For the dough:
Put the water in a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir until the yeast has dissolved. Beat the egg into the yeast mixture, and set aside.
Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the yeast mixture. Knead until the mix forms a ball- if too moist add a bit more flour. Knead 10 minutes more.
Roll out to an 11" square. Spread 1/2 cup butter over the surface of the dough. Fold the dough into thirds and wrap in a damp cloth. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Repeat this process beginning from rolling out the dough, two more times.
While the dough is in the refrigerator the last time, you should prepare the fillings, icings or other recipes you will need for the finished pastries.
The following parts will give you the variety of pastries made with this dough, and the methods. They will be followed by additional recipes needed to prepare the pastries.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR WEINERBROD:
Place the dough on a lightly floured board and cut it in half. Roll each piece into 24" X 6" strip. Spread the surface with Almond butter. Fold the edges lengthwise toward the center, allowing 1" space in the center. Sprinkle the plumped currants and spoon the Vanilla Cream into the 1" space between the edges. Repeat with second strip. Place both lengths of dough on a baking sheet and shape strips together like a giant pretzel, tucking in the ends. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with almonds. Allow the dough to rise 1 hour in a cool room. When light, bake 35 minutes in a 375 degree F. oven. (or, if making small pastries, 10-12 minutes) Cool and ice. Cut in 3" pieces. This makes 1 large pastry or 24 small ones. See later parts for necessary fillings and icings.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SPANDAUER:
Use your favorite jelly
Place the dough on a floured board and cut it in half. Roll each half 1/4" thick Cut into 4" squares. Spread Almond butter on each square. Sprinkle plumped currants or raisins on top. Fold corners to center. Put a bit of your favorite jelly in the center. Spoon Vanilla Cream in center. Place 2" apart on baking sheet. Brush with egg wash. Let rise till puffy. Brush again with the egg wash. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SNAILS:
Place dough on a lightly floured board and roll into a large rectangle 1/4" thick. Spread with almond butter and plumped currants or raisins. Roll jelly roll style. Cut into 1" slices and place slices 2" apart on baking sheet, cut side down. Spoon Vanilla cream in the center of each. Let rise until light. Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees F. Ice and sprinkle with almonds.
ALMOND BUTTER: Cream together the sugar and butter, then blend in the almonds, making sure to mix well.
ICING: Beat the sugar and water together until completely blended. Drizzle over the pastry and garnish with cherries and almonds if desired.
VANILLA CREAM: Combile all the ingredients except the vanilla in a saucepan. Blend and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Whip mixture occasionally to keep it from forming a film, if not using immediately.
PLUMP CURRANTS: Sprinkle the rum or cognac over the currants (or raisins) and set aside until they have been plumped.
EGG WASH: Beat together the egg and water, mixing well. Reserve for use as needed.
Source: Vera Stevens, my mother