Marzipan

Marzipan

By
From
Sicily
Makes
1kg

From almonds we move on to marzipan, which is called pasta reale, ‘royal paste’, in Sicily. A mixture of sugar, almonds and egg whites, marzipan can be sculpted into shapes and sets firm while maintaining a soft interior. We were struck by the wonderful marzipan sweets on sale in Peccatucci di Mamma Andrea, Piazza Ignazio Florio in Palermo, where rows of plump globes of chocolate, lemon, orange or pistachio marzipan line up for you to pop into your mouth. They are not too sweet and have none of the synthetic flavours that seem to put people off marzipan. I never liked it as a child but now I have learnt to make it, I have finally caught the bug.

Apparently, when an important bishop came to visit the Martorana convent attached to the church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio in Palermo, the nuns shaped fruits from marzipan and hung them in the trees. Since then marzipan fruits have been called frutta di Martorana, and to this day children receive them on All Souls’ Day, the equivalent of our Halloween.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
160ml water
1 tablespoon liquid glucose
1 teaspoon almond extract
500g icing sugar
500g ground almonds
flavourings of your choice, to taste (optional)

Method

  1. Put the water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the glucose and stir through with a wooden spoon. Add the almond extract and the sugar and stir again. Keep over a low heat and add the ground almonds a little at a time, stirring continuously, until fully combined and formed into a ball of dough. Remove from the saucepan and put onto a clean worktop. If the marizpan is sticky, dust the work surface and your hands with a little icing sugar.
  2. At this point you can knead in the flavourings of your choice, such as finely grated citrus zest or rosewater – or any others that spring to mind! Add them according to taste.
  3. Next, roll the marzipan into little balls and either keep them as they are or form into shapes. Leave them to dry slightly overnight at room temperature. They will keep for up to a month in a sealed container.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Sicily
Sicilian
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