (located towards the top right of the recipe page) and this will take you to a printable version of the recipe. Barb@KAF

  37. Susan Potenzano

    I made this and it is yummy. Cook it the full hour. I cooked mine the 50 minutes and I found out it was underdone too late. I was distracted by preparing dinner. But I am going to give this another try this weekend.

    Reply
  38. Lois matelan

    I have been making this recipe for thirty years–with one (I think) improvement. That is: I spread the jam on the base layer BEFORE spreading the choux topping over it. Be sure to cover the jam completely on all sides, or the choux will tend to slide off. Then the jam sits contentedly BETWEEN the two pastry layers. Top with icing as above. It is DELICIOUS!

    Reply
  39. Jeri Surovy

    The recipe is in a Betty Crocker cookbook I got as a shower gift in 1971. It is a favorite in our house.

    Reply
  40. ruth breininger

    Your boiled cider rye bread, which is baked every Wednesday, is just a showstopper in my community. My friends and neighbors (including myself!), LOVE your bread. Is there any way that you can bake this healthy, delicious bread year-round? Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We are flattered! If we baked it year round, it would no longer be considered a seasonal bread (cider season). However, consider your request added to our Customer Requests list! Thank you for coming to see us, Ruth! Elisabeth@KAF

  41. nirm

    Can we substitute the eggs with flaxseed meal + water ? Often, I have seen in other recipes that one egg can be substituted with one Tbsp of flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Nirm, unfortunately puff pastries like this will not work with the flaxseed meal egg-replacer–you really need eggs to give you the proper structure. Barb@KAF

  42. Rose L.

    I made my first one 50 years ago from a cook book I received for a Wedding present. ( Danish Puff w/o jelly)
    It was my go to for any occasion I needed to bring a little something special. It’s so fast and easy to put together and presents so well. It was always a hit!

    Reply
  43. Deb

    I always buy King Arthur flour because we live at 7800′ elevation. Are there adjustments to this for high-altitude?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Deb, we’re a bit challenged when it comes to developing high-altitude adjustments for our recipes, since we’re located in a valley here in Vermont, but we do offer this high-altitude baking guide. Barb@KAF

  44. Lisa

    Poise, thank you for answering all questions! I’m baking my pastry right now. If I wait to serve this tomorrow morning, do I wrap cooled pastry and store in counter, or in fridge? Thanks! Lisa

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Lisa, this pastry will tend to dry up in the refrigerator, so I would recommend wrapping the cooled pastry well, and storing it on the counter. BarbD@KAFF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I do not think this is the right place for a sourdough starter, DAR. But, if feeling adventurous, try it! Elisabeth@KAF

  45. Denise

    I must have done something wrong! The layer of choux looks like quiche, not airy at all. The bottom layer is wonderfully flaky. Put the chux in the mixing bowl and beat it to cool off the mixture before adding the eggs one at a time.

    Please help!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Here is what comes to mind. It was simply under-baked. It puffed beautifully in the oven and then once removed, deflated as it cooled. Be sure the choux layer feels crisp to the touch before determining it’s done. Also, be sure your oven is properly preheated. An oven thermometer can take the mystery right out! We hope you will try this recipe again, Denise! Elisabeth@KAF

  46. Casie Williams

    I’ve been baking this for almost 50 years, but never tried adding jam to the top. Guess what I’m doing in the morning???? 😀

    Reply
  47. Marcia

    I’ve been making this for nearly 40 years – original in Betty Crocker book – and everyone raves. It’s been awhile since I have made it – thanks for the reminder! I haven’t tried it with the jam either. Sounds good!

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood , post author

      Teresa, we don’t have an easily printable version of the article but you can print the recipe itself for reference at the link here. Enjoy! -Posie

  48. Janet

    My Mom stayed making this in the 1950’s and I’ve continued the tradition. We called it Danish Puff – icing, but no jam.

    Reply
    1. Posie Harwood , post author

      Yes you can! Just omit the additional salt in the recipe. Enjoy! -Posie

  49. Nancy Vargas

    Let me share a tip which will make this even easier and faster. For the bottom layer and
    for each half of dough, roll it into a log with your hands to as close to the 10 inches as you can get it.
    Place the roll between parchment or wax paper and roll it to the 3 X 10. I use a long piece of wax paper and fold if over the dough log. Then, just flip it onto the parchment lined sheet and give it any final adjustments it may need. Viola! I also did prepare the first layer in the food processor until it came together and transfer to a lightly floured cutting board.

    Reply
  50. Bet

    Does anyone have a brown sugar/cinnamon/pecan topping for this? It looks like a pastry I’ve had that had a nutty-streusel-y topping that I would love to recreate. I can experiment but wondered if something already exists! (My main question is would it work to add a streusel-type topping before you bake it or would that mess with the puffing? Or would the topping get overdone..?)

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmmm, that sounds pretty wonderful. I think it may work but then again, may be too heavy. But, certianly worth the try! We do have a streusel toppingthat meets your description perfectly. Enjoy! Elisabeth@KAF

  51. Lydia

    I made this tonight with my 4yr old. She wanted cherries and chocolate. Cherry jam and chocolate drizzle was heavenly! The second one has mixed berry jam and vanilla icing. I also did not have any almons or almond extract and so I used vanilla. Still amazing.

    Reply
  52. Suchi @elegant meraki

    Made this today for my blog but with a twist. Made a black pepper rose puff loaf. Came out really good just sweet enough with spicy hints from pepper and flowery notes from jam and icing.

    Reply
  53. Traci Stohr

    Is this like a meltaway coffee cake by any chance? I’m looking for a recipe for one that is just pastry, no jam or other additions.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Traci,
      This is similar to a meltaway coffee cake in the sense that it has a quick puff base with a pâte à choux dough on top. Both layers bake up into beautiful pastry–you could try skipping the jam step if you want to top it another way: chocolate, streusel, or both! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  54. Julie

    The first time I tasted this was riding in a car going over Snoqualamie Pass before Thanksgiving. My (new) husband and I were going to Eastern Washington for the holiday and we were delivering my mother in law to her sisters house at a town half way to our final destination. My MIL whipped out a Tupperware container, napkins and a thermos of coffee out of a basket in the back seat and in the container was this luscious pastry. I took a bite thought I had died and gone to
    heaven. She told me it was a pastry her mother always made because they had plenty of eggs, butter, and plum jam (homegrown fruit). OMG!

    Reply
  55. Ronald G Barnes

    I make this with whole wheat flour. It comes out beautifully: light, crispy, and tasty. I fear if I was to make it with all purpose flour it would float away.

    Reply
  56. Duncan Porter-Zuckerman

    I wonder if you or any of the commenters have tried including a custard layer between the two layers the loaf or as stripe down the middle of the loaf. Both are common in Scandinavian pastry shops. I will try to figure out what kind of pastry cream/custard to build into these before baking, but would love some advice!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Duncan, we’ve done some experimenting with using nut pastes or spreads in the middle of the two layers of pastry, which tends to work better than pastry cream, which will break down in the heat of the oven. Almond Schmear or Marzipan are both great options for a middle layer. If you’d like to incorporate some pastry cream into this recipe, consider spreading it on top after the loaf has cooled, before serving. You could garnish it with some fresh sliced fruit too. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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