Letterbanket (Letter Cake)

In Holland December 6th is St. Nicholas' own special day. Treasure hunts, parades and other celebrations occur on this day. In the evening, families usually have a special cake called letterbanket. One large cake in the shape of the first letter of the family name, or smaller initial cakes for each member of the family, decorate the table.

Thaw the puff pastry until it is soft.
Roll it out in a strip about 1 1/2 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick.
Roll the marzipan into sausage shapes 1/2 inch wide.
Lay these on the pastry and fold the pastry around the marzipan.
Stick the seam together by brushing water on it and smoothing with the fingers.
Cut off lengths, and shape them into the letters you want, sealing the ends.
Put the letters on a greased baking sheet, seams side down.
Brush them with beaten egg.
Cook for 25-30 minutes.

Marzipan is made from crushed almonds, sugar and egg whites. It can be purchased at Italian markets. For a variation, you can color the marzipan with food coloring.

- originally published in the Holiday 1992 issue of ZuZu

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