Pastry

How to Make Almond Paste from Scratch

by:
May 20, 2014

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? 

More: Pick up some extra almonds for a batch of homemade almond milk.

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.

Almond Paste

Makes 1 pound

1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 egg white
1 teaspoon almond extract

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. 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Linda Xiao

21 Comments

Emiko December 31, 2016
Ground apricot kernels are actually what give almond extract and almond paste it's distinct flavour, they're what Italians called "mandorle amare" or "bitter almonds". If you don't have them you can substitute almond extract but I wouldn't say to avoid something because of their presence, you actually ideally want them over extract (like real vanilla seeds over extract)!
 
SlowLorus January 1, 2017
Yes, I agree with Emiko that bitter almonds are an essential component to almond paste. Using almond extract approximates the flavor of adding some apricot or peach kernels so I would also choose to add a few actual kernels to this if they are an available option. (Although there are toxicity warnings about ingesting large quantities of stone fruit kernels, I feel ok about adding small amounts for flavoring. Many traditional jam and preserve recipes add a few kernels to impart flavor too.)<br /><br />Also, since the author of this recipe is from Sichuan, she might be familiar with apricot kernels that are sold as "northern" almonds (北杏) in China and sometimes found here in the dried goods aisle at Asian markets. They should be blanched or roasted before using.
 
drfugawe April 22, 2016
I have had a life-long obsession with almond croissants, which of course have a dollop of almond paste in their heart - love 'em so much that I can't not get one in any bakery I visit - sev years ago, I decided to try a 'shortcut' version using some Costco croissants (the ones in the 12 pacs). I cut each croissant in half across the middle and slipped in a Tbs of homemade almond paste and closed it back up - then I made a thick simple syrup and brushed that over each, and finished each with a sprinkle of slivered almonds - to give them a 'professional' look, you can give them a quick kiss under the broiler, for a legit bakery look (you just want to give the slivered almonds a touch of browning - so keep an eye.). They really did look like the real thing - it was hard to even find the cut through the middle - some of my friends still won't believe that I did them at home!
 
Alys August 13, 2015
The best marzipan/almond paste is almonds and honey (enough to make the paste) with a pinch of salt. Eggs and cornstarch are not needed.<br />This freezes well if you want to make a large batch.
 
AntoniaJames June 2, 2014
I much prefer almond paste made with superfine sugar to that made with confectioners sugar. The cornstarch in the latter gives it an "off" taste. ;o)
 
Sharon May 26, 2014
Very helpful post. There are dozens of variations on this recipe so it's easy to customize. Since almond paste is usually only stocked by many supermarkets during the holiday season this will come in handy.
 
Irene [. May 21, 2014
Great post! Almond paste is so good home made, so little effort, and so much better than store bought! When i made almond paste for our Easter Simnel cake (http://www.baker-maker.com/2014/04/apricot-ginger-simnel-cake.html), i was amazed at how many different versions of it there are on the net. i ended up combining a few different recipes to get the results i liked. i opted to not use confectioners sugar because i don't prefer the flavor the cornstarch adds to the final product. but i did add fresh ginger based on the bbc food recipe!
 
Kukla May 21, 2014
Jacques Torres uses in his recipe for Almond Paste a combination of 250 grams of granulated sugar and 75 grams of honey, 100 grams water and 50 grams of Kirsch or simple syrup for 500 grams blanched, whole, almonds and no egg whites. And of course 50 grams butter.
 
Gaia G. May 21, 2014
This is great! I'm not even a huge baker but this is so easy to make I just have to try it. What do you think would be a good vegan substitution for the eggs?
 
cynthia |. May 20, 2014
YES, LINDA! This is incredible. I can't wait to make this (and then eat it all plain in one sitting).
 
Alex R. May 20, 2014
Substitute pistachios for green, pasty fun!
 
Phil A. May 20, 2014
What about concerns with the raw egg white? Could it be pasteurized (cooked to 160 degrees) beforehand?
 
jamcook May 20, 2014
You can buy pasteurized egg whites. "All Whites " or similar products in the dairy case of most supermarkets.
 
Irene [. May 21, 2014
just curious... what is the concern with raw egg white? salmonella in eggs is actualyl quite rare... http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/03/salmonella_and_raw_eggs_how_i_ve_eaten_tons_of_cookie_dough_and_never_gotten.html
 
thecontessa May 20, 2014
Do you think it could be frozen?<br />
 
Manhattan T. May 21, 2014
See AntoniaJames' comments in the recent Almond Scone recipe that was featured. She gives another -- maybe more moist? -- recipe that allows for freezing, so I'm assuming this could be frozen as well. Maybe compare the two and choose which to make.
 
aargersi May 20, 2014
I will never pay for store-bought again. Hurrah!
 
Kukla May 20, 2014
I have been making homemade Almond Paste for many years using a similar recipe with only an addition of 2-3 tablespoons of soften butter and a pinch of salt mixed in after the paste is transferred to a mixing bowl. The butter makes the paste smooth and not so sticky.
 
mauigirlcooks May 21, 2014
I have never made almond paste, but would love to try this recipe. Your addition of some soft butter sounds delicious. Until I tasted homemade almond paste at a wonderful French bistro here in Maui {La Provence, Kula, Maui}, I thought I didn't like it. How wrong I was~it's delicious!
 
Manhattan T. May 21, 2014
Hi, MauiGirlCooks-<br />Sorry to stalk you about something other than this almond paste recipe, but my family and I (two daughters, 18 & 17 + my husband) are going to Maui again (haven't been in about 6 years) and staying in Wailea instead of our standard Napili location. Would so appreciate any reco's you may have for restaurants beyond La Provence? Locals always know best; locals who cook know even more! Any help -- however brief -- is appreciated w/ a big Aloha! [email protected]
 
molly Y. May 20, 2014
this is BEAUTIFUL!