My Grandmother was always encouraging my skills even when I was little and around the age of 13 I decided I would paint some store bought marzipan for my Dad as a gift to him for Christmas as he is a HUGE marzipan fan. For a first attempt they weren't bad, the whole family enjoyed them even though in all honesty they were almost neon bright with the amount of food coloring I had added!
Thankfully I've come a long way since then and these beautiful marzipan fruits (peaches, pears and strawberries) are a lot more refined and authentic and the color is just enough, in fact I have to say I am pretty darn proud of how they turned out. And before you go, "Gees that looks hard", I can assure you it is much easier, and a lot more fun than you might think and not nearly as technical to create as it looks.
Little details like the texture on the "strawberries" and the additional mint leaves, the mixing of shades on the pears and peaches, as well as the tiny bits of broken cinnamon stick "stems" on the pears create little edible works of art.
If you are wondering how I got the texture on my strawberries I used my the smallest grate on my four-sided grater and "pressed" the marzipan over it before I painted them.
I also blended the colors a little and layered them up to create a multi-tone effect - sounds and looks fancy but it's really simple. I used the same brush for my reds, yellows and orange dyes but used a separate brush for the green.
Just remember to remove the mint leaves and cinnamon stick before eating these
You can use store bought marzipan, cut, shape and paint but homemade marzipan tastes amazing
You can make the marzipan and eat it - the decoration is purely aesthetic and doesn't affect the flavor.
Packed in individual patty cases these will make a lovely food gift for those you love.
These can can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and will easily keep for a few weeks. For the best texture allow to come to room temperature however they can be eaten straight from the fridge if you desire.
If gifting remember to let your recipient know to remove the mint and cinnamon bark before eating, or if you prefer just make the fruits without these extras.
Always use a non-stick pan and be sure to be mixing constantly and consistently and if you feel you can't keep up, turn the heat down as this mixture will burn if not kept moving.
I like to use my food-grade silicon spatula for this job because it allows me to scrape the sides smoothly to ensure that mixture on the side of the pan doesn't build up and burn.
Be light handed with your food coloring if using it, remember you can layer the colors and intensity. Another tip, don't put too much liquid (tap your brush) onto your marzipan or it will take ages to dry.
YOU WILL NEED
1 egg white
215g | 7.5 ounces | 2 cups ground almond meal or cashew meal (If grinding your own fresh nuts ensure that they are unsalted and if using almonds they should be blanched (skin removed) as well - simply boil the almonds and remove the skin.)
250g | 9 ounces | 2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup rose water
1/4 cup plain water
1-2 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
1 - 1.5 teaspoons almond essence
Food coloring (I used a combination of red, yellow and green)
Mint leaves for the strawberry leaves (optional)
Cinnamon bark broken into small shards for the pear sterms (optional)
Using an electric beater, beat egg white until stiff and set aside.
In a food processor add the ground almond or cashew meal, icing sugar, rose water, plain water and mix to make a smooth paste. Add the egg white and process again until combined.
Empty into a medium sized non-stick saucepan and heat over a medium heat, stirring with a non-stick silicon spatula consistently for about 12-15 minutes. It will bubble, that is fine. (Do not allow the mixture to settle or stick in any spot in the pan or it will burn. If needed, turn down the heat from time to time if the bubbling becomes too intense or take of stove, keep stirring and return to the stove to finish cooking.)
After about 12-15 minutes, test to see if the mixture is ready by dropping about a half teaspoon of the mix into a bowl of water. If you can collect it up and make it into a soft ball, it’s ready but if it dissolves in the water continue stirring over the heat for another 5 minutes and test again. You will find there will be a “resistance” in the mixture when it is done as well.
Once ready add the almond essence and mix in.
Lightly grease a smooth large stainless steel tray and pour the mixture into it. Be careful not to burn your hands on the hot mixture.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter and with a flat, straight-ended spatula (the kind you use to flip pancakes etc.) move the mixture around back and forth to mix in butter and to release the heat from the mixture, as it cools it will continue to firm up, though it will still be soft. Keep the mixture "together" while mixing as much as possible – do not let it spread all over the tray as it will be hard to get it off once cool.
Once it comes together and has cooled down a bit, put your marzipan in some clear plastic wrap and all roll into a log or into the shape you desire for storage.
It is now ready to eat or color. For a firmer marzipan place into the fridge.
IF MAKING MARZIPAN INTO FRUITS:
If decorating your marzipan, divide into equal amounts (I use a teaspoonful at a time and roll into ball. Grease your hands with a little butter before rolling to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands. Divide all the mixture then shape into the fruit of your choice.
Take 3-4 small bowls and add a drop or two of food coloring in the color you desire mixed in a tablespoon of water. Using a small, clean, paint brush, gently paint your marzipan in the desired color.
If texturizing your fruit (like I did for the strawberries) do that first and then gently paint over. Place each piece of painted fruit on a sheet of baking paper to dry out.
Allow to dry thoroughly (this may take a few hours). Add your finishing touches and serve.
Remember to remove, mint and cinnamon bark before eating.
MAKES APPROXIMATELY 25-30 BALLS/FRUITS