by Nicole Lisson
- The Capitol Hill Times -
“Alligator” is a type of Jewish pastry that is the definition of rich. Holidays are about indulging, so put your diet mentality on hold until after the New Year; this pastry is worth every calorie.
Every year around Hanukkah, my mom buys alligator by the pound and keeps it on the counter for a breakfast and after-dinner treat. It never lasts long; my family goes nuts over it.
Homemade alligator challenges your baking skills but don’t let that scare you. Once the buttery scent enters your kitchen, you will be glad that you made the effort.
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 envelope dry yeast
- 1 cup warm milk, divided (105-110º F)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 and 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup butter, softened and divided
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup almond paste
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 and 1/2 cups ground and roasted pecans
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- About 60 slightly roasted pecan halves (for decorating)
- 1. Using a microwave, heat maple syrup and 1/4 cup butter in 15-seconds intervals until butter is melted. Stir in the confectioner’s sugar, and beat ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
- 2. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup milk; let yeast stand about 5 minutes (ready when yeast is foamy).
- 3. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, 3 tablespoons melted butter, remaining milk and yeast mixture into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, on high, gradually beat in 2 and 1/2 cups flour.
- 4. Move dough to a floured surface and knead to make smooth, about 6 to 8 minutes. Let dough rest for 30 minutes, covered with a clean towel.
- 5. Roll dough out on a floured surface into a large rectangle, about 16x20 inches. Spread 1/4 cup of softened butter on top. Fold dough into thirds. Repeat twice more, rolling and then spreading with the remaining butter. Allow dough to rest 30 minutes.
- 6. Blend 1 cup sugar, almond paste, 3/4 cup butter, and honey into a paste. Fold ground pecans with 1 tablespoon flour, and combine with paste.
- 7. Return to dough and divide into two equal portions. Using one portion at a time, roll dough as thinly as possible, into an 18x12-inch rectangle.
- 8. Spread half of filling on entire surface of each dough rectangle, then fold each lengthwise into thirds. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. 9. Decorate tops with pecan halves to resemble an alligator's skin. Let rest 15 minutes. 10. Bake at 375º F for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. While still hot, drizzle top with maple icing.