Almond cream is a common filling in classic pâtisserie, made of almond meal, butter, sugar, and eggs. It is often prepared by the bucketful in professional bakeries, and scooped daily to fill a variety of desserts before they are tucked in the oven.
If you’ve ever had an almond croissant, you’ve enjoyed almond cream. They’re a bakery’s way of utilizing the previous day’s batch of flaky cornets: day-old croissants are sliced open, moistened in syrup, then smeared with almond cream before baking it in the oven. Bostock is of the same ilk—aging brioche is dipped in syrup, topped with almond cream, and baked under a blanket of sliced almonds.
But salvaging yesterday’s baked goods isn’t the only place for almond cream. Tarts are often half-filled with almond cream before a layer of fruit is placed on top. Crepes can be folded around almond cream before being twice baked in the oven. And a layer of frangipane—almond cream plus pastry cream [link]—can be tucked into Danish breakfast pastries as well, or used as a filling of a galette des rois[link].
Almond meal can be purchased at most grocery stores that carry Bob’s Redmill product line, and is often sold in the bulk section by the pound. If you don’t have access to almond meal, you can make your own by processing raw almonds in a food processor until they are the texture of cornmeal.
200g butter, at room temperature
200g almond meal
200g eggs (about 4 large eggs)
3g almond extract
60g all-purpose flour
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. (Alternately, you can use a stand mixer if you have one, or stir rather briskly with a strong wooden spoon, as long as your butter is soft enough.)
- Pulse the butter and sugar together until they are combined, about 10–15 pulses. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and add the almond meal. Pulse until smooth and even, scrape the sides of the bowl down again, and add the eggs, salt, and almond extract.
- Pulse the batter until the eggs are emulsified into the almond cream, then add the flour. Pulse until the flour is evenly incorporated, scrape the sides of the bowl, and pulse a couple more times to ensure the almond cream is evenly mixed.
- Transfer your almond cream to a container with an airtight lid. It will last 1 week in a refrigerator, or up to 3 months in a freezer. If you use the almond cream just after it’s made, it will spread with ease, however it will need to soften at room temperature before you spread it if you store it chilled.