RECIPE TITLE "Almond Paste"
Source: The Art of the Cake: Modern French Baking and Decorating
Copyright © by Bruce Healy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
For 1 pound + 8 ounces (675 g) --- moderate
There are two types of almond paste. The simplest is raw almond paste, which is just a mixture of egg whites with almond-and- sugar powder. Raw almond paste is used in batters and sometimes as a sort of frosting.
The other possibility, which is the one we will be exploring in this section, is cooked almond paste, or confectioners' almond paste. The ingredients required are hot sugar syrup (which is what does the cooking) and blanched almonds, plus corn syrup (or glucose) to prevent crystallization of the sugar syrup and confectioners' sugar to absorb the oil given up by the almonds. The proportions depend on how the almond paste will be used. If it will be a filling for chocolate bonbons, then it must be soft and contain a high proportion of almonds. On the other hand, the almond paste recipe we give here is designed for decorating gateaux. It contains more sugar than almonds, making it finer in texture, easier to model, and less perishable.
- 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces / 300 g); granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (8 cL) cold water
- 1/4 cup (6 cL) light corn syrup
- 1 1/3 cups (7 ounces / 200 g) blanched almonds
- 1cup (4 1/4 ounces / 120 g) confectioners' sugar
Bowl of cold water or candy thermometer
1. Combine the granulated sugar with the water in a heavy 1 -quart (I -L) saucepan or caramel pot and stir to thoroughly moisten the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Moisten a pastry brush with cold water and wash down the sides of the saucepan to dissolve any sugar crystals that form there. Add the corn syrup and continue boiling over medium heat without stirring, washing down the walls of the saucepan as needed to dissolve sugar crystals, until the sugar reaches the low end of the firm-ball stage. When you pluck a little syrup from the saucepan and immerse it in the bowl of cold water, you will be able to roll the syrup between your finger tips into a ball the size of a pea that holds its shape (1). The temperature of the syrup will measure about 243 F (117 C) on the candy thermometer.
2. Meanwhile, combine the almonds and confectioners' sugar in the food processor. When the syrup is ready, turn on the food processor and pour the syrup through the feed tube in a thin stream (2). Continue processing until the almond paste is completely smooth. It will be hot.
3. Transfer the almond paste to a stainless steel bowl, cover it with a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out, and let cool to room temperature. Form the cooled almond paste into a rectangular pad and cover it airtight with plastic wrap.
Covered airtight, at room temperature for up to 1 month.
Or divide the almond paste into quantities suitable for finishing individual desserts--typically 7 to 10 ounces (200 to 300 g) for most gateaux. Wrap each piece of almond paste airtight in plastic wrap, enclose it in a small zippered plastic bag, and freeze for up to 6 months. If frozen, defrost overnight in the refrigerator and use within a few days.
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