Friday, December 17, 2010

Marzipan (marcipán)!

Marzipan is a favorite of ours....who doesn't like almonds? In particular, the Czech, Austrian, and German marzipan here is heavenly. We've been enjoying it throughout our stay....sampling different types, shapes, flavorings, or coatings (like chocolate, for instance)! So, for continuing the holiday cooking we decided to make some of our own versions and see what our palettes and creativity could come up with.

First, if you're going to make Marzipan (similar to Fondant, just harder), get almonds that are already skinned and deboned (!) so you don't have to blanche them yourself (it is a bit of effort). By definition, Marzipan has to have at least 25% almonds; otherwise it is almond paste. Then all you have to do is grind them into a very fine flour, add sugar and egg white and voila! uncooked Marzipan (marcipán)! One can also make cooked Marzipan (which is water, sugar and ground almonds, but no egg white needed). 

General rule of thumb is equal parts ground almonds and powdered sugar:
1/2 pound ground almonds (for a more flavorful type, roast the almonds before grinding them)
1/2 pound powdered sugar
2 egg whites
Flavorings! (don't forget these....)

Well, we decided to try using some premade Marzipan from was a weekday evening and everyone was too tired to make it from scratch. You can buy it in the stores everywhere. So we purchased a couple of types feeling quite smug with ourselves. Then, when we were ready to use it...that is, flavor and color it for molding, we opened the packages only to discover that both types were covered with a thick coating of dark chocolate! Surprise....particularly when the packages did NOT specify that they were covered with chocolate. One of the packages was a 500 g 'log' of Marzipan....who would eat that covered with thick chocolate? We couldn't believe it.

So, ever the creative types but still too tired to make our own, we cut the chocolate off (shaving some of the Marzipan along with it). This was saved to melt down later and make the Marzipan chocolates (earlier posting). It was a good idea....out of this came the idea of Marzipan and chocolate mixed together for molding....yum!

After having quite a laugh about it all...and not believing that all of the Marzipan sold here is also covered with chocolate, we divided it up into 5 sets for making lemon yellow (marizpan + lemon zest + lemoncello liquor), orange (orange zest, orangcello), cherry red (cherries), blueberry (with amarula liquor), and ivy green (mint). Then the fun began.  What to make out of these?

Lemons out of the lemon yellow, of course......and oranges and tangerines out of the orange. Add in a couple of green leaves; put them onto waxed paper to dry out. Now note....none of these were made with a pastry tube or anything like that.  It's all from rolling them and shaping them by hand:
The leaves were made easily enough using the tip of a spoon (who needs a pastry tube?!)...

Then maybe some Czech apples, particularly our favorite 'Bohemia' that we've posted about earlier:
A few cherries and plums:
And you do have to eat your vegetables, so how about a bunch of fresh carrots? Even Peter Cottontail would go for these. Again, these are all made by hand...roll the orange dough between your hands; the tops are just several sets of thing, long strands of the green marzipan.
Then...peas!  These were made in honor of Neil's Dad, Leonard.....famous for his homegrown Vermont peas which we won't get this holiday time since we can't be in the Green Mountain State.

Looks like well-filled pods of peas to me.....bursting forth, ready to be shelled!

A wreath? A tree?
 Once they're dried out a bit and not too sticky, then they can be put into small paper wrappers and boxed up for tasting later!

 By then we had grown weary and things started to deteriorate a bit.... Remember the Prague Pig (earlier postings?).  Well...our attempts at such creations didn't look too pig-like (or cute either!):

Neil's looked like some beached polywog that was red from the cold:
 While Mark's resembled a hairless Cairn Terrier!  How we laughed over these!

 We have since learned some tricks on how to make official Czech pigs from Marzipan (we'll show you those in a later posting).

Then, not to be outdone by all of the fruits and vegetables that came out so well, Mark just had to make his I-Phone!

Upload your Marzipan app and post him a message!

Disclaimer: This blog is not an official University of Minnesota or Fulbright Program blog. The views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations, or the University of Minnesota.

1 comment:

  1. patrice requests marzipan parsnips next year please! (those carrots are exquisite)