Monday, December 23, 2013

Freedom! Which means time to eat: Marzipan

YES! Real and actual freedom!
For those of you who haven't noticed: my last post was 3 weeks ago. *gasp* December has been a tough month for me. I didn't even get to prepare for Christmas! With just a few days till our Christmas dinner, I don't even have a proper dress yet. (Yes, it is important to buy a new dress every year)

All I've been doing is thesis, thesis, thesis. But there has been one moment of "I will bloody well MAKE a break for myself now", which showered my family in Marzipan!


My grandma said making marzipan was impossible. According to her it needed a month's preparation at least. Well, I made it in about 15-20 minutes and it was done the next day. Only problem was that my break turned out to be so short I had more time for homework.

Marzipan
400 grams: enough to fill one large bread, never enough for eating

100 grams almonds* or almond flour
300 grams powdered sugar
egg white or water

1. Grind the almonds until very fine. A little kitchen chopper/food processor worked perfectly for me. I added a bit of almond flour to the almonds to make sure they didn't turn into a paste.
2. Add the powdered sugar and process again.
3. Add enough egg white or water to turn the flour into a very thick paste or dough, using the food processor at first and later your hands to knead the dough. It needs to be the consistency of marzipan, so make sure not to add too much egg white/water and knead properly in between each addition.**
4. Wrap in cling foil and leave to rest in the fridge for a day.

* preferably roasted and without skins
** For a stronger almond taste, you can add almond essence.
Note: if you're using the marzipan for baking within the next 24-36 hours, I recommend using egg.

So after about 20 minutes work, and then a whole day resting, you've got marzipan. And it's delicious! I felt you could taste the almonds so much more than in all those machine-made marzipans with all those extra additives.

Have you ever noticed there are several different types of marzipan? You'll probably be familiar with these two types: marzipan for decorating/'eating plain' and marzipan as 'filling', also known as almond paste. You'll find the last one in some cakes and breads, especially around Christmas. [Almond paste recipe] The process of making almond paste is exactly the same as above, with a few minor adjustments: 1. grind the almonds until 'coarse' not fine. 2. Add lemon rind or juice when kneading. 3. Add slightly more egg or lemon juice to result in a wetter paste.


Another nice idea: increase the amount of almonds! I tried using 200 grams almond flour with 200 grams powdered sugar and it turned out fine. I didn't eat them directly after each other, or even on the same day, so it's hard to compare. But I believe it tasted roughly the same. I'm not sure if it still works if you increase the amount of almond flour to above 50% of the recipe. It might not be sticky enough anymore and fall apart. But what I do know is that the original recipe wasn't overly sweet. It tasted like the marzipan you buy in stores, except the flavour was a bit more subtle while at the same time being a lot more rich.

Oh yes, some store-bought brands use soy flour in stead of almond flour to make marzipan. I've tried this and I really would not recommend it. You can really taste the soy flour! If you like the taste of soy beans than go ahead and use soy flour (Id recommend replacing 25% of the almond flour max.), but it was not a taste I was looking for in home-made marzipan. I think the only reason soy flour is used to replace almond flour is to make the end product cheaper.


I've tried all these little ideas, but I'm sticking to the original. Making almond paste worked out nicely as well. Increasing the amount of almonds was nice, but for me only made the end product more expensive. And using soy flour is definitely not happening again. Perhaps I should've listened to the random woman in Barcelona: "Why not stop at perfection?" (or something along those lines). I should have done that.

2 comments:

  1. I have never seen homemade marzipan before. Definitely trying this out! And good luck with your thesis, it sounds like it is coming along!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for stopping by Mallory! Have you had a chance to try it out yet? I hadn't heard of it until I accidentally saw it in my grandmothers cookbook. It turned out to be so easy! I don't think I'll ever go back to store-bought marzipan again..

      Delete