When a recipe calls for Almond Paste, nearly everyone adds it to their shopping list. Yet, if you have raw almonds in your kitchen, you can make it yourself in a food processor in a few minutes, and it will be far better and more satisfying than the commercial paste. Ready-made almond pastes are considerable sweeter than this one with 30-40 percent sugar, roughly the same amount as almonds in the paste. That is very sweet, but all that sugar ensures long shelf life and reduces the chance for rancid almond paste.
1Most almond paste recipes call for blanched, untoasted almonds. But I like an intense flavor that only toasted, unblanched almonds produce. Should you prefer a milder version, blanch and skin the almonds first. This recipe is the food processor version. If you are using a hand grinder, grind the nuts and add confectioners’ sugar. Blend the rest of the ingredients into the nut-sugar mixture by hand.
Most almond paste recipes call for blanched, untoasted almonds. But I like an intense flavor that only toasted, unblanched almonds produce. Should you prefer a milder version, blanch and skin the almonds first. This recipe is the food processor version. If you are using a hand grinder, grind the nuts and add confectioners’ sugar. Blend the rest of the ingredients into the nut-sugar mixture by hand.
1. Toast almonds in 350F degree pre-heated oven until slightly brown and scented, about 11 to 12 minutes. Process them with sugar and salt in a food processor until very fine. About 2 minutes.
2. Combine egg white and almond extract in a small bowl and add to the almond mixture through the feed tube while the machine is running. Continue processing another minute to reach a homogeneous paste.
This is a highly concentrated almond paste that goes a long way. For a turnover or similar pastry, for instance, you need only 2 T (1 oz or 30g) of this paste for each pastry. Since the paste is thick and sticky, for easier spreading you may add a few drops of hot water just before using it.
Makes 1 1/4 cups of paste. The shelf life, if refrigerated, is several months.
2NOTES ABOUT ALMONDS:
It was a common practice in the past to blanch almonds and many recipes still call for them. Blanching gives them a softer texture and milder flavor Today we prefer fuller flavor. If you enjoy the fully intense almond flavor, don’t blanch almonds, but roast them. Should you rather blanch, drop them in boiling water for 1 or 2 minutes. Test one to make sure the skin slips off easily before you drain and cool them under cold running water for a minute. Squeeze each kernel gently with fingers and it slips neatly out of the skin.
3Almond paste and marzipan are two great almond products that pastry and candy makers use a lot. Almond paste is a homogenous blend of roasted finely ground almonds, sugar and egg white. Marzipan, which is especially popular among European candy makers, is similar to almond paste, but has more sugar to make it stiff for easy rolling, shaping and sculpting. You start with almond paste, add sugar and corn syrup cooked to a firm-ball stage and blend. For good quality and not over sweetened almond paste and marzipan, make your own. Almond paste is really easy to make with a food processor, but marzipan takes candy making skill.