These walnut crescents, called nussgipfeli in Swiss German dialect, quickly became favorites of mine when I worked at a hotel outside Zurich in the early 1970s. Leftover pastries from the previous day always appeared with our staff lunch, and if you were quick enough to be in the front of the line, you had a good selection to choose from. For me, it was either one of these or a wedge of a typically Swiss version of a Linzertorte with a layer of kirsch-scented almond paste under the raspberry preserves. These crescents are a lightened Swiss version of a wonderful old Viennese pastry called a Nussbeugel, in which the same walnut filling is wrapped inside a tender yeast dough. Instant puff pastry is perfect for these, or use any good brand of all-butter prepared puff pastry.
These aren’t really a dessert—you can serve them for breakfast, brunch, or tea.
Keep the pastries loosely covered on the day they are baked. Wrap and freeze for longer storage. Defrost, reheat at 350°F (180°C) for 10 minutes, then cool before serving again.
© 2008 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.