Hello Nigella Team! In my country is hard to find "almond meal" so I wondered if I can make it from whole almonds? Do I just grind them? Thanks!
Almond meal, also known as almond flour or ground almonds, is made from ground up almonds. Nigella tends to use white ground almonds - this is made from blanched almonds that have had their skins removed before grinding. Some countries sell almonds that have been ground with their skins on and these will work in the recipes too. It is possible to make your own ground almonds but you do have to be careful that you don't over work the almonds in a food processor as it will draw out the oil in the almonds and could leave a greasy feel to the finished recipe.
If possible try to grind almonds that are already in small pieces - either flaked, sliced or slivered almonds. Put them in a processor and pulse them until they look like fine sand. If you are using them in a cake recipe then weigh out the correct amount of almonds and put then in the processor with some of the flour from the recipe. This will reduce the risk of them becoming oily.
If you need to blanch your own almonds then put them in a heatproof bowl and cover them with hot water from a just boiled kettle. Let them stand for 3 or 4 minutes then drain. When they are cool enough to handle the almonds should slip easily out of their skins. If you have to grind your own whole almonds then we would suggest you blanch them first if they have their skins on as the skins can make it harder for the food processor to chop them and increases the risk that they will be over worked in the food processor.