originally posted at ChefsLine 5 Aug 2007

Purchasing and Storing Almond Paste

When choosing almond paste in the market, often the kind found in the can is of higher quality than the kind in the tube. Love N Bake is a preferred brand as it contains the most almond for the money (is 2 parts almond to 1 part sugar) and gives your baked goods the richest flavor. However, Odsense is also good, and provides a slightly creamier texture for preparing almond creme. Almond pastes are priced competitively - a single recipe will put you back around $7 for the paste.

Love N Bake Almond PasteOdsense Almond PasteSolo Brand Almond Paste

Almond Paste is generally kosher and gluten free but contains about 45% sugar. It should be firm but pliable before use in a recipe. If it becomes hard, it can be softened by heating for a few seconds in the microwave. To store, wrap tightly and refrigerate up to 4 months.

Recipes and Uses

Almond paste is often mistaken for marzipan, but it actually has less sugar and more almond flavor than marzipan. In many recipes, however, the two are interchangeable. You can actually make your own almond paste at home. Click here for a basic recipe.

Generally, almond paste is used in baking. I have reviewed my online recipe files, and here are my favorites among reliable sources (some of which I have prepared) and featuring almond paste:

Best Almond Cookies

Pignoli and Almond Cookies - Decadent and delicious.

Macaroons are a classic almond cookie. We are reaching out to other ChefsLine pastry chefs to find a great recipe for you.

Basic Almond Creme or Frangipane

Many pastry items can be filled with almond cream, sometimes referred to as frangipane. (Frangipane proper is the pastry prepared from almond paste which itself can be used as a tart base.) Below is a recipe that demonstrates how almond paste can be used to make almond cream and a recipe for the pastry cream. Use the almond pastry creme as a layer for a tart or to fill an Italian cream cake.

Puff Pastry Tart Filled with Almond Cream

Frangipane for Tarts

Best Almond Cakes

Almond Cake, Chez Panisse

Almond Cake for Petits Fours, Tami Smith

Almond Cake with Berries, Jacques Peppin

Best Other Almond Pastry

Almond Croissants, Adam Cutsinger
I often prepare Croissants at my restaurant using almond paste. They are very good and the ‘Parisian’ style can be prepared at home using bakery-bought croissants.

1) Make or purchase regular croissants.
2) Cut them in half and drizzle a simple syrup on both inside halves. To make a simple syrup, combing 3 parts sugar and 2 parts water and bring to a boil.
3) Spread a thick layer of almond cream on one inside half or croissant.
4) Reassemble the croissants and spread a thin layer of almond cream on top.
5) Sprinkle a layer of sliced almonds on top
6) Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or just enough to toast the sliced almonds.