What's the closest approximation of an almond?
March 19, 2008 4:38 AM   Subscribe

What nut should I use in place of almonds?

I want to make this recipe which calls for 1/2 a cup blanched almonds ground finely, but I'm (sadly) allergic to almonds (and hazelnuts, the suggested alternative).

I usually default to walnuts when a recipe calls for nuts, but I'm worried they will make the tart too bitter. Is there a better substitute I should use?
posted by Felicity Rilke to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
i bet pine nuts (pignoli) would work. they're very neutral, have none of that bitter skin, and have that same creaminess as almonds.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:40 AM on March 19, 2008

Have you considered macadamia nuts? They have a very mild flavor, I think, but may be slightly more oily. You should probably make sure you're not allergic to them, too.
posted by amtho at 4:51 AM on March 19, 2008

I live in a land where cashews are king. The flavor isn't quite as strong as almond but their natural sweetness and texture makes them a good fit for most recipes (either sweet or savory).
posted by wallaby at 5:00 AM on March 19, 2008

wallaby - you live in Brazil! Why not brazil nuts? Cashews are king in the namesake land of brazil nuts?
posted by amtho at 5:08 AM on March 19, 2008

As someone who's used ground/powdered nuts in lots of recipes....you have few good options. Especially since you've already ruled out hazelnuts.

Ground properly, almonds are powdery and floury. Cashews may be too oily for the recipe, and the flavor will be way, way off. Likewise with pine nuts, macadamias.... you can't just say "oh, it's only another nut" and make the replacement.

Walnuts will make a proper nut meal--the flavor will be different, but might not be as off-putting as you imagine.

The recipe says to grind nuts in a food processor. I find that nuts grind better in a small electric coffee grinder.

(Finally, other nuts may be processed using equipment that has also been used for almonds/hazelnuts. We'll trust you to know what you can tolerate.)
posted by gimonca at 5:31 AM on March 19, 2008

gimonca has a good point, but it doesn't look like there's a large amount of nuts in the recipe. If this was a torte or some other recipe that didn't have much flour, then the consistency of the nut flour would be important, but as it stands I wouldn't be surprised if you could get away with using pretty much any nut — or leaving them out entirely.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:30 AM on March 19, 2008

Pecans are a lot like walnuts (technically, I think they're a type of walnut), but typically sweeter.

I've also used powdered macadamia nuts in a recipe, and they worked fine.
posted by adamrice at 7:21 AM on March 19, 2008

Maybe not the most practical suggestion in the world but the kernels of apricots taste almost exactly like almonds. I'm not sure if you would be allergic to those too. I also don't know how easy it would be to obtain so many kernels but a quick googling reveals some websites you can order them from such as this.
posted by peacheater at 9:29 AM on March 19, 2008

pistachios! Mmm.
posted by misha at 9:41 AM on March 19, 2008

I would use pecans--they add a nice sweet nutty flavor and are often used in tart doughs.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 10:05 AM on March 19, 2008

I like the pistachio suggestion, actually.
posted by gimonca at 3:36 PM on March 19, 2008

Pecans are fantastically oily. Grind with care, or you'll just end up with paste.
posted by gimonca at 3:38 PM on March 19, 2008

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