Dutch letter

The Dutch letter (also referred to as banket letter,[1] almond letter, butter letter,[2] and in Dutch as banketstaaf, banketletter, boterletter, and letterbanket) is a type of pastry that is typically prepared using a mixture of flour, eggs and butter or puff pastry as its base and filled with almond paste (or persipan), dusted with sugar and shaped in an "S" or other letter shape.[1][3][4][5] Marzipan, an almond paste prepared with almond meal and honey or sugar, is sometimes used as the filling.[6] The Dutch letter has a porous or airy and flaky texture.[7]

Place of originNetherlands
Serving temperatureHot or cold
Main ingredients
Dutch letters in Iowa

The pastry was originally shaped "into the initial of the family's surname."[4] Nowadays, the most common shape of the food in the United States is as the letter "S".[4][5] Dutch letters are served as a treat during December, and particularly on Sinterklaasavond on December 5 in the Netherlands,[8] and during some festivals in the United States.


The pastry's name is a shortened version of the Dutch word banketletter.[2] They may also be called banketstaven, boterletters, and letterbanket by Dutch people.[5][9]



In the Netherlands letterbanket are traditionally eaten on Sinterklaasavond on December 5, where they are shaped in the initials of family members.[10][11]


Dutch letters were introduced to the United States by Dutch immigrants,[2] and originated in Pella, Iowa, which was founded in 1845 by "Dutch religious refugees."[3] Dutch letters are a common treat at the annual Tulip Festival in Pella, Iowa, and may be prepared by local residents and sold at markets, gas stations, and various local churches. They are sold year round at Dutch bakeries.[4]


Dutch letters prepared with chocolate are traditionally eaten as part of the activities during the Holland Dutch Winterfest in Holland, Michigan.[12]

See also


  1. Otto, E.; Otto, J. (2004). Our Times, Our Lives. AuthorHouse. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-595-33563-3.
  2. van der, N.S.; Taalunie, N. (2009). Cookies, Coleslaw, and Stoops: The Influence of Dutch on the North American Languages. OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks). Amsterdam University Press. p. 133. ISBN 978-90-8964-124-3.
  3. Kaercher, D.; Stefko, B. (2006). Taste of the Midwest: 12 States, 101 Recipes, 150 Meals, 8,207 Miles and Millions of Memories. Best of the Midwest Book Series. Globe Pequot Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-7627-4072-7.
  4. Fertig, J.M. (2011). Prairie Home Breads: 150 Splendid Recipes from America's Breadbasket. Harvard Common Press. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-55832-173-1.
  5. (Firm), Better Homes and Gardens Books (2003). Biggest Book of Cookies. Better Homes & Gardens. Better Homes and Gardens Books. p. 408. ISBN 978-0-696-21713-5.
  6. Basch, H.; Slater, S. (2012). Frommer's Exploring America by RV. Frommer's Complete Guides. Wiley. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-118-22325-3.
  7. Rice, L.R. (2009). Explorer's Guide Iowa (Explorer's Complete). Explorer's Complete. Countryman Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-1-58157-824-9.
  8. Stevens, B.D.; Rice, D.H.; Vasconcelles, K. (1994). Celebrate Christmas Around the World. Holidays Series. Teacher Created Materials. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-55734-485-4.
  9. Publications International, Ltd (2000). ChristmasTreasury: Family Classic Edition. Publications International, Limited. ISBN 978-0-7853-4406-3.
  10. Howard, C. (2012). Faiths and Festivals: A guide to the religions and celebrations in our multicultural society. Practical pre-school. Andrews UK Limited. ISBN 978-1-907241-89-5.
  11. Wernecke, H.H. (1959). Christmas Customs Around the World. Westminster Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-664-24258-9.
  12. Smith, A.; Kraig, B. (2013). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. p. 751. ISBN 978-0-19-973496-2.
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