As many Americans look to cut back on gluten, alternatives like almond flour are really having a moment. Made with 100 percent sweet almonds, it’s the perfect alternative to traditional white flours but lends a unique flavor that can take desserts to the next level. On this episode of Fresh Pickings, we looking at one small nut’s journey through the mill, and how almond flour can transform everything you thought you knew about baking.

Episode 8-Almond Flour Image (1)

We start at the source: the almond. The almond is native to an area stretching from the northern Indian subcontinent westwards to Syria, Israel, and Turkey. It was spread by humans in ancient times along the shores of the Mediterranean into northern Africa and southern Europe and more recently transported to other parts of the world, notably California.

Host Kat Johnson is joined by Cynthia Malaran (also known as DJ Cherishtheluv), the host of Wedding Cake, who shares her childhood memories of discovering that the almond isn’t actually a nut, but a fruit. She bit into what she thought was an apple, but discovered a sour taste and large seed.

Cynthia also shares some health info about the notoriously healthy almond: they provide a good amount of manganese and vitamin E, as well as a healthy serving of monounsaturated fats. Not only do they have a healthy boost of protein, they are also very low in carbohydrates and inherently gluten free. When they are ground into a flour they add moistness and a rich nutty taste to baked goods.

To wrap things up, Kat speaks to Eli Sussman, host of The Line. He shares his recipe for Almond Flourless Cake, which he serves at his Williamsburg restaurant, Samesa.

Almond Flourless Cake (1)

Almond Flourless Cake
By Eli Sussman

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, separated into 4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 2  Tbsp lemon zest, packed
  • 120g white sugar (divided 50 g and 70g)
  • 150g finely ground almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2g cinnamon
  • 3g almond extract
  • 5g vanilla extract
  • 3g white vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  • Preheat oven, prepare pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 °C).  Place a round of parchment grease bundt pan with cooking spray
  • Beat egg yolks, lemon zest, 50g sugar in a large bowl until smooth
  • Add almond extract, vanilla, extract and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Whisk almond flour, baking powder together
  • Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until smooth.
  • Whip egg whites to soft peaks: With an electric mixer with a very clean bowl and clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, When bubbles start to form, add a pinch of salt and the teaspoon of vinegar
  • As the egg whites begin to increase in volume, sprinkle in the remaining 70g sugar, a little at a time, as you continue to beat the eggs whites. Beat until soft peaks form
  • Fold the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture a large scoopful at a time. It create a light batter.
  • Bake at 350°F (175 °C) for 35 minutes.
  • Cool
  • Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar before serving.

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