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Dutch Letters

These S-shaped super flaky butter pastries filled with almond paste and topped with crunchy sugar are popular in both Iowa and Holland during the Christmas season. Here's a recipe that will let you make and enjoy them all year round. —Shirley De Lange, Byron Center, Michigan
  • Total Time
    Prep: 50 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    28 pastry pieces


  • 1 can (8 ounces) almond paste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • DOUGH:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold butter
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 teaspoons water


  • In a large bowl, beat the almond paste, sugar, egg and extract until smooth. Divide into 4 portions. On lightly floured waxed paper, roll each portion into a 12x1/2-in. rope; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Divide into 4 portions.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion into a 14x6-in. rectangle. Place 1 almond paste rope in the center of each rectangle. Moisten long edges of dough; fold over filling. Press seam to seal; tuck in ends.
  • Transfer seam side down to greased baking sheets; form each into an "S" shape. Whisk egg white and water; brush over dough. Using a fork, prick tops at 1-in. intervals to vent.
  • Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. To serve, cut into 2-in. pieces.
Nutrition Facts
1 pastry: 248 calories, 16g fat (9g saturated fat), 42mg cholesterol, 182mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.
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  • S. Delange
    Dec 8, 2012

    Author review: This recipe is slightly different than the recipe I sent in. Either double the filling ingredients or cut the dough ingredients in half. Baking: Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, turn oven to 350 and bake 15 more minutes. Internal temperature should be 160 degrees. I give these away at Christmas. Delicious.

  • demureblu
    Sep 3, 2012

    Have loved this wonderful almond treat for years, but never thought it was something I would attempt at home, and couldn't find them here in MO. You sure made my day when I found this on your site...thank you so very much!

  • ebell
    Feb 7, 2012

    This recipe was quite a bit of work to make, but it was so good, I would definitely make it again.