Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the almond paste in the bowl of an electric mixer. Gradually add the eggs, 1 a time, incorporating each before you add the next. You may need to stop the mixer and scrape the bowl to incorporate all of the almond paste into the mixture. Slow the mixer to low speed and add all of the hot melted butter. When it is slightly incorporated, increase the speed and mix until well combined. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the almond mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip.
I used a flexible silicon mold but you could also use a mini-muffin tin. Spray the mold with vegetable cooking spray. Pipe the almond paste mixture into the molds. Place a few raisins on top of the piped mixture. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the molds used.
Place the rum in a squeeze bottle. When the Raisin Punches have cooked, soak them right away while they are still hot with the rum. If you do not want to use the alcohol, simply skip that step. Serve.
Place the sugar, honey and water in a saucepan and bring to a strong boil. Place the almonds in the food processor and grind until coarse. Remove the boiling sugar from the heat and pour over the coarse almonds. Blend until smooth. This may take 10 minutes or more, depending on the strength of the food processor. Remember, food processors are not usually strong enough to yield the same consistency as the almond paste that you can buy. If your mixture is too thick and the food processor is straining, you can add a little Kirsch or simple syrup to the processor. Add the liquid slowly and stop when the processor is moving more freely. The quality of almond paste is determined by how smooth the consistency is.
Wrap the almond paste in plastic wrap and allow it to cool. When you are ready to use it, knead in the butter. The butter makes it smooth and not so sticky.
Yield: About 2 cups
I like to use hydrated raisins in a lot of recipes. I always keep a jar of them in the refrigerator. The proportion I use for adding the liquor is about to 10 to 20 percent of the weight of the water. If you do not dilute the liquor with water, be prepared for a very strong burst of flavor!
Place the raisins in a mixing bowl or glass jar and add water so that it covers the raisins by at least 1/2-inch. Stir in the rum or flavored alcohol. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It is even better to allow the raisins to hydrate for 2 to 3 days. They will become very plump as they absorb the liquid. You can keep them in the refrigerator for a few weeks. When you are ready to use them, strain the amount that you need through a fine-mesh sieve before adding them to the recipe.
Yield: 1 cup
Recipe courtesy Jacques Torres Chocolate, MrChocolate .
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