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ALEXANDER PASTRIES

Alexander pastry In 1818, these pastries were named after the Russian Emperor Alexander I (1777 - 1825), who was also the Grand Duke of Finland. (Finland was a province of the Russian Empire during the years 1809 to 1917.)

The pastries were the first ones in Finland to be named after a famous person.

pastry bottom:
100 g butter
50 ml sugar
½ tsp vanilla sugar
1 tbsp cognac
½ tsp baking powder
225 ml coarse wheat flour
filling and topping:
about 100 - 125 ml frozen raspberries
50 ml sugar
apple marmalade or thick apple sauce (about 50 ml)
icing:
about 10 - 15 frozen raspberries
dash of water
about 100 ml icing sugar

Mix the baking powder with the flour. Beat the softened butter with the sugar and vanilla sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the cognac. Finally stir in the flour by hand, mixing the dough just enough to get the ingredients incorporated.

Form the dough into a flat rectangle, wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator to harden for about 30 minutes. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Between two sheets of baking parchment or plastic wrap, roll out the dough into two flat rectangles, about ½ centimetre thick and 15 × 20 centimetres in size.

Bake the pastry bottoms at 175 °C for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until the pastry is just beginning to colour around the edges. The pastry should remain rather pale. Let the pastry bottoms cool on the baking sheet until they are firm enough to be moved without breaking or cracking. Gently slide them on a wire rack and let cool thoroughly.

Meanwhile, prepare the raspberry filling. Place the frozen raspberries and the sugar into a small saucepan, bring to the boil and cook gently until the sugar has dissolved and the berries are broken (about 15 minutes). Stir every now and then. The filling should be rather thick, let it boil for a little longer if it is too thin. Place the saucepan in a cold water bath and stir the filling until it is cool.

Spread a thin layer of the raspberry filling evenly on the other pastry bottom. Place the other bottom on top and spread it with a thin layer of apple marmalade or sauce. Cover the pastry with plastic and refrigerate until the apple sauce has been absorbed in the pastry, preferably overnight.

For the icing, cook the raspberries and a small amount of water in a small saucepan until the berries release their juices. Strain the berry mixture, reserving the juices. You will need about ¾ tablespoon of juice. Little at a time, add the juice into the icing sugar, until you get a thickish, smooth paste. Using a knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry, spread the icing evenly on top of the pastry bottom and let it set. Cut the pastry bottom in small rectangular pastries with a sharp knife.

Recipe source: adapted from "Aleksanterinleivokset", Helsingin Sanomat/Ruoka & Juoma, 2004.


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