Sweet and nutty marzipan is a simple and versatile treat that can be incorporated into almost any dessert. Read on to learn more about this classic confectionery and how you can use it in your kitchen.
What is Marzipan Made of?
Marzipan is a combination of ground almonds combined with eggs and a sweetener such as sugar, honey, or corn syrup.
History of Marzipan
There are a few different theories when it comes to the origin of marzipan. Some culinary historians believe it was invented in Europe while others suggest the recipe was created in China and was later introduced to Europe through the Middle East. There is also reason to believe both lines of origin may be true, as the recipe for marzipan is made with fairly common ingredients.
What does Marzipan Taste Like?
The taste of marzipan may vary depending on the spices and flavorings mixed in but, generally, marzipan is nutty and intensely sweet. When made with almond extract, it may also have a distinct cherry-like flavor as wild almonds contain an aromatic that’s also present in cherries.
How to Use Marzipan
Because of its malleability and clean sweetness, marzipan is often used like fondant or modeling chocolate. It can easily be flavored, shaped, and painted to add visual and gustatory interest to a wide variety of desserts or even to be eaten on its own as candy.
Marzipan around the World
Different versions of marzipan can be seen across different cultures, typically made into a variety of symbolic shapes. Here are a few examples of how the versatile confectionery is used throughout the world.
In Scandinavia, marzipan pigs are eaten during the holiday season. They can also be seen in Germany, in addition to marzipan shaped like bread and small potatoes. In Spain, you can find marzipan shaped and painted to resemble fruits or marzipan animals filled with a sweet egg yolk and sugar mixture.
Marzipan in India is made with either ground almonds or cashews and is typically eaten during Christian holidays. It’s shaped into eggs and chickens for Easter and flowers, fruits, or stars during Christmas.
Marçabén or lozina in Syria is baked marzipan mixed with orange-flower water and formed into delicate flower shapes. It can also be made with semolina, farina, or oatmeal instead of the usual almond meal.