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Almonds

Almonds

About almonds[]

Almonds are the fruit of the almond tree. An almond is an oval, tan-colored nut. It lacks the sweet fleshy outer covering of other members of Prunus (such as the plum and cherry), this being replaced by a leathery coat, called a hull, which contains the edible kernel, commonly called a nut, inside a hard shell. In botanical parlance, the reticulated hard stony shell is called an endocarp, and the fruit, or exocarp, is a drupe, having a downy outer coat.

Types of almond[]

Almonds are available as either a bitter or as a sweet flavored type of nut. There are a variety of almonds available in both different types and forms. As an example, Marcona almonds are a Spanish variety that are more plump than other varieties and richer in flavor. Almonds can be purchased in the shell, shelled whole, sliced, slivered, chopped, or ground. They can be blanched (skins removed), roasted or used as a raw nut.

  • Bitter almonds: The bitter nut must be cooked in order to remove a naturally occurring toxin, so they are not consumed raw, but instead are processed for almond oil or almond extract.
  • Sweet almonds: It is the sweet almond that is the nut commonly available to be served as snacks or added to salads, entrees, side dishes, baked goods, and desserts.

Almond paste[]

Used in a variety of confections, almond paste is made of blanched ground almonds, sugar and glycerin or other liquid. It is also often called "marzipan".

Almond extract[]

Almond extract

Almond extract is a flavoring produced by the combining bitter almond oil with ethyl alcohol.

Almond extract is also a popular substitute for vanilla extract among people with diabetes. Sweet almonds are used in marzipan, nougat, and macaroons, as well as other desserts. Almonds are a rich source of Vitamin E, containing 24 mg per 100 grammes. They are also rich in monounsaturated fat, one of the two "good" fats responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol.

In China, almonds are used in a popular dessert when it is mixed with milk and then served hot.

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