Trigona - Christmas almond pastry triangles are an easy and so delicious holiday dessert. Flaky phyllo pastry is stuffed with a mixture of sweet ground almonds, semolina, vanilla, and lemon juice, folded into a small triangle, and baked until crispy perfection.
Why this recipe sings
These almond pastry triangles recipe is a popular Christmas dessert in our family. It is my godmother Kaities's recipe, she makes delicious almond triangles every Christmas for gifts as well as offering them to her guests. The pastries have an almond filling wrapped in buttery crispy phyllo then sprinkled with powdered sugar and do not disappoint.
This recipe is easy but a little time-consuming. You will need around an hour and a half from start to finish. Most of the time is spent folding the triangles. Get your kids to help, to speed up the process!
Here is what you need
Phyllo pastry. Get the thinnest one you can find. Phyllo has a variety of thicknesses, the finer ones are ideal for desserts such as these almond triangles and baklava. Greek markets, as well as Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, should have a variety of phyllo to choose from.
Butter. I always use salted butter unless it is necessary to use unsalted. By all means, use what you prefer.
Blanched almonds. They will get ground to a medium-small size in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle.
Coarse semolina. To thicken and give another texture to the filling. Only ¾ of a cup is enough.
Cane sugar. You will use an equal amount of sugar to the almonds.
Vanilla bean pod. I love using the vanilla seeds from the bean, they have an intense pure aroma and flavor. You can substitute with one teaspoon of vanilla extract.
2 eggs. Medium size. If your eggs are small, use three in the recipe.
Lemon juice. The juice from one lemon balances out the flavors.
Powdered sugar. Sprinkled all over the baked almond triangles for a glorious finish!
Always go for fresh juice for a real lemon. Bottled lemon juice is pasteurized, which means it was heated quickly, and then cooled very quickly again. The heating changes the flavor due to the degradation of some of the chemicals in the juice.
Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise down the middle with a sharp paring knife. Scrape out the seeds from the top down to the other end using the top of the handle of a baby spoon or something small and sharp (not too sharp like a knife). You can save the pod and soak it in your favorite spirit for extra vanilla flavor.
Yes, you can. I like the texture of coarse semolina for these triangles but I have also used regular semolina flour in a pinch.
Step by step
Prepare the filling
The phyllo sheets I use are approximately 14 inches x 18 inches / 35 cm x 45cm. I divide them into 3 inches / 6.5-7 cm pieces
Folding the triangles
The perfect shape for these is an isosceles triangle, a triangle with all sides equal length. I think they look really good in that shape.
There is a trick I use to fold them into perfectly shaped isosceles triangles.
Firstly, I unfold only one of the rolls and keep the rest under a damp towel to keep them moist. I keep the phyllo sheets stacked on top of each other and start with the one on top (Image 1).
First I brush some melted butter on the phyllo surface.
Image 1. A full teaspoon of the almond filling is placed approximately 2.5 inches / 6 cm in from the edge, centered.
Image 2. Very gently, lift the upper left corner and fold down diagonally creating an isosceles triangle shape. You will have some extra phyllo hanging outside the shape. No worries, I will get folded next.
Images 3, 4, 5. Hold the triangle again genty and fold up this time up diagonally. Repeat the same sequence to fold the rest of the triangle.
Place triangles on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Brush a tiny amount of butter on top of each one as you finish folding to keep it moist while you are finishing up the rest of the almond pastry triangles.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F°, or until they have a light golden color.
Sprinkle powdered sugar all over triangles and enjoy!
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Almond Pastry Christmas Triangles
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Medium pot
- Food processor or a mortar and pestle
- Food grade brush
- 3.5 cups blanched almonds 500 gr
- 2¼ cups cane sugar 500 gr
- ⅔ cup coarse semolina
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- 1 lemon juiced
- 16 oz thin phyllo pastry One packet of phyllo #4, 14" x 18"
- 1 cup butter melted
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- Ground the almonds in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle. Avoid grinding them too much. Go for medium-small pieces.
- Place the sugar and 1 cup of water in a large pot over medium heat. Stir for sugar to melt.
- Add the ground almonds and stir.
- When the mixture starts to boil add the semolina, juice from the lemon and vanilla beans seeds. Stir well and remove from heat.
- Add the eggs, one at a time while stirring well. The filling is ready. Set aside and prepare the phyllo.
- Heat the oven to 350°F
- Divide and cut the phyllo roll into five equal pieces.
- Unfold only one of the rolls and keep the rest under a damp towel to keep them moist. Open up the roll and keep the phyllo sheets stacked on top of each other.Start with the one on top.
- Brush some melted butter on all the phyllo surface.
- Place a full teaspoon of the almond filling approximately 2.5 inches (6 cm) in from the edge, centered.
- Very gently, lift the upper left corner and fold down diagonally creating an isosceles triangle shape. You will have some extra phyllo hanging outside the shape. It will be folded with the next step.
- Hold the triangle gently and fold up this time up, diagonally. Repeat the same sequence to fold the rest of the triangle.Place finished triangles on a parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Brush a tiny amount of butter on top of each triangle to keep them moist while you are folding the rest.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F°, or until triangles have a light golden color.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar all over triangles. Enjoy!
- Phyllo pastry sheets come in a variety of thicknesses. The thinnest ones are ideal for desserts such as these almond triangles and baklava. I get #4 like this one from Fresh Direct.
- You can substitute the vanilla bean pod with one teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- I prefer using fresh juice from a real lemon. Bottled lemon juice is pasteurized. The process involved quick heating and cooling which changes the flavor.
- Substitute coarse semolina with regular semolina flour.
- The perfect shape for these is an isosceles triangle, that is a triangle with all sides equal length.
- Check the post for step by step images on how to fold them into perfectly shaped isosceles triangles.