Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Almond Paste Recipe- super simple!

I have such a love/hate relationship with Ikea! It is quite a trek for me to visit our store, but I do it around Christmas time in anticipation of getting my hands on some almond paste. I think I might have to start heading there around Halloween in order to actually purchase some. This year they ordered very little and it went very quickly. Out of desperation a couple of years ago I learned how to make almond paste. It is essential for our traditional Danish Christmas Eve dinner, as we must have a marzipan pig to give to the lucky recipient of the almond that gets hidden in the rice pudding.  Today I taught my sister how to make it. We used my tried and true recipe, and made a batch where we experimented with almond flour. I have read some blogs that share the recipe for almond paste made from almond flour. Our opinion on it is this: 1- the almond flour is very hard to get ground fine enough to make a paste that is not grainy. 2- The taste that it lent was less than desirable.  It did not taste fresh, and it left a strange after taste. Her almond flour had not expired and we used all of the same ingredients we used in the fresh ground almond batch. Now, when you have grown up eating imported almond paste and marzipan from Scandinavia you have a knack for picking out good marzipan. I will never make mine out of almond flour. I will always grind my almonds and make it fresh. Fresh compared to store bought is better because it tastes amazing, you can control the amount of sugar you add and you know how old it is. And, it is so much more economical. Why would you NOT make it from scratch?
 4 ingredients and about 10 minutes of your time is all you need to make delicious almond paste.
 Almonds ground and ready for the rest of the ingredients. They end up being very light and fluffy when they are properly processed.
                                     
 A quick kneading to smooth out the almond paste and it is ready to use.
 This is the beautifully smooth ball made from the raw almonds.
 This is made from the almond flour. You can SEE the difference between this and the fresh almond paste.
 This pig mold is available from Amazon for around $5.00. We rolled small balls of the almond paste into powdered sugar and pressed them into both sides of the mold. Then we rubber banded the mold to keep the pieces together and stuck it in the freezer long enough for it to harden.   
Totally not related to the almond paste but my sister's street is lined with these beautiful trees, and I just had to get some photos of the ice frosted berries.
 
Simple Almond Paste
 
1 1/3 C. raw blanched almonds
1 egg white- beaten
1 tsp. almond extract
1 1/3 c. powdered sugar
 
In the bowl of a food processor add the almonds. Process them on high until they are light and fluffy. DO NOT over process them or they will become oily. Add the powdered sugar and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add the almond extract and pulse. Add the egg white, a little at a time, to desired consistency. I process mine until it has a crumbly consistency that sticks together when I push down on it. Cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
 
Note: Don't get discouraged and give up if you try this recipe and it doesn't turn out perfectly. It is worth the effort when you get that perfect batch of almond paste and you have the satisfaction of saying you made it yourself! Promise!!  

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