True Almond paste is often difficult to find in the store and when you do happen to find it, the price is usually ridiculous. Making your own almond paste is pretty simple, offers much better flavor than it's corn syrup laden store-bought counterpart and helps keep you from running to the store to make your favorite recipes! If you have an almond tree on your property or on a relative's lot, you are gonna really save some $$$!
Process the blanched almonds in a food processor until ground and no big chunks are remaining. It should look about like this:
Add all of the lemon juice and give it another whirl in the processor. Transfer the ground almond mixture to a large heat-safe bowl.
Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring only until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook until the thermometer registers 240F or until it forms the soft ball stage.
Remove it from the heat and add it to the ground almonds, mixing well.
Mix very well. As soon as it is cool enough to handle, knead until smooth. Alternatively, you can dump it into a kitchen-aid mixer with the dough hook attachment and knead it for 5 minutes on a medium setting or back into the food processor and give it a whirl for 30 seconds or so.
Cool. Pack in jar; cover, and store in refrigerator for 7-10 days to allow it to ripen. If you want to skip the ripening process and use it Right away you can add 1 tsp of almond extract to the ground almonds PRIOR to adding the simple syrup.
Almond paste can be rolled into small logs, wrapped in wax paper or vacuum seal bags and frozen for up to a year without loss of quality. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to a Month.
Since this recipe does not contain egg, it is safe to let frozen almond paste thaw on your counter-top for use in your favorite recipes. If the almond paste happens to be too stiff to handle after storage, it can be sufficiently softened by placing it in top part of double boiler and heat over hot, not boiling, water until it's soft enough to handle.
If you don't know the fabulous things you can do with almond paste, put it in the search engine and see what comes up! That's just the tip of the iceberg!!!