The combination of almond paste and custard for the filling is divine!
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This is my Christmas version of the famous Dutch ‘appelrondo’s’ (apple round cakes). They are fun to make and nobody will mind eating them, I can promise you.
Outside the Holiday month each in season fruit will do well in this recipe, the apples of course, but blue-, black-, goos- or raspberry are delish options too. You can also choose to bake without the fruit and add it fresh later. No end of choices!
I added a hint of speculaas spices in the dough which works very well. You can also use pumpkin spice or mixed spice, or leave it out if you prefer. Adding a teaspoon of lemon zest to the dough is also a very tasty option.
I dust the rondo’s with some sugar, but you can also brush them with some warm jam to give them a festive and patisserie shop worthy shine.
Ingredients for the cranberry rondo’s
makes 10 rondo cakes
200 g pastry flour / all purpose flour
7 g baking powder (1.5 tsps)
few pinches of salt
optional: 1/2 tsp speculaas spices (see recipe)
125 g butter at room temperature
125 g soft light brown (muscovado) sugar
20 g buttermilk (or milk with yoghurt)
100 g almond paste (see recipe)
150 g crème pâtissière / pastry cream (see recipe)
about 100 g fresh cranberries, 5 cranberries per rondo
vanilla sugar for sprinkling on cranberries
Preparing in advance
For the filling you need to make a mixture of almond paste and crème pâtissière. You can find the recipe for almond paste here. Our favorite recipe for the crème pâtissière can be found here. You will not need all of it, so you can make half or just make the recipe and use the rest for other pastry projects or store it in the freezer.
The almond paste and creme pat need to be combined to a smooth consistency. For this it is important to loosen the almond paste first by kneading it a bit with your fingers or mashing it with a fork, maybe adding a few teaspoons of egg yolk to make it smoother. Now you can whisk the creme and paste together with a hand mixer on medium speed until blended into one smooth consistency.
Scoop into a piping bag or leave it in the bowl and put in the fridge until needed.
Making the dough
Sift the flour with the baking powder, salt and optional spices. Add the butter to the sugar and combine. Add the buttermilk and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and quickly knead into a ball. Press the ball into a disc shape, cover with clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Making it one day in advance will work fine too, as long as you use the right (low gluten) flour.
Preheat the oven at 175ºC / 350ºF.
Prepare a baking tray by covering it with a sheet of baking paper. Place rondo baking rings on the paper, making sure to keep a small distance between the rings. We use rings with a diameter of 7 cm /2.8 inches.
Take the dough out of the fridge. Roll out into a 7 mm thick rectangle. Cut out 10 circles of 8 cm diameter each (so slightly bigger than the rings). Place the dough rings on top of the rings and carefully lower them to the bottom of the rings, creating a raised edge.
Pipe or spoon the almond paste /custard mixture onto the dough rings (25 grams for each rondo). Press 5 fresh cranberries in the filling and sprinkle on some vanilla sugar.
Bake the rondo’s in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Take from the oven and immediately remove the baking rings, using a towel or cloth to lift them. Leave the rondo’s on the baking tray for a few minutes to firm up, then transfer to a rack and leave to cool completely.