When I lived in Paris, my most favorite breakfast treat was the pain aux amandes–an almond croissant filled and topped with almond cream and sliced almonds and baked. Similar to it was my favorite afternoon snack, bostock, a thick slice of brioche topped with–you guessed it–almond cream and sliced almonds, and baked.
My host “sister,” a stereotypically thin French woman if there ever was one, also loved pain aux amandes. Only of course while I could put away one and a half, she would just barely finish a third of one before grinning, “my, that was rich,” and rubbing her nonexistent belly, expressing her satisfaction in a language we both knew fluently, the language of food.
Passover starts tonight, making both croissants and brioche irrelevant. But almond cream, which is made up simply of ground almonds, sugar, butter, and eggs, is totally of the moment.
As I would do for a croissant, a slice of brioche, or most recently a cut-up pound cake, I spread a homemade simple syrup on top of matzoh and then sort of iced them with my beloved almond cream. The almond cream solidifies slightly in the oven, its sweetness penetrating the matzoh crackers, turning them into almost biscotti-like confections, a nice change of pace from the matzoh crunch and macaroons that usually make up dessert at Passover.
From my kitchen, bringing you unleavened sweets, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Almond Matzoh Toasts
Makes 15 pieces
The smaller amount of sugar makes a subtle-tasting sweet, much like a biscotti. Use the larger amount if you’re serving these for dessert.
juice from 1 orange (1/4 cup)
1/2-2/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons softened butter, diced
3 sheets unsalted matzoh
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the orange juice with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and let simmer gently for about 2 minutes, until syrupy.
Combine the remaining sugar, 1/2 cup almonds, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground, then add the butter and pulse to distribute it. Add in the egg and process until the mixture is creamy.
Arrange the matzoh on the cookie sheet, breaking up pieces as needed to fit them.
Brush each slice generously with the orange syrup. Spread the almond filling across each, getting it all the way to the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the almond cream is firm, the sliced almonds are slightly golden, and the edges of the matzoh are brown. Serve for breakfast, snack or dessert, dusted with powdered sugar if you like.