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Serves 6-8 | Level: Beginner

Creamy Hummus

Combine the chickpeas, baking powder and 6 cups water in a large saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, lower the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Meanwhile, combine the garlic and 1/3 cup lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.

Drain the water and the chickpea skins that float to the top, leaving the chickpeas in the pan. Add cold water, stir vigorously to loosen more skins, and drain off the water and skins that float to the top, again leaving the chickpeas in the saucepan. Do this 5 or 6 times, until most of the skins are drained off. Drain the chickpeas, setting aside 2 tablespoons for the garnish and place the rest in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the garlic mixture, Tabasco, the ¼ teaspoon paprika, ¼ cup warm water, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and process until very smooth. Add the tahini and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and puree for one full minute, until creamy. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra lemon juice (to taste), 1 teaspoon salt, and enough warm water (1 tablespoon at a time) to make the hummus the consistency of thick yogurt.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the hummus on a large (12-inch) flat, round serving plate, leaving a 2-inch border.  Sprinkle the reserved chickpeas and almonds (if using) evenly on top. Drizzle with extra olive oil, sprinkle lightly with extra paprika, and serve with toasted pita triangles.

Notes: Grate the garlic very finely on a rasp.

Before starting the recipe, I transfer the entire contents of the tahini can to the food processor fitted with the steel blade, puree it, then pour it back into the can. 

To toast the pita, place it on a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.