A simple mixture of ground almonds and sugar, marzipan is a wonderfully pliable tool for confectionery artist.
This pliable confection is a mixture of ground almonds
sometimes unbeaten egg
whites or rosewater. Often tinted with food
, marzipan is molded into a variety of sweets, especially marzipan-filled chocolates
imitations of fruits
and vegetables that look almost too beautiful to eat. Marzipan can also be rolled into thin
sheets and glazed, making it a traditional icing (or filling) for wedding
cakes and holiday goods such as stollen
, tortell and some versions of
Louisiana's king cake
In European countries, marzipan may be flavored with additional ingredients like rosewater, honey
. Under European Union (EU) law, it must have a minimum
almond oil content of 14%. In the United States, marzipan must include
at least a quarter almonds by weight, otherwise it is considered almond
. However, in Sweden and Finland, the term "almond paste" refers
to a very high-quality marzipan that contains at least 50% ground
The origin of marzipan brings up a bit of a delicious dispute. Some say
the Egyptians made it as early as 1800 BC, while others
believe it originated in Persia, or present-day Iran. Italians and
Hungarians also claim marzipan as their own, while those in Lubeck,
Germany tell an altogether different tale.
The story goes that marzipan was invented in Lubeck in response to a military
siege or famine. The town ran out of all
food except stored almonds and sugar, so the resourceful citizens made loaves of
"marzipan bread." Whether true or a flight of confectionery
fancy, Lubeck is certainly well-known for its excellent marzipan industry. To this
day, manufacturers proudly carry on a tradition or producing a marzipan
that is two-thirds almonds by weight. It is famously juicy and bright
yellow in color.
Marzipan is available at most supermarkets, either in cans or
plastic-wrapped logs. You can also use a simple recipe to make your own
marzipan at home
If storing for later use, wrap marzipan in plastic and refrigerate in
an airtight container. Before using, allow it to soften to room
temperature and knead briefly.
• Marzipan will harden quickly if not wrapped and sealed. If this happens, add a little water to soften it.
• To flatten marzipan for cutting, place it between two sheets of wax paper and roll it out with a pin.
• Add food coloring in small amounts till you reach your desired color.
• Use toothpicks to make decorative indentions or add more detailed coloring.
Try one of our favorite marzipan recipes:
Lemon Almond Cake