Calling all marzipan fans

pic: Pixabay

NO one seems to know why marzipan got a ‘day’ to itself – even less why that should be January 12. But as ‘days’ go, it’s not a silly as some (such as ‘Answer your Cat’s Questions Day on January 22) and it gives those who love marzipan a chance to indulge.

Although marzipan is a favourite throughout Europe, particularly in Germany and Italy, all sources seem to agree that its roots are in the Orient.

“As far back as 850, a Persian doctor by the name of Rhazes praised the curative properties of almond and sugar paste. When the Crusaders returned to Europe from the Orient they brought this delicacy back with them.” (daringgourmet.com)

This delicious and light treat is made from sugar and ground almonds, often accented with almond extract. It can be moulded into just about anything, making it very popular for themed confections.

“Towering cakes have been made, encased in a marzipan wrap. Fake fruits filled with jellies and preserves, or even thin marzipan outer wraps filled with all manner of fruit and creams. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can even host a marzipan feast in your home, where everyone comes together to create the most interesting, most intricate, or just plain tastiest marzipan creation of the night! Once it’s all over, you can lie around in your sugar induced coma, and start dreaming of next year’s creation.” (daysoftheyear.com)

Good Housekeeping (1948) instructs the would-be marzipan maker to use 1½ pounds of ground almonds! Given the price of the stuff (if you can find any, anyway) I have scaled the recipe down as well as approximating quantities in metric measures.

For each 100g of ground almonds you will need 50g icing sugar, 50g castor sugar, a dash of lemon juice, a couple of drops of almond essence, colouring (optional) and an itsy-bitsy amount of egg white to glue it all together.

Mix it all up into a firm dough, mould it into the required shapes and spread on a rack to dry. (Then scramble the rest of the egg and eat it for supper!)

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