Involtini is Italian for “roll-up” (or at least that’s my rough translation), and can be applied to meats, vegetables, and in this case: pastry. These roll-up cookies can be made any time of year, but they’re so good-looking and tasty that I think they make a perfect addition to the Christmas cookie plate. They take a little time to assemble, mostly because you have to keep the dough chilled throughout the process to keep things from breaking and stretching, but the resulting almond-raspberry flavors are worth the wait. Just pick a good movie and relax while you wait for the dough to chill in between steps.
You can make these cookies with any type of fruit jam you like, but I like the rich red color of the raspberry jam during the holidays:
adapted from Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini
for the involtini dough:
1 stick cold butter, cubed
1 1/3 cups all-purpose or pastry flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
for the almond crema:
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup almond paste
3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 cup raw sugar
to make the involtini dough:
1. Mix the butter, flour, salt, and sugar in a clean bowl in the Kitchen-Aid at medium speed (speed 3) until the butter is broken up into pebble-sized pieces. Add 3 teaspoons of water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the dough from the mixer and wrap in in plastic wrap or a tightly sealed plastic bag, and let rest in refrigerator for 2 hours. (Can be left in refrigerator for up to two days, or frozen and thawed for later use.)
to make the almond crema:
1. Combine the butter, sugar, and almond paste in the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid. Using the paddle attachment, cream the ingredients at medium speed (speed 3) until the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain (about 2 minutes).
2. Add the almond flour and all-purpose flour and continue mixing for 30 seconds at a low speed until everything is incorporated.
3. With the mixer still running, add the eggs (2) one at a time, making sure each egg is thoroughly blended into the mixture before adding the next one.
4. When both eggs have been added and the mixture is well combined, scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix in anything that has stuck to the sides. Then refrigerate the crema in an airtight container until it sets, about 20 minutes. It will keep in the fridge for up to 1 day.
to assemble the involtini:
1. Roll out the dough on a floured surface with a rolling pin until it is 1/8 inch thick. Once the dough is rolled out, place it on a cookie tray and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then cut the dough into 2 rectangles about 7 inches by 9 inches and put it back in the fridge, so that the butter in the dough stays cold.
2. Take the almond crema out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature until it becomes soft. Then remove the dough from the fridge and immediately spread a thin layer of the crema on top of it. Chill the dough in the fridge for another 15 minutes. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and spread a thin layer of jam across the crema. If the dough is very soft, place it back in the refrigerator until it becomes pliable.
4. Roll the dough into a tube with the long side of the rectangle facing you. Fold 1/4 inch of the dough over itself, and place both hands on that fold to gently begin roll the dough lengthwise into a long tube. Repeat with the other rectangle of dough.
5. Wrap the logs loosely in plastic wrap and cool them in the freezer for 1 hour, so the dough is easy to cut.
1. When the dough has almost finished chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sprinkle the raw sugar onto a plate or baking sheet, and beat the egg in a small bowl using a fork. Remove the logs from the freezer, remove plastic wrap, and brush them on all sides with egg. Then roll the log in the sugar, coating it evenly on all sides.
2. Cut the logs widthwise into 1/4-inch thick rounds and place on lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the involtini are golden brown.