Listen up. Today's almond pate variety should be every vegan's first lesson in savory vegan entertaining. Or savory omnivore entertaining, for that matter. Unless you have an almond allergy (sorry, folks with almond allergies), there's little excuse not to have this creamy, rich, flavorful spread in your pie hole at every party you ever attend from now on. It's seriously gorgeous. And, thanks to store-bought almond meal, blissfully easy to make.
This version doesn't contain as much acid as MSV's garlic-white wine almond pate, but gets brightness from lemon zest, and is a little extra creamy from the addition of soy milk.
Toss in some complexity from woody and floral herbes de Provence, and you're all ready to triple the recipe and use a nine-inch springform pan to mold it so you can haul it to your next warm-weather party to feed a crowd(*). Everyone (without almond allergies) will adore it.
Or just make a single batch for days of indulgent snacks just for you and yours. That works, too.
(*The freezer shortcut offered in the instructions is not recommended for so large a wheel. Instead, refrigerate in the cheesecloth-lined springform pan four hours. Pull back the cheesecloth covering the top, invert onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, remove pan sides, then pan bottom, then peel off cheesecloth. Bake about 55 minutes.)
You can munch this at any temperature, but it's best slightly chilled (so leave it in the refrigerator until you're ready to walk out the door if you're taking it to an event). A little time out of the fridge lets the flavors wake up a bit while the last remaining chill keeps the natural sweetness of the blanched almonds from dominating.
But that's a minor detail. The important thing is that you make it. So good.
Lemon and Herbes de Provence Almond Pate
serves 4-8, adapted from here (post includes credit links)
150g blanched almond meal
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
3 TBSP olive oil
1 small clove garlic
1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1 TBSP herbes de Provence
1 tsp lemon zest (from about half a large lemon)
Blend all ingredients except herbs and lemon zest with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in herbs and lemon zest.
For a softer spread, heat oven to 350. Divide evenly between two 10-oz ramekins. Bake 40 minutes, until puffed and golden brown on top. The spread can be used immediately as a tart base before baking, or let cool before serving on a tartine or crackers.
Alternately, to mold, line two 10-oz ramekins with a double layer of cheesecloth. Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins, fold cheesecloth over, and chill for at least 3 hours, or up to overnight. (In a pinch, chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.)
Heat oven to 350. Use the cheesecloth to lift the pate from the ramekins, carefully transfer to an oiled (or parchment-lined) baking sheet (without cheesecloth), and bake 40 minutes, until golden.
Let cool thoroughly before transferring to the refrigerator. Best served slightly chilled.