Almond Paste: What It Is, Curiosities And Tips

Almond paste is a common ingredient in many traditional Italian dishes, especially some of the best typical products of Sicily. It’s incredibly versatile but often overlooked by chefs across the globe.

We’re here to help you understand what it is and how many uses for almond paste there are!

If you’re wondering what is almond paste, it’s made from almonds, sugar, almond extract and corn syrup or glucose. That’s it: the ingredients in almond paste are very simple. You can make it yourself or purchase it at your local store. However, if you opt to buy it check the label first. Different manufacturers will change the amount of nuts and sugar in the mixture. This will affect the flavor and how your final product tastes.

What Is Almond Paste Used For

One of almond paste uses includes a filling for a variety of pastries, such as Bear Claws (a firm favorite in the US) and all forms of Italian pastries. It has multiple uses around the globe. In Italy, we’re particularly fond of using it to make pignoli. That’s chewy cookies covered in pine nuts. It’s also in our Amarena cookies, well worth trying! In France, another one of almond paste uses include a filling in croissants - that’s very popular - and inside the Galette des Rois, an annual speciality.

Sweden is passionate about almond paste: they use it in biscuits, muffins and buns. It’s also an important ingredient in Shrove Tuesday semla. Of course, you’ve probably already tasted it the way the Finnish like it, as a filling in chocolates.

Almond Paste vs Marzipan

It should be noted that, while almond paste may seem similar to marzipan, they are different. For example, if considering almond paste vs marzipan, it depends on your goal. The ingredients in almond paste are coarser than marzipan. The result is marzipan is sweeter. In addition, almond paste is also used as an ingredient in pastries or as a filling for sweet treats. Marzipan has a more solid form and is used on cakes and to create shapes.

You can eat marzipan by itself, the same is not true for almond paste. However, almond paste is the main ingredient in marzipan!

Storing Almond Paste

Thanks to almond paste ingredients and the careful preparation by experts, it will last for a long time in your cupboard. However, it’s a paste and, once the packet has been opened, it will start to lose its moisture. That will damage the flavor and consistency. To make sure this isn’t an issue, the best option is to wrap the paste up and then put it in an airtight container before storing it in a refrigerator. This will keep it fresh and usable for weeks. Your challenge will be to avoid using it for that long!

It’s also possible to freeze almond paste. This will allow it to keep for months.

A Little History

Although almond paste is associated with Italy, it’s actually believed to have originated as long ago as the 3rd century BC! There are references to it being transported from Arab countries to Sicily. They were responsible for an array of other spicy exotic dishes coming to the West. Of course, the Arabs didn’t bring it to Sicily until the 11th century, for many years it was simply an Indian/Persian secret.

Summing Up

Now you know what is almond paste and that there are many uses for almond paste. More importantly, you know how important it is in traditional Sicilian cooking and how you can purchase authentic products directly from us.

Don’t delay, order today and scintillate your taste buds!