Luxembourgers celebrate ‘Bretzelsonnden‘ (Pretzel Sunday) every year on the third Sunday in Lent. Pretzels are a Luxembourg specialty, made of puff pastry with fondant icing and almonds, representing two lovers arm in arm. Although pretzels were originally salted, the sweet version is more common nowadays.
According to tradition, a man should offer his sweetheart one of these pretzels on Pretzel Sunday. If she accepts it, he is allowed to visit her on Easter Day, when he will receive eggs in return.
Otherwise she gives him a basket. Hence the Luxembourgish expression ‘de Kuerf kréien‘ (to be given the basket), meaning to be rejected.
In leap years, the tradition is reversed: girls offer their sweetheart a pretzel.
This recipe is based on Anne Fabers recipe, which can be found at http://anneskitchen.lu/recipes/breakfast/pretzel-cookies/
For the yeast dough:
- 50g grass -fed butter
- 60ml almond milk
- 250g flour
- 4g instant yeast
- 35g coconut blossom sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 egg
For the filling:
- 60g ground almonds (just grind them in your blender)
- 30g coconut sugar
- 1 egg white
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- a pinch of grated tonka bean (Grate the tonka bean using a fine grater -a Microplane works the best for this)
- 1 tbsp abricot jam
For the topping
- 60g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- flaked almonds, to decorate
- Melt the butter with the milk in the microwave. Set aside.
- Put the flour, instant yeast and sugar into a bowl and mix.
- Add the egg, the vanilla essence and the butter-milk mixture and work into a smooth dough, kneading it for 5 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with cling foil. Leave the dough to rise for at least 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing all the filling ingredients together in a bowl.
- After 1 hour, turn the dough onto a flour-dusted work surface and roll into a rectangle approximately 20 x 30 cm.
- Cut the rectangle in half along the middle, so that you end up with two rectangles, each 30cm high. Spread the filling over one half, then top with the second half.
- Cut strips the size of 1cm wide x 30cm high off the dough. Carefully twist each piece of pastry so it looks like a curly straw, then twist into a pretzel shape and put onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Cover the pretzels with a teatowel and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C .
- After 15 minutes, remove the teatowel and bake the pretzels in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Leave the pretzels to cool on a wire rack.
- Once cool, make the topping : mix the icing sugar with enough milk to become a thick icing. Drizzle each pretzel with icing and sprinkle with almond flakes.