Cherry Almond Twist Pastry

Cherry Almond Twist Pastry

2/3 cup (about 3 ounce) dried cherries
1 (7 to 8 ounce) package almond paste (not marzipan)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 (17.3 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the dried cherries and just enough warm water to cover. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a food processor, process the almond paste and butter until smooth. Add the cherries and pulse until they are evenly mixed — they’ll still be chunky.

On a lightly floured surface, gently roll one of the pastry sheets to remove any creases. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, trim the corners of the pastry to form a circle about 11 inches in diameter.

Spread the almond filling over the pastry, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Roll the second sheet of pastry to remove any creases and place over the filling. Trim to fit the bottom layer and press to seal the edges.

Lightly press a 1 1/2-inch wide biscuit cutter in the center of the pastry to form a guideline (without cutting through the pastry). Cut the pastry into 16 equal wedges, cutting just up to the edge of the center circle. (The wedges should be about 1 1/2 inches wide at the outside edge.)

Gently grasp the outside edge of each wedge and give it a double twist, forming a starburst pattern. Brush the egg wash over the pastry. Sprinkle the almonds over the top, if desired.

Bake until the pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly; the pastry is best served warm.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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