The thing about bucket lists is they feel like a never ending well of desire. Every time you cross one thing off of it, another one crops up in its place. I suppose that’s not such a bad predicament to be in, except I get very anxious about time—how much more of it we have, that is. Living in a rural area, with limited (immediate) access to some of my favorite ingredients helps me knock items off my cooking bucket list (is it okay to have such a thing?). That’s how this recipe for Homemade Almond Paste came to be.
Yes, in this day of online ordering, virtually everything is at our fingertips. Except the brand of almond pasta I wanted. I’d picked it up earlier this year on a trip to Montreal. The almond paste is from Germany, and some of the best I’ve ever used. It spoiled me for any future brands, and when I couldn’t track it down online, I took to the kitchen, finally resolved to make my own recipe, as I’ve been meaning to for years.
Most homemade almond paste recipes use egg whites. This wasn’t an option for me because I wanted to stay true to the ingredients on the package of the brand I was crushing on real hard. Egg whites weren’t on there. In fact, they’re not in most of the store bought brands I looked at. Interestingly enough, though I did come across an article online where a famous French pastry chef uses them in his homemade version. I’d link to the article, and tell you the chef if I could remember. Being short on time, perpetually, I’d rather spend it writing here, than doing searches to unearth the article. I will add it to my To Do list, and update this post when I do find it.
Anywho, back to the homemade almond paste recipe. If you decide to nix egg whites, as I did, you need another binding agent to hold it together. Many packaged almond pastes use a sugar syrup (or sadly corn syrup) to achieve this. A few recipes I came across called for honey instead, but I felt that would be overpowering so settled on a combination of honey and confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar for my European friends).
Of course, using honey means this is not vegan. I do want to work on a recipe in the future. One cooking bucket list item at a time. The addition of honey lends a delicate flavor to the almond paste. Not overpowering at all, since I used a creamy churned honey. I’d avoid a wildflower honey unless you want that perfumed essence in your almond paste. And truthfully, since I used churned honey, I can’t attest to the results if using regular honey. Let me know if you decide to swap that in here.
I gave my homemade almond paste a test run with a tried and true recipe—my Italian Rainbow Cookies. They took a few minutes longer to bake, but the almondy sponge layers for this cake had a lovely, lighter spring to them. I can only attribute this to the almond paste since they’ve been the same year after year, with no change until now (and a very good change, too).
So, there you have it folks. One thing off my bucket list, and perhaps now shuffled onto yours if you’re intrigued to give this homemade almond paste a try yourself. I can’t wait to use it my Galette des rois this year.
The recipe related to this post is available for paid subscribers at my new site Simmering. Join hundreds of other subscribers now for only $5/month or $30/year (that’s six months free!). Quarterly e-cookbooks are an additional benefit of paid membership.