Friday, September 24, 2010

Almonds Take A Pasting

Chalk one up for yet another staple that can be made (easily) from scratch and is cheaper and better tasting than the store-bought stuff. This time around it's almond paste.* I don't use it too often—usually never, come to think of it. It's really expensive, so I tend to avoid it. I've probably passed over countless tantalizing recipes because of this one ingredient. Now that I can make it at the drop of a hat... well, things are going to be different. In fact, no sooner did I wrap up my first batch of almond paste and stick it in the fridge, but I had a "why not?" moment and made a second batch right then and there. It's the easiest stuff in the world to make (once you've blanched your own almonds). All snug and double-wrapped in plastic, the extra batch of almond paste is stashed in the corner of my freezer and will no doubt make an appearance around the holidays... if not sooner.  
I have one almond paste-based cookie recipe waiting to be made (the one that first inspired this flurry of DIY activity), but what else can I use almond paste in? I'm sitting here armed with some mad new skills... what can I unleash them on?
  • These Frangipane Cherry Tarts from King Arthur Flour look pretty tasty.
  • The prospect of making my own Amaretti di Saronno (like the expensive imported ones in the pretty red tin) has me clapping my little hands together with glee. Of course, I really love how the imported amaretti come wrapped in pretty papers, and I do love that red tin...
  • What else? I need ideas!
*FYI: Marzipan is very similar, but definitely not the same, as almond paste.
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