Sunday, May 18, 2008

Amandes vertes--Green Almonds

Green Almonds Preserved. Choose almonds green and tender, slightly peel them, drill them with a big needle and put them in cold water. Blanche the fruit in boiling water, drain and rub between cloths to remove down; let them soak for 2 hours in cold water, which you will renew several times, drain again, put them in terrines, cover with boiling sugar syrup (25 degrees density) and a round of paper; drop in the cellar. Give eight ways with almonds, adding each time a little syrup and increasing by 2 degrees the density of syrup, which must be 6 to 37 degrees at the last way. Make sure sugar broth covers fruit at all times. Let them stand for twelve to fifteen days prior to the eighth way. Finish as for other fruits.

Green Almonds. Take green almonds preserved in brandy; being drained dip them one after another in sugar prepared au cassé (twelfth degree), and roll them in white nonpareils, or of any other color, or several colors mixed together, and dry them in the stove, or in a soft oven. They are also done after this manner—cut them into two or four pieces, put them on a baking-plate rubbed with oil, and pour some hot sugar caramelized over; turn them to do the same over again and keep them in a very dry place.

Green almond tarts. Pull the almonds from the tree before they shell, scrape off the down, and put them into a pan with cold spring water; then put them into a skillet with more spring water; set it on a slow fire, and let it remain till it simmers. Change the water twice, and let them remain in the last till tender, then take them out, and dry them well in a cloth. Make a syrup with double refined sugar, put them into it and let them simmer; do the same the next day, put them into a stone jar, and cover them very close, for if the least air comes to them they will turn black; the yellower they are before they are taken out of the water, the greener they will be after they are done. Put them into the crust, cover them with syrup, lay on the lid, and bake them in a moderate oven.
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Recipes collected from friends and relatives
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For true aficionados of green almonds, the prime moment is when the seed case has just begun to plump, the interior is still liquid, and there is no hint of a shell. The whole almond, including the green hull, is served chilled, sometimes in salted ice water, and eaten with a little salt.

In this recipe the green almonds are chopped and combined in a spiced mixture with dates and raisins to make a conserve. The intense almond taste contrasts well with the dense, rich background of the other ingredients. The conserve can be spread on buttered bread for teatime or spooned alongside grilled eggplant and peppers for a sweet-and-savory combination. It also makes a good filling for cookies.

50 to 60 green almonds at the soft nut stage (about 1 1/2 pounds), or 1/2 cup unsalted mature shelled almonds
1 cup raisins
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
8 to 10 large Medjool dates (about 1/2 pound), pitted and coarsely chopped
1 cup water
6 whole cloves, crushed

Using a sharp knife, slice through the green almonds lengthwise, splitting the interior nut in half. Pick out the ivory nut halves with the knife tip and set aside. Do not be concerned if some of the nuts are still in the semi-liquid stage. Set aside 8 halves and coarsely chop the remainder. If you are using mature almonds, chop all of them.

Combine the raisins and the vinegar in a nonreactive saucepan and let stand for 10 minutes. Place over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the sugar, dates, water, and cloves and cook for another 5 minutes. Then add the green or mature almonds and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture will be rather thick and dense.

Remove from the heat and spoon into a hot, dry, sterilized jar with a lid. Tuck the reserved green almond halves along the walls of the jar, making a decorative band or arrangement. Cover with the lid.

Store in the refrigerator. The conserve will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 1 pint.

[recipe from The Glass Pantry, Georgeanne Brennan]seen on

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