Thursday, January 8, 2009

Making Marzipan


In the US, unlike in Europe, marzipan is something of an exotica.  You find it sold in small quantities, in specialty stores, packaged in wrappers with foreign words and elegant script.  What a refined sweet, something to be nibbled daintily and savored.  In Europe, however, it's commonly sold in huge rolls from which you slice thick disks, or rolled onto cakes and molded into decorative figures.  Of course, these things are also done here, but the whole enterprise is essentially imported, and not exactly a part of our day to day confectionary lives.


Here's the big secret about marzipan: it's dead easy to make and if you have a haul of almonds, not very expensive.  Before I found out that R had been taught how to make marzipan in an elementary school home economics class in Norway, it had never occurred to me that it could be made at home.  It seems akin to making your own yogurt or sausage, is such a thing even possible outside of a factory or workshop? (Yes, on all counts).


And the marzipan you end up with will be infinitely better than the fancy-pants store bought kind, with a rich toothsome texture as fine or as course as you like.  You can roll it into a log and slice those decadent disks, or shape and mold it, or even chocolate dip it.  For dipping, we rolled the marzipan into little balls between the palms of our hands.  This seems like it would be a good job for a child, so if you have one or two laying around, definitely use them.

Homemade Marzipan, Dipped in Chocolate

1 pound blanched, skinned almonds (to blanch and skin almonds, see this post)
1 pound confectioners sugar
2 egg whites

Grind the nuts in a food process until finely ground.  Transfer to a bowl and add the confectioners sugar.  Begin kneading in the egg a bit at a time.  The mixture will seem dry for a very long time, but just continue to knead until it comes together.  At this point, you can either start eating, or dipping, or you can roll it into a log and wrap it with plastic wrap before refrigeration.

For chocolate-dipped marzipan

Melt a chocolate of your choice over the low heat of a double boiler.  Once the chocolate is melted, dip the marzipan in the chocolate and then remove to a sheet of parchment paper and allow to cool.

UPDATE:

I am not convinced that this recipe would be ideal for rolling onto a cake, but in her book English Food, Jane Grigson provides a recipe for such an undertaking, from which the following is adapted:

For a less sweet marzipan:

1/2 pound confectioners sugar + more for dusting
1 pound almonds
1 large egg 
3-4 teaspoons lemon juice

For a sweeter marzipan:

1 pound confectioners sugar + more for dusting
1 pound almonds
2 medium eggs
3-4 teaspoons lemon juice

Glaze:

1 tablespoon apricot jam
1 tablespoon water

Process the almonds and the sugar as above.  Beat the egg well, then add the lemon juice and combine with the dry ingredients.  With a wooden spoon, beat it into a firm paste, then knead it with your hands on a surface lightly coated with confectioners sugar.

Boil the jam and water together, and brush it over the top of your cake while it's still hot.  Set aside 1/3 of the marzipan.  On a piece of parchment or wax paper, roll out the marzipan in a circle a bit larger than the cake you'll be using it for and then flip the cake, glazed-side down on top of the marzipan.  Flip it back, right side up and remove the paper.  Roll out the reserved marzipan for use around the circumference of the cake, which you should also prep with more glaze.

Makes enough marzipan to cover an 8" round cake.

26 comments:

bensbaby116 said...

I have actually never had marzipan! It's great to know I can make my own if I come across a recipe that calls for it. I had no idea it was possible to make at home!

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

My absolute favorite sweet, no contest. If I could get away with it, I'd eat marzipan every day.

Chrissy said...

I second that Wanderers' Daughter. Wish I had some right now!

Sam said...

I didn't realise marzipan was so "exotic" outside of Europe, you can buy it in huge blocks here!
There's no doubt the home-made stuff is much nicer though, I'll try your recipe next time I need some.

Happy cook said...

I am going to forward this post to my sister who lives in US.
When ever i make something with marzipan, she tells me it is difficult to get themthere.
Last time she made a cake with marzpan from my blog, but she told she had to search for them there.
True here in Europe it is available in all the shops.

sylvie said...

thanks for the recipe. my significant other is norwegian, and this is a favorite treat of his that is very hard to find in our part of the US, except for very stale varieties in boxes. I will have to ask him about the home economics class (he did learn to sew rather well there).

gine said...

homemade marzipan ... that's a great idea :-)!! yummy!!

Andrea said...

Thanks for the comments everyone, I just wanted to make one thing clear, which I will also add to the post. Since this is an uncooked marzipan, it's best for eating straight or for dipping in chocolate. If you would like to make a marzipan for rolling onto a cake, you're going to need to make a cooked version. I've included a link to a recipe for the cooked kind in the post!

Mallory Elise said...

wow. brilliant. marzipan is like...my chocolate. i need a present idea to be shipped...i'll use your recipe and hope it stands in the mail! thanks!

gkbloodsugar said...

Homemade Marzipan - How cool is that?

It's like the Mozzarella of sweet things.

Andrea said...

Okay, so a cooked version would work for rolling, but I've posed another uncooked version which should work fine since I always trust Jane Grigson. Good luck!

Francijn Brouwer said...

But remember you're eating raw eggs, so don't give it to little children or old / weak people.

Andrea said...

Francijn, true. And be sure to find the freshest eggs you can from a trusted source!

Anonymous said...

I just let my food processor do all the work. Run until the marzipan forms a ball or starts to clump. Remove, squeeze together if necessary, and use.

I use the same recipe to ice my cakes or make marzipan fruits - ( add some food colouring and shape into apples, strawberries, bananas etc.)

Maggie said...

I was just looking for a recipe for less sweet marzipan and saw this on Tastespotting. Thanks!

cindy* said...

i l-o-v-e marzipan. i have found that it is best for me in very small doses. no one likes to see a girl in a marzipan coma (similar to sugar coma, but you know, marzipan).

Amy at Minimally Invasive said...

Ohhhh, I lurve marzipan, but it never occurred to me that I could make it myself. Thanks for sharing!

flutterbyblue said...

I never realized it's so easy to make marzipan! I always buy the stuff...I may have to try out this recipe! Thanks!!!

Andrea said...

Anonymous, that's a great method!

Maggie, hope you like it!

Amy and Flutterbyblue, you definitely can, and it's better!

Bridget said...

Oh, this is great! Just found you through Baking Bites. Thank you!

Chrissy said...

Cindy, I am sorry I have to disagree. I have found it is best eating it in very large quantities--just sit down and eat until gone ;)

Ragnar said...

CHRISSY!!!!!

Zill.y said...

Thanks for this one, I really miss marzipan here in the US.

Zilly

The Other Tiger said...

Oh wonderful...I've been making my own almond flour lately, and kind of wanting to learn how to do marzipan as well, and now I know!

karimakene said...

hey
i wanted to ask with this marzipan can i cover cake too or no??
thanx

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/p2v1fqTdLDc