Almond Paste Recipe

almond-paste-recipe

Yay! Finally I got the Almond Paste Recipe done!

I really should have done this one sooner since for the past month I have been sharing tons of recipes that all call for ALMOND PASTE!

I learned pretty quickly that not all of you can get it as easily as the rest of us, or the price tag can be a real turn off.

Believe me this ingredient is not cheap! Especially when you are getting into recipes that need 1 and 2lbs of it!

So now, thanks to Chef Tom (a fellow Gretchenator who passed this recipe along to me) we can all get to making the Italian Rainbow Cookies, Italian Bakery Style Butter Spritz Cookies, Apple Raspberry Frangipane Tart and why not make Petit Fours the Classic way with real deal Frangipane Cake!

In the video I show you how to blanch the almonds first, but if you want to save on time you can by them already blanched (this step took me about a half an hour to skin 1 lb!)

You do need a food processor to pull this off though, since it is important to get the almonds to a paste and the only way I can see that happening is with a food processor.

And unless you have a VitaMix , I can’t see a regular blender doing this trick.

Note that although this recipe is interchangeable in recipes that call for almond paste, this homemade version is going to look much different.

This recipe will resemble mashed potatoes more than it will resemble a store-bought almond paste.

Not to mention since we do not have the heavy duty rollers that crush and grind the almonds to a paste as in the factory style manufacturing process, ours will be a bit grainy as well.

This is why I suggest in the video to puree the paste in smaller batches to get it as smooth as possible without burning out your motor!

Often times in recipes that call for almond paste, the author will suggest to soften the store bought almond paste with a bit of egg white.  This is not necessary here since our homemade version is going to be super soft already.

Ok let’s get going with this recipe so you can start making tons of other treats!

Oh yeah and PS- The main difference between Marzipan and Almond Paste is the ratio of almond meal to sugar. Marzipan has a higher ratio of sugar and it has other ingredients as well.

It also depends on the country – in the U.S. they are different but in places like the UK, they are pretty much the same.

almond-paste-recipe

Almond Paste Recipe
 
Prep time
Total time
 
*You can use almond meal/flour interchangeably with the blanched almonds here
Author:
Serves: 2lbs
Ingredients
  • *Blanched Almonds 1lb (454g)
  • Confectioner's Sugar 1lb (454g)
  • Pasteurized Egg Whites 3 (90g)
  • Almond Extract 2 teaspoons (10ml)
Instructions
  1. Place the blanched almonds into the food processor and grind to medium meal
  2. Add half of the confectioners sugar and grind some more (I only did it in halves so that I wouldn't stress my machine)
  3. Add the rest of the confectioners sugar and you will soon have a very fine meal
  4. Add the egg whites and the almond extract and continue to process until you have a paste.
Notes
Store almond paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
 

 

 

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Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie Spice

pumpkin-pie-spice

I’ve been using premixed pumpkin pie spice in my fall recipes a lot lately.

Maybe because I have a giant 1 lb jar of it and I’m trying to use it up!

Before I bought this premixed concoction, I would always make my own blend of the 3 (sometimes 5) essential spices that make up Pumpkin Pie Spice which are Ground: Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Allspice and Cloves.

I say “sometimes 5” because not everyone likes to include the Allspice and Cloves.

You can of course leave those 2 out if you don’t have them or perhaps you don’t like the very pronounced spicy-ness they lend to recipes.  But I do love them in there!

I also tend to add a bit more nutmeg than most people, and I will do that in the form of fresh grated as an extra little kick in my fall recipes

but below I will list the spices in ratios as they are most commonly combined and let you be the judge of adding a pinch more of this one or that one!

Pumpkin Pie Spice
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: ½ cup
Ingredients
  • Ground Cinnamon 3½ tablespoons
  • Ground Ginger 2¼ teaspoons
  • Ground Nutmeg 2 teaspoons
  • Ground Allspice 1¼ teaspoon
  • Ground Cloves 1¼ teaspoon
Instructions
  1. Combine together with a sifter or whisk together in a mixing bowl
Notes
Store in a glass or plastic container with an airtight lid in a cool spot for up to 2 years
 

 

 

 

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Freezing Eggs

Egg

Freezing Eggs

Most of the time the issue of “what to do with these egg (yolks or whites)” comes up when we have a recipe (like my Swiss Buttercream) that takes just part of the egg.

But sometimes you may have more eggs than you can use before their “best by date” so you can break them out of their shells and freeze them.

Freeze only clean, fresh eggs.

Here are some tips on how to freeze eggs

Bowl_of_egg_whitesWhites
For faster thawing and easier measuring, first freeze each white in a standard ice cube tray. Then transfer to a freezer bag AIR TIGHT as much as possible,

Label the date, and freeze for up to 2 months.  Each cube is now equivalent to 1- egg white

If you do not go for the ice cube tray method, upon thawing remember that 1 egg white is equal to about 2 Tablespoons

yoks 2Yolks
The molecular properties of egg yolks cause them to thicken when frozen, so you need to give yolks special treatment.

Beat in 2 teaspoons sugar per 4 yolks.  Since 1 egg yolk is equal to about 1 Tablespoon, you can then spoon a heaping tablespoon of the mixture onto ice cube trays and freeze.

Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag AIR TIGHT and label with the date. Freeze for up to 2 months

broken eggWhole eggs
Beat just until blended, pour 3 Tablespoons each into ice cube trays, and freeze.

Once frozen transfer to a freezer bag AIR TIGHT and label with the number of eggs and the date, and freeze up to 2 months.

You do not need to compensate or adjust your recipes when using frozen yolks due to the extra addition of sugar, it is minimal.

Using Frozen Eggs
When you’re ready to use frozen eggs, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator.

Use egg yolks or whole eggs as soon as they’re thawed. Thawed egg whites will beat to better volume if you allow them to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

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Anise

star-anise_1

Anise – More exactly I should say, “Star Anise” since that is how I use it here in my recipes.  I like to use the whole pods when steeping the flavor into a recipe, but ground anise seeds are wonderful spice additions to many recipes as they impart a licorice or anise flavor. The seeds, whole or ground, are used in a wide variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries including black jelly beans and Italian Pizelle.

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Arrowroot

Arrowroot is a starch that is obtained from tropical plants.
It thickens at a lower temperature than flour or cornstarch and is not weakened by acidic ingredients like cornstarch can be. It has a more neutral taste, and is not affected by freezing. It does not mix well with dairy though as it can form a slimy mixture.
Overheating tends to break down arrowroot’s thickening property so I prefer to use arrowroot in pies and strudel where lower temperatures are occurring throughout the process rather than the high heat boiling of a custard recipe.

Two teaspoons of arrowroot can be substituted for one tablespoon of cornstarch.

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Rhubarb

Rhubarb– is a vegetable that resembles celery in that it grows as stalks. It has leafy green that are not consumed, but the red stalks are prepared in jams, compotes and pies. An addition of sugar is necessary due to its distinctly tart taste.
Northern growers will harvest in early Spring, whereas Southern growers will harvest in early- late fall making Rhubarb available for us here in the USA basically all year round.
I typically buy Rhubarb when I first see it hit the market and I cut it into 1″ pieces and freeze it for later use in pies and jams.
1 Cup Chopped Rhubarb = 118g (4ounces)

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