A large bag of almonds has been sitting in my freezer for I don't know how long. I had to use them up before they go rancid so I made marzipan. Making your own marzipan is time consuming but costs just a fraction of what you'll pay for several 7-oz cans of ready-made marzipan which will probably yield just a dozen of miniature fruits per can. The other advantage of making your own is you are sure there are no additives in your marzipan. And I had so much fun making the miniature pumpkins and "severed" fingers. This is a great project for children. Making fruits like bananas, cherries, and oranges is similar to working with clay, the difference is they are cute, edible, and yummy.
4 cups skinless almond meal
2 egg whites
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
powdered sugar for kneading
1 teaspoon almond extract, optional
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix sugar and water, stir until sugar is melted. Add cream of tartar, bring to a boil. Cover pan and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover, attach candy thermometer and cook to 240°F. Turn off heat, stir until the mixture has thickened slightly. Stir in almonds and egg whites. Turn heat back on and cook for 4 minutes. If using almond extract, stir it in now. Transfer the mixture into a silpat-lined board or surface. Using a spatula, turn and knead until cool enough to handle. With gloved hands, knead until pliable, sprinkling powdered sugar if too sticky. Divide into 8-oz pieces, form into rounds, and wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate until ready to shape.
8 unces marzipan, homemade or store-bought
orange food color paste
dark brown food color paste
powdered sugar for kneading
- Set aside about 2 tablespoons of marzipan. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on a silpat-lined surface or large baking sheet, knead the remaining marzipan, add 1/8 tsp orange food color paste, knead well until uniform in color. Add more coloring if you want it brighter than the ones I made. Cut a small piece and shape into a 1-inch ball. Flatten the balls slightly. Using a toothpick, make vertical marks to resemble pumpkins. Set aside.
- Add brown food color paste a little at a time to the 2 tablespoons marzipan until it is dark chocolate brown in color. Roll into a very thin long piece. Cut into ½ inch pieces. Using the tip of a Japanese plastic chopstick, make tiny holes on top of the pumpkins and insert the stems.
8 ounces marzipan
10 pieces whole almonds with skin
red food color paste
toothpicks or small food-safe brush
- Divide marzipan into 10 pieces and form each into fingers. Using a toothpick, make marks to resemble fingers. Using your nails or toothpick fray one end. Using toothpicks or a small brush, dab color paste on frayed end. Taper the other end and press an almond. You can brush the almond the same red food color paste, if desired.