Almond meal, called poudre d'amandes (almond powder), is frequently included in French desserts and occasionally in other recipes as well. You will find it added to pastry creams, puddings, cakes and tarts. It adds a lot of moist flavor to whatever you are making and is especially delicious when combined with fruits.
Give almond powder a try in any of these easy ways:
Tarte Amandine - The fruit of your choice is added to a mixture of eggs, sugar, butter,
flour and almond flour, then baked. This tastes great with plums, pears, peaches, and all sort of fruits. Try is in this pear tart recipe.
Frangipane - A mixture of butter, eggs, sugar, and almond flour that is used as an ingredient in desserts, such as this King Cake recipe.
Cakes - You can add in a small amount of almond meal to cake recipes in replacement for part of the flour. Here is a yummy French coffee cake that makes excellent use of this technique: apple cake recipe.
Fruit Pies and Tarts - Try sprinkling the pastry shell with almond powder before adding the fruit.
The almond powder will absorb the extra juice from the fruit and you won't end up with a soggy crust.
Crumbles - Mmmm. Add in a couple of tablespoons of almond flour into your flour, butter and
sugar mix for an extra tasty crumble topping.
Meringues - By adding almond powder to meringue and then baking you get macaroons (which appear
to be the food fad of the century in France and other places.)
Sugar Cookies - Substitute almond powder for a small part of the regular flour in your favorite
sugar cookie recipe.
Breading - Almond meal can be used as a substitute for dried bread crumbs, but you do need to be careful when frying not to burn the almonds. Here is a delicious main dish that uses this technique almond chicken recipe.
Make Your Own
Here in France, almond powder is readily available, but I realize that may not be the case everywhere. If you are unable to purchase almond meal, you can try making your own, although it can be difficult to get a fine meal.
Use whole blanched almonds and grind them in a high quality blender working in small batches and pulsing. Do not over blend or you will end up releasing the oil from the almonds and creating almond butter. You can also make this with unblanched almonds for extra nutrition.
Almond Meal vs. Almond Flour
These two terms can be confusing especially because commercial brands of both meal and flour are not necessarily different from each other. If you are looking for a fine meal (or flour if you wish to call it such), you may have to resort to sifting if what you have is too coarse. The almond flour or meal called for in the recipes on this site is finely ground, but it is still much coarser than wheat flour for example.
Because it contains a high amount of oil, any almond product is susceptible to going rancid. Any you make should be used right away and expiration dates on packaged products should be respected. To store an open package, wrap tightly and keep in the freezer where it will still fresh for several months.
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