It was definitely worth crossing the strait of Gibraltar for. Those of you who know me also know that this is a fear of mine: deep water. But I do love almonds.
These days I recognize the love affair goes both ways: almonds love me. Both poets and sexologists have written about how the aroma arouses passion and desire. (Almonds have also been the symbol of fertility throughout the ages.) Scientists have proven almonds provide high doses of vitamin E, magnesium and even fiber and you can read everywhere on Internet that almonds reduce the risk of heart disease, enhance the control of blood sugar and help manage your weight. They are a rich source of protein, healthy fats, antioxidants and minerals such as potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese and copper.
Well, lucky for me, the one who doesn’t like to cross the deep water in the strait, the Moors took the almonds to southern Spain. Not only are our hills covered with almond trees, our neighboring village is the home of the truly locally celebrated almond and garlic based soup, Ajo Blanco. Almonds also really shine as the base to a multitude of Spanish sweets. Swirled into chocolate, pulverized into a paste for marzipan, and of course, Spain’s most beloved almond nugget candy, turrón.
Still, I have to take the ferry now and then. If for nothing else, then for freshly made Almond Ghoriba, even if it’s just for the day. For those of you who don’t have that opportunity: here is a recipe:
1 kg almonds
800 g powdered sugar
the zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon cinnamon
30 g baking powder
20 g of vanilla sugar
100 g butter
2 tablespoons of orange blossom essence
Blanch almonds, peel, then mix them in a blender. Add cinnamon, baking powder, most of the powdered sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon zest, butter, essence of orange blossoms and eggs. Mix all ingredients thoroughly until smooth, grease your hands, shape pastry into small balls. Dip them in powdered sugar. Place them on a greased and floured tray, bake in medium heat for about 20 to 25 min.
Almonds are ripe in June - August. This is how they looked on March 5, 2013 at my house - worth waiting for.