Italian Raspberry Almond Paste Squares

Years ago, on a trip to Boston’s North End, we stopped at the famous Mike’s Pastry Shop for some cookies and pastries. One of my favorite treats was a raspberry almond paste square. It consisted of a thin shortbread-like base, a layer of orange marmalade, then an almond paste layer with raspberry, and was topped with toasted pine nuts and almonds, a delicious combination and one I wanted to include in my holiday baking repertoire. This is my version of it (the almond paste layer is based on a recipe by Nick Malgieri) and a favorite for the Christmas Eve cookie platter.

Italian Raspberry Almond Paste Squares
Cookie Base
1-1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
pinch of fine salt
5 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
2/3 c. orange marmalade or apricot jam (for the photo I used apricot)

Almond Filling
1 (8 oz.) can almond paste
1/3 c. sugar
3 large eggs
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
pinch of fine salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. rum emulsion or extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 c. Solo brand raspberry filling
3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1/4 c. unsalted, dry toasted sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 or 10×10 metal pan. Line pan with parchment paper. Begin by making the cookie base. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse in the butter to form coarse crumbs. Add the egg and pulse to just bring the mixture together. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and press into the edges of the pan to make a smooth even base. Spoon the jam on top of the base and smooth out to reach the edges of the pan. For the almond filling: In a food processor pulse together the almond paste and sugar until it is a smooth granular mixture. Transfer the almond paste mixture to a mixing bowl. Add eggs, then butter. Beat well. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. Add flour and extracts and beat until smooth. Spread almond paste mixture over the base and smooth out with a spatula. Spoon raspberry filling gently over the almond paste mixture. Run a toothpick through the raspberry filling to swirl it through the almond filling. Sprinkle with pine nuts, then sliced almonds. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through baking. It should be golden and set in the middle. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Lift almond paste squares out of the pan and onto the rack to cool completely before cutting into small squares. Makes 30-40 squares.

Swirled Raspberry Filling

Nut Topped bars ready for the oven

Baked Raspberry Almond Paste Bars



This entry was posted in Christmas, Cookies, Desserts, Easter, Fruit, Jams and Jellies. Bookmark the permalink.

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