It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Today: With Linda Xiao from The Tart Tart's homemade almond paste, you can take your almond-based desserts and pastries to a whole new level.
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Whenever I think of almond paste, I'm reminded of the marzipan mushrooms I made to top my yearly bûches de Noël for French class in high school. They were the perfect finishing touch, but I'd never actually eat them. Are you even supposed to eat marzipan?
Since then, I've sampled almond paste in plenty of other forms and I have come to love it. It even began to make an appearance in my baking -- for a batch of amaretti cookies or an almond cake, for instance -- but its price tag turned me away again and again.
When I realized how easy it was to make almond paste at home, visions of all the almond-laced pastries I could make swam through my head. Once you try homemade almond paste that isn't supplemented with ground apricot or peach kernels like most commercial versions, you'll want to make cloud cookies, frangipane tarts, and linzer tortes, too.
In a food processor, process the almonds until finely ground, about 1 minute. It’s likely that they’ll clump together because of the oils in the nuts.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Process the mixture together for another minute or so until well combined.
Empty the contents onto a surface dusted with confectioner's sugar and form the clump into a log shape. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour, or until firm. At this point, the almond paste is ready to use. It can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.
My family's from Sichuan, so I have an unparalleled appreciation for Chongqing-style hot pot, fuqi feipian (room temp beef and offal dressed in a really spicy sauce), and pretty much anything doused in red.
I also like tart foods. More lime juice please.