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Celebrate the tradition of Bretzelsonndeg, or Pretzel Sunday, on the 19th of March by gifting a delicious pretzel to your sweetheart – we have the perfect recipe for you to impress your loved ones with a sweet homemade pretzel!
This year, the Luxembourgish tradition marking the halfway point to the Easter festivities is celebrated on the 19th of March. Traditionally, on the 4th Sunday of Lent men gift their sweetheart a pretzel as symbolic demonstration of their affection. If their love is reciprocated, they receive a chocolate egg in return on Easter Sunday.
Based on a danish pastry, this delightful Luxembourgish specialty comes in the shape of an eight and is most commonly topped with a fondant glaze and sliced almonds. The toppings and fillings can of course be changed according to personal preference, as for example with chocolate flakes or chopped pistachios.
We prepared this tasty recipe of a traditional ‘Mandelbrezel’ (almond pretzel) that allows everyone to participate in this fun cultural holiday and to demonstrate their devotion and appreciation for their loved ones.
For the Danish Pastry:
- 500 g plain flower
- 250 ml milk
- 50 g margarine
- 60 g sugar
- 25 g instant yeast
- 8 g salt
- 225 g margarine
- 100 g fondant (10 g / pretzel)
- 2 egg yolk
- 150 g sliced or chopped almonds (15 g / pretzel)
- Start by combining the flower, salt, sugar, margarine and yeast in a large bowl.
- Mix thoroughly whilst gradually adding the cold milk until a smooth and homogenous dough has formed that easily lifts from the bowl. (Note: the temperature of the dough should not exceed 26°C)
- Cover the kneaded dough with a moist towel and let it rest for 20 minutes, then let it cool down in the fridge for another 15 minutes.
- Form the margarine into 1 cm-thick rectangle on a plate and also put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Once properly cooled, roll out the dough into a slightly larger, 1 cm-thick rectangle and place the margarine carefully on top. Make sure that the layers are exactly on top of each other, then fold the corners of the dough into the middle, neatly enclosing the margarine. Proceed to roll out the dough lengthwise, taking care to maintain its rectangular shape.
- Fold the dough over itself from one side across the middle (60%), then repeat from the other side, ultimately ending up with 3 layers. Gently press / roll the dough together and put it in the fridge to cool for another 30 minutes. Repeat this step twice over.
- Roll out the dough into a 1 cm-thick rectangle and cut 10 approximately 40 cm-long strips. Twist each strip into a braided ribbon and form it into a pretzel shape, making sure both ends intertwine in the middle.
- Gently brush the pretzels with water, then let them rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. Pre-heat the oven at 180°C, brush the pastries with a beaten egg yolk for an even crispier texture, then bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and let them cool.
- Finish by topping the pretzels with the warm fondant and sliced almonds.