Your girl stepped out of her baking comfort zone this weekend and learned to embrace a once loathed food.
For as long as I can remember, I have hated almond flavored baked goods. Almond flavoring factors heavily into many French and Italian sweets in the form of marzipan, almond paste and almond flavoring. Blech is all that comes to mind when I think of these things... or it did at one time.
Fast forward to this weekend... I took a crossant baking class at Sur La Table. One of the croissants that we were going to be making was almond filled. I look at the almond paste sitting in the bowl and my sphincter seized. Do I have to touch that or worse, eat it?
As we began the process of assmembling the almond filling -almond paste, sugar, copious amounts of butter, lemon zest, vanilla, I found myself intrigued by the creamy texture of the filling. It seemed so rich and inviting. I wanted to bathe in it. Strangely enough, the croissants that I most eagerly anticipated were not the chocolate ones, but the almond ones.
The *kitchen bitches pulled the croissants from the oven and assembled them on plates for each baking team. After the obligatory pictures were taken, I grabbed a golden brown horn of lusciousness and bit into it greedily. It was heavenly and I was so taken aback by my own lust for it and how insanely delicious it was that I immediately announced to the teacher that she had converted me to an almond paste lover. She then told me that that very filling is the basis for her Frangipane tart, which is her own favorite sweet.
So I ran home like a good little food geek, almond creme recipe in hand and I sought out a tart shell recipe. I I followed a Williams Sonoma crust recipe that Ifound online, googled Frangipane tart, got the basic idea and assembled one. The result is below. What it lacks in apple symmetry, it has in taste.
Another victory against my pedestrian palate!
*Please note that the term kitchen bitch refers to the helpers that clean the dishes and help prep for the classes. It is not meant to be negative, it's meant to be dripping with jealousy (distinction here). How does one get that sweet gig? I would be a prep monkey for a pastry chef for free if someone offered it to me. Bitches.