Nut flour

Sometimes called nut meal, this is simply nuts ground as fine as flour. Nut flours and meals are available at some supermarkets and many health food and specialty stores (see Resources, page 514), but you can make your own by grinding the nuts in a food processor. Because nuts are so oily, though, you’ve got to watch them — process them a few seconds too long, and you’ll have nut butter. To give yourself a little hedge against overprocessing, add some of the sugar in the recipe to the nuts, and once the nuts are pretty well chopped, start working in short pulses and make sure to scrape the work bowl, particularly the bottom edges. You can make nut flour from blanched or unblanched nuts. Unless I need the nut meal to be light colored (because I want to keep the paleness of a dish), I use unblanched nuts — the meal is coarser and darker, but I like the fuller flavor, and the color adds a nice rustic touch to desserts.

Dorie Greenspan