If you caught my Instagram stories on the day of the banana bread bake off, you might have seen some highlights from the doughnut-making session that Jessica and I shadowed from midnight until 5am at a local Houson bakery, Morningstar.
For baking nerds like us, getting behind the scenes to see how doughnut dough is made (if you didn’t know, the grand majority of all commercial doughnuts are made from mixes), rolled (takes some serious arm strength), fried (they use the longest chopsticks I’ve ever seen to flip doughnuts!) and decorated (soooo many different glazes and toppings!) was FASCINATING. Not to mention eating doughnut holes fresh from the fryer, what a magical experience.
Anyway, during one of the lulls in the actual doughnut making, one woman was straining a huge cheesecloth full of ground blanched almonds to make their housemade almond milk. She was about to toss the giant pouch of leftover grounds when I threw my body in front of the trash, screaming “SAVE THE ALMONDS!!!”
Just kidding, I asked if I could take home the grounds and she said yes. Later that morning, I lugged a plastic sack of almond meal home, spread the damp grounds onto baking sheets and dried them out in a 200 degree oven while I took a nap from 6-9am, and then for a few more hours after I finished baking my 10 banana bread loaves.
This leftover almond meal is commonly dubbed “almond pulp,” and though most of the flavor of the almonds is extracted into the milk, the leftover pulp is rich in fiber and looks exactly like almond meal (aka the priciest of special flours)! Once you dry it out, you can basically use it exactly like almond meal in banana bread, cookies, crackers (even hummus) and more. My first use for it was to to make a frangipane filling for a long-time Pinterest to-do of mine: an apple rosette tart!
Though I haven’t done a tart bake off yet, I did my best with Dorie Greenspan’s buttery tart crust (cutting the butter down to a more convenient single stick) and based the filling off of this delightful-looking Baking Sense tart , subbing the almond pulp for the ground almonds. Normally I bake with Granny Smith apples for the tart contrast, but I loved using the apples that Envy Apples sent me! Envy is a cross between Gala and Braeburn apples with a sweet and crisp (but not overly crunchy) texture that is so good that Aussie Bae ate two of them before I could get to baking. In the tart, they meld gorgeously with the sweet almond filling and buttery crust.
In summary, I highly recommend trying out almond pulp in a recipe if you haven’t tried it yet, ESPECIALLY if you make your own nut milk at home and have been tossing the grounds! If you don’t make nut milk at home, I encourage you to call up or visit your local juice bar or coffee shop to see if they’re regularly tossing their nut meal and might let you take some home. Reduce food waste and save your wallet: it’s a win win!
- Make sure to grease your tart pan VERY well to keep the crust from sticking (you can see some crumbling occurred when I removed my tart)
- This makes a lot of frangipane; it will look close to overflowing in a 9″ tart pan. You can use up to a 12″ tart pan for a better distribution of filling–you’ll just have to roll the crust slightly thinner.
- I brushed half the tart with a sour cherry jam as that’s all I had on hand, but apricot preserves (called for in the original recipe) would probably look prettier, so that’s what I called for in the recipe.
Unofficial directions for making your own almond meal:
- Spread wet almond pulp on a baking sheet (preferably lined with a Silpat or parchment paper) in a 200 degree oven for 2+ hours, depending on how much pulp you have and how thickly it is spread on the sheet. Stir every 30-45 minutes and remove from the oven when the pulp is mostly dry. Let cool.
- Store in a freezer-proof bag. Use as needed!
Apple Frangipane Tart
- For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 tablespoons 1 stick very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- For the filling:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup leftover almond pulp or almond meal
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- To assemble:
- 3 large apples preferably Envy
- 1/2 cup 6 oz, 170g apricot preserves, optional
- For the crust: Grease a 9" tart pan well. Add the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until butter is cut in coarsely. Add the yolk and pulse to combine until the dough forms clumps. Turn the dough out and gather into a ball, incorporating all the floury bits. Quickly and gently press dough evenly into the greased tart pan, prick the crust all over with a fork and then freeze for 30-60 minutes while you make the filling.
- For the filling:
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. (Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients, though the mixture will be slightly more grainy.)
- To assemble:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the chilled crust from the fridge and bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned (you may need a little longer if the tart is thoroughly frozen). Set aside to cool.
- While the crust is cooling, peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4" slices (a mandoline makes this very easy). Add the filling and arrange the apple slices in your desired pattern. Bake until the filling is set, about 45 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for a few minutes to brown the top of the tart. Remove, let cool, and brush with the preserves, if using.