About a week ago I decided that I wanted to make some laminated dough. I have made homemade puff pastry several times previously and decided I wanted to try something different. As my mind often wanders from one idea to another (lets face it, my love for pastries makes it difficult to narrow down the list of things I want to make, not to mention keep me under a bajillion pounds) I generally look elsewhere for inspiration. This time I found it in new friend Libby from attheveryyeast.blogspot.com ’s Prune Danish Braid for the Fearless Beginner. Alright, I’m making Danish.

Follow up:

I like sweet cheese, Sara does not. We have several homemade jams at home, but I wanted something different for my Danish. I was in a bit of a quandary over what to do. Being the uninspired dolt that I am I decided to do what I usually do in this situation, spend hours upon hours researching other blogs and my book collection, er… um, I mean email Joepastry. It went something like this:

to: [email protected]
re: Brilliant Idea, GO!

Dear Joe,
I want to make some Danish, but I have no idea what to fill them with. I require an immediate and brilliant idea from you in order to complete this task, lest I forgot the entire idea and go directly from work to the bar and drink the entire volume of wine you are missing out on for the remainder of lent - you know, to do my part to help the economy. You have 1 hour.

Nick

Being the spoilsport that he is, he not only responded within the allotted time, he did indeed provide a brilliant idea = almond pastry cream. I see now that I was being paid back for my insolence with an elaborate project. Sure, I could just make some pastry cream and flavor it with almond extract, but no, no, Mr. Pastry is aware that I am a perfectionist (and masochist), and would therefore do it the right way, from scratch. Damn you, Joe! Please see my next post for instructions on turning this almond paste into delicious almond pastry cream and marzipan.

Step 1: Steal underpants, (I mean Make almond paste)
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Profit (I mean make almond pastry cream with said almond paste)

Here is what you will need to make roughly 6 oz of almond paste:

  • 4-4.5 oz almonds
  • 2 oz sugar (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 Tbl light corn syrup
  • few drops almond extract
  • 1/4 cup water water + more for boiling

This is my mis en place:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 250F and boil some water (skip the water if using blanched/peeled almonds) while you measure out the rest of the ingredients
  2. Combine sugar, 1/4 cup water and corn syrup in small pot and heat to 235F without stirring, remove from heat and stir in extract
  3. Pour the boiling water over the almonds and allow to sit for 2 minutes
  4. Remove almond a few at a time and peel them. If they are being terribly stubborn, put them back into the water for a few seconds
  5. Toast almonds in oven until dry and fragrant (about 8 minutes)
  6. Grind almonds in food processor while streaming in syrup until smooth. You may need to add a little water to loosen it up

Wrap in plastic or store in a tupperware in the fridge.

When ready to use, allow to warm (pop in microwave or place on top of stove with warm oven) to make it more malleable. Also, I feel it prudent to mention that this stuff is like crack for people with a sweet tooth. DO NOT MAKE THIS if you love sweets and lack self control, as you well inevitably eat it every time you even come anywhere near the fridge until it is all gone.