I have been making these almond pastries for about 50 years. Friends and relations often ask me for more specific directions, so I wrote these out and thought I would share it here.
1. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.
2. On a floured pastry cloth with floured hands, roll one part out snake-like, about 1" in diameter.
3. Using a sleeved rolling pin, slightly flatten the "snake" long-ways until about 20" long.
4. Continue rolling short ways until the strip is about 5" wide. The long edges can be a little thinner than the middle part.
5. If you are using a pastry bag or plastic bag for the filling, cut about 1" off of the tip. (Cut edge will also be about 1" wide.)
6. Fill the bag with the almond filling and squeeze a tube of the filling down the middle of the strip of dough, leaving about 1 1/2 inches on each end free of filling. (The "rope" of filling should be about 1" in diameter.)
7. Turn the short ends of the pastry in.
8. Fold one long edge loosely over the rope of filling.
9. Using your fingers, apply water to the other long edge.
10. Loosely lap the wet edge over the other edge. (Filling will expand when baking, so leaving it some space will help avoid leakage.)
11. Lightly press the edges down with the back of a fork.
12. Transfer the tube to the baking sheet.
13. Form into desired shape. I like to make "J's" They are easy and can be a candy cane, shepherd's crook, or "J" for Jesus.
14. Brush the pastry with the egg whites.
15. Bake as directed.
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Dec. 21, 2013