Almond paste bought in stores are either too sweet or too processed with fillers and preservatives, not to mention pricey. Making it at home requires a bit more of elbow grease but it's all worth it in the end. It tastes so much better. After all today, it is a badge of honor to be able to say, one make a culinary delight from scratch. The paste is such an important ingredient for a lot of pastries. Almond cream is made with this delicious paste or the favorite frangipane filling. It is I think the secret to making artisan-quality bakery goods in your own home.
Start with 2 pounds of raw almonds and pour boiling water into them for at least 5 minutes.
This should soften and loosen the skin and slide off easily when rubbed between your fingers.
Toast the almonds until completely dry in a 250F oven for less than 10 minutes. Let cool and start grinding.
Very dry almonds will grind very well in a food processor. Repeat the grinding until almost powder. Set aside and make the syrup that will sweeten and bind into a paste. For every cup of almond meal I put 1/4 cup of sugar and a tablespoon of light corn syrup. Heat the sugar mixture about 235F until dissolved without stirring. Then add a drop or two of almond extract to the syrup if you wish. Return the fine almond meal into the processor and grind again incorporating the syrup slowly. Find a grinder that can make peanut butter if your food processor does not grind finely enough.
It's now ready to use or eat. It will stay firm but malleable at room temperature. This paste is perfect for making marzipan.
I took a piece to test and darkened it with a pinch of cocoa powder and pressed it on a mould dusted with powdered sugar. The result was quite satisfactory. Every detail of the mould will come out really fine when the paste is made well, I have to say.
I am sure you'll have much fun making this and other recipes with the versatile almond paste.