Marzipan isn’t just an almond and sugar paste, it’s a fantastic dessert, a base for marzipan truffles and the ”heart” of the German stollen
Hansel, Gretel, and gingerbread house
Who didn’t like fairy tales as a child? Especially before going to bed … I remember how I was lying in a warm bed hugging my favorite soft blue pillow with flowers, and my mother read me interesting stories. Then I dreamed about the plots of these fairy tales: in my dreams, most often I was Cinderella. And I also liked dreams about three piglets, a little red riding hood, and a cat in boots.
There was only one fairy tale that made me feel strange … it was something mixed between misunderstanding and anger. I never managed to understand and like the fairy tale about Hansel and Gretel … Yes, this story is useful – it teaches children that there is always a way out of any situation and emphasizes that you should always believe in your own capabilities. But I couldn’t understand how a father could leave small children alone in the forest… (okay, evil stepmothers have always been classics in fairy tales, so I wasn’t surprised by the stepmother’s act in this fairy tale)… Snow White and Cinderella were also unlucky with their fathers … But it was Hansel and Gretel’s father who always annoyed me the most.
He and his wife did not have enough food, so they could not find a better way out than to get rid of the children! Every time I listened to this fairy tale, I thought to myself: their family lived in the forest, which means there was a lot of land around, why did they not plant a vegetable garden near the house, why did they not grow potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots … so they would have food. This fact did not leave me in peace … ha-ha …
… therefore, when it was the turn of this fairy tale, I tried to focus my thoughts on my favorite word in this story – such an exotic word for me, Marzipan, homemade marzipan (in my book with fairy tales, the word homemade was highlighted in italics … apparently to emphasize that its taste was at the highest level … haha)!
In general, the whole gingerbread house from that fairy tale attracted me and in my dreams, I ate its sugar windows and gingerbread walls, I filled my pockets with colored candies that adorned the roof… but that homemade marzipan evoked the greatest feeling of intrigue in me! Back in the 80s in Ukraine, I had no idea what marzipan was, but I understood that it was some kind of very tasty sweet stuff.
The word “Marzipan” in our house was equivalent to the word Delicacy – something very exotic and heavenly delicious
Every time I didn’t want to eat and my mother’s golden patience ran out, she would say her catchphrase: “You would only like to eat marzipan!” And I immediately imagined a sweet gingerbread house, and exotic homemade marzipan… I had to wait almost 20 years to finally see and taste this mysterious food! Oh, what a joy it was when one day my mother’s sister brought me real marzipan from Amsterdam! But the yummy was worth so many years of waiting …
What is marzipan?
To answer this question in a simple, “dry” and theoretical way, marzipan is an elastic sweet paste of almond flour and powdered sugar…
And now forget about the previous answer, close your eyes and imagine the most delicious dessert in the world. Have you imagined it? Well, marzipan is twice as delicious as the dessert from your imagination! The taste of marzipan vaguely resembles a sweet soft nut candy. Its almond aroma can easily captivate anyone and this yummy will not let you go anymore! You will become a marzipan lover forever… ha-ha…
When preparing homemade almond paste, add a few drops of almond extract or essence
It will make the aroma of marzipan perfect – the extract and essence are made of bitter almonds. These almonds are not suitable for consumption in large quantities, since in large quantities this type of almond has a toxic effect, but for essences and extracts, bitter almonds are ideal due to their rich almond flavor.
How to use marzipan
- cut it into slices and eat it (an explosion of taste and a lot of pleasure are guaranteed to you)
- use it to make homemade marzipan truffles (aka the most delicious sweets in your life)
- use it to cover cakes (no sugar paste can be compared to marzipan when it comes to cake decorating)
- marzipan is the sweet “heart” of the German Christmas stollen
- add it to cookies, muffins and sweet tarts (you’ll get new and very sophisticated pastry)
- wrap homemade marzipan in beautiful paper, decorate it with a bright ribbon and give it to your friends for Christmas (you cannot leave such a tasty thing just for yourself, you must definitely share it with others).
Almonds. They should be peeled. You can substitute them with almond flour.
Almond extract. (You can do without it, but then the marzipan will not be so fragrant)
How to make marzipan
Place the almonds in a blender bowl and grind to a flour consistency
Add the egg white and grind again with a blender until smooth. Transfer the mixture into a deep container, add powdered sugar and essence to it.
Mix well (as if you are kneading dough). Transfer the mixture to a surface sprinkled with powdered sugar and shape it into a “log” (the paste will be quite sticky).Wrap it in baking paper or plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight (during this time, marzipan will acquire a more stable consistency).
How to store marzipan
Wrap homemade marzipan in parchment paper or plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- A blender
- 7 oz (200g) almonds (already peeled) or almond flour
- 8 oz (240g) icing sugar
- 2 oz (50g) egg white (this is about 1½ the egg white of a medium-sized egg)
- 10 drops of almond essence (you can do without it, but then the marzipan will not be so fragrant)
- Place the almonds in a blender bowl and grind to a flour consistency
- Add the egg white and grind again with a blender until smooth. Transfer the mixture into a deep container, add powdered sugar and essence to it.
- Mix well (as if you are kneading dough). Transfer the mixture to a surface sprinkled with powdered sugar and shape it into a "log" (the paste will be quite sticky). Form a "log", wrap it in baking paper or plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight (during this time, marzipan will acquire a more stable consistency).