Saturday, September 28, 2013

Homemade Almond Paste

I hope all who are celebrating Father's Day enjoy the day and are appropriately spoiled by their children. I found this quotation I thought you might enjoy. "By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong." -- Charles Wadsworth

Sometimes necessity really is the mother of invention. I committed to make a European-style muffins, flavored with almond paste, for a Father's Day brunch. They aren't difficult to make and they really are delicious. Under normal circumstances, it would be a pleasure, not a problem, to make them for everyone. Lest you think Murphy sleeps once you're in retirement, we really need to have a chat. I live in a community where you can buy almost any ingredient, at least at Christmas time. Once stocks of specialty items like candied fruit are gone, that's it for the year. The trend is creeping down the food chain and we've all learned to buy a year's supply of pumpkin and fresh cranberries while they are available. I was taken aback today, when what I thought would be a quick dash to market, turned into a cook's tour of community grocery stores. I was looking for almond paste. I couldn't find any and in a fit of pique spoke badly of all grocers west of the Hudson River. My thoughts were very colorful and I apologize to any whose relatives I denigrated. Fortunately, my better angels, armed with steely resolve took control and came up with a plan to make almond paste and get on with the remains of the day. I used the recipe from an old Taste of Home yearbook and I was really happy with the results. I actually made two versions of the almond paste. One was a from scratch effort that required blanching of whole almonds before they were ground and mixed with the sugar and egg white. The second effort used prepackaged pulverized almond meal. Interestingly enough, there was no difference in the taste of the two batches. There was, however, an enormous differences in the color of the paste they produced. The one made from the purchased meal was an unappealing tan in color and could not be used in recipes where color is important. The batch made from the blanched almonds was far more appealing and is the one I used to cook with today. The almond paste is easy to make if you have a blender or food processor, and while I wouldn't recommend its use in all applications, it worked well in the muffins I prepared. Here's the recipe. This is a great one to keep in your files for a rainy day.

Homemade Almond Paste


1-1/2 cups blanched almonds

1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 egg white

1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract

1/4 teaspoon salt


1) Place almonds in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar, egg white, extract and salt; cover and process until smooth. 2) Divide almond paste into 1/2-cup portions. I like to roll each portion into a sausage shape and store them in airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 3 months. Yield: 1-1/2 cup.

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How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract - The Old Hen Blog

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