Tuesday, December 24, 2013

many times, many ways

Dear Christmas Eve,

Here we are, readying to celebrate the end of the year in the double-header of Christmas and New Year's.  I am making pies; mincemeat and pumpkin.  Come by for a slice....

I also enclose a little music, and a recipe, for Almond Paste, which you could use to make Marzipan, or Marchpane.

Christmas calls for Marzipan, or "march bread."  I could find no definitive etymology for the name.   I do have two nice recipes for almond paste:  One, and Two.

The main difference between almond paste and marzipan is the ratio of sugar to almonds.  Marzipan has more sugar, and the sugar also gives it a texture more suitable for rolling it out or making little shaped fruits or pigs. To clarify, take almond paste, knead it with powdered sugar, maybe a little rose or orange water, and you have marzipan.

I made my almond paste by blanching almonds, then pulverizing them in the food processor.  I added honey until it held together, plus a pinch of salt.  It can also be made with egg white and sugar- I have made it that way, too.  Both types are terrific. 

I know, it's a busy time, but if you get some made, hang on to it, resting in the icebox improves it, and there will be a nice cookie recipe using almond paste/marzipan in an upcoming post.

Until then,
Cheerful Holidays!