Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Marzipan, Ja!



One of the bonuses of being the granddaughter of an Austrian immigrant is marzipan. Raise your hand if you know what marzipan is. Good, class. I see some of you have been doing your homework (i.e. eating delicious European-style pastries). You get a gold star on your head for today. As for the rest of you, let me explain. Marzipan is a delicious paste made out of sweetened crushed almonds. It's too bad that it's called a paste because "paste" just doesn't sound that yummy, no matter what it is made of. But I promise you that marzipan is good.


As a child, my mother (the daughter of the aforementioned Austrian immigrant) used to give us marzipan and teach us how to shape things with it. She learned it from her mother. And her mother learned it like every normal Austrian child--about the time she was learning to sit up. Like deliciously edible play dough, marzipan can be rolled in your hands and molded into teeny tiny fruits, flowers, and animals, and then painted with food coloring to look nearly real. It was one of my favorite activities as a child to make miniature fruit bowls with carefully colored bananas, oranges, apples, and pears. And then to eat them in all their nutty glory. (See, Mom? There were some good parenting moments in there!)





You can also find marzipan used as frosting or filling for cakes. Because of its ability to be molded and shaped, it can drape over a cake like fondant that actually tastes good. It can make frosting flowers that aren't 90% shortening (but don't think I'm bagging on shortening flowers--they're my favorite part of wedding cake), and they make a really good filling in multi-layer tortes.


There are the bizarre uses for marzipan, such as this:




ALL made of Marzipan.



And if you're into a low-effort, low creep-factor version of marzipan, Ritter-Sport, my favorite European candy bar maker, has a Marzipan chocolate bar. And they now sell it at Target! Life is gut.

15 comments:

Jen said...

That is really cool all the stuff they do with it. Looks good too!

Koreena said...

I guess I'll have to go try that some time.

Kristine said...

Yummy! Instead of a gold star for knowing what Marzipan is, can I have some of your chocolate bar??

jennie w. said...

Mmmmmmmarzipan. Du bist richtig!

Christie said...

I sort of know what marzipan is - that stuff is amazing. Wish I was talented enough to do something like that.

devri said...

yep I know Ritter Sport!!! Loved it, and my kids too,

Hmmm- I think those babies are adorable, but then I think siiiickkkk, did they eat those babies,,, gross thought..

André said...

And some parents say you shouldn't play with your food.

André said...

And some parents say you shouldn't play with your food.

Melissa said...

Those are incredible! How do people do that?!

Mindi said...

my favorite is the tinsy little babies. don't know if i'd have a hard time biting their tiny little baby heads off, though.

Chelsea said...

YUM, I love marzipan!

MiaKatia said...

I love the babies too! I want to see some pictures of your latest marzipan creations.

jennie w. said...

I hate to burst your bubble, but those babies aren't marzipan! They're real sculptures (and expensive too). Someone I know posted about those a while ago.. I was so fascinated that I tried everywhere to find them. i found this at Snopes, though:

http://www.snopes.com/photos/arts/marzipan.asp

Omgirl said...

Gasp! I am SO disappointed! I really wanted to eat those little marzipan babies.

alex dumas said...

I want my gold star.